Traffic and Parking… plenty of concerns
With large numbers of people in town these days, traffic and parking in the city has become a frequent topic of discussion, and complaints. Of course, it’s not really a problem… unless you go somewhere.
As with many other issues under the control of the city, there’s a committee for that. It’s called the Traffic/Parking Advisory Committee. The committee has been a little quiet since the pandemic, and has struggled, like many city committees, to maintain membership. But they met the other night, with some new faces, and under the guidance of Jim Finkbeiner, Captain of Patrol Operations, seem to be poised to act on citizen concerns… which are plentiful.
In case you didn’t see it, Barb Owdziej, one of those new faces on the committee, initiated a post on the “You know you are from Marquette if…” Facebook site wondering if anyone had issues she could bring to her first meeting. Uh, yeah… they did.
As mentioned here last week, she got an ear… or eye full. More than 300 comments about everything from the new parking meters to speed bumps to bike lanes to… well, you get the idea.
Though changes in municipal practices, like traffic and parking guidelines, are hard to make, Captain Finkbeiner assured the committee that their work won’t be in vain. Changes CAN be made, provided the proper channels are used and the changes proposed are in the best interest of the majority of residents, with safety typically the biggest factor.
Though Owdziej’s entire list wasn’t addressed at Tuesday’s meeting, a couple issues were discussed that are of immediate interest. One is the removal of the Pedestrian Crossing signs that used to be on various busy intersections in the city. It seems they were causing confusion for both drivers and walkers and were put into storage. Unfortunately, removing the signs hasn’t gotten us any closer to solving our vehicles vs pedestrians conundrum.
As we suggested here last week, until a better system is created, if you’re driving, don’t run over people, and if you’re crossing a street, don’t step in front of moving traffic. Seems simple enough. There… problem solved. You’re welcome.
Another area of concern is the stretch of M553 toward Marquette Mountain… particularly the area around the entrance to Rippling River (seen above). In addition to a healthy volume of cars and campers coming and going, it’s also the starting point to a number of biking and hiking trails in the Noquemanon Trail Network.
It seems that the small, but inviting, open area just across from the Rippling River entrance is occasionally, and illegally, being used for parking, even though No Parking signs are prominently displayed.
The problem is that it’s not just a ticket for the violator… it’s also a terrible place to exit and enter the highway. With a speed limit of 55 mph and limited sightlines, and bikers and hikers crossing back and forth, that can be a dangerous spot, particularly when you don’t obey the rules. According to Captain Finkbeiner, our police officers don’t like writing tickets, and they really don’t like being called to accidents.
So… don’t park there.
Superior Culture Reprieve
When we last wrote about North Third Street’s Superior Culture, they were fending off neighbors, unhappy with the music and party atmosphere filtering out of the pub’s back yard.
At the direction of the city commission, city staff came up with changes Superior Culture would have to make in order to secure their outdoor entertainment license. The changes outlined largely dealt with volume, lights, and times. Basically… quieter, dimmer, and earlier.
Fast-forward nine months and the evaluation of their progress has indicated they’ve done enough to warrant a reprieve, and can continue with live music, provided they make a few more adjustments to their sound dampening system. A subsequent review will take place in November.
Apparently there’s been some pushback on the idea of live music at that location regardless of limitations imposed by the city, but the neighbors who spoke at the Planning Commission’s audit seemed generally satisfied with the results of Superior Culture’s efforts.
At the conclusion, one of the commission members made a comment about how nice it is when the process works. Yes, it is.
A Sign of life at Westwood Mall
Finally, and with faint praise… better late than never, the busted up sign in front of the Westwood Mall has been replaced, with… a different one.
If you’re a regular traveler through Marquette Township, you’ve probably followed the progress, or lack thereof, of Westwood Mall’s exterior signage.
For many years, the mall’s sign was one of the area’s most attractive. Stylish and colorful, it was a complement to the mall. Well, a few years ago, that sign succumbed to age and the elements and was replaced with something which we’ll charitably call, vintage.
That “new” signage was meant to be temporary, but it appears it was only the progressive deterioration caused by a few windstorms that prompted its replacement. And the new sign is… pretty much the same thing, just not broken.
I think the local caretakers are likely doing the best they can, maintaining and promoting the facility, but ownership and the real estate firm handling the property, are not local. When you don’t drive by your broken sign every day, you’re less inclined to fix it. Or anything else.
The businesses currently in the mall appear to be hanging in there. A new one just opened, after one just closed, but I think that place still has a lot of potential. Great location, free parking, climate-controlled, a couple good anchor stores. Not bad… once you get past the sign.
Fans of the Queen City Burger Company will be disappointed to learn that it has closed, apparently for good.
Hate to see any business go down for the count, especially one with an owner who seemed committed to making it work. If you recall, QC first opened up just east of the Krist gas station in Marquette Township. It was a little challenging to find the way in, but apparently enough did, at least enough for the owner to ramp it up with a move to the former Subway location just down the road.
Considerable investment went into updating that building, but it must not have been enough. Tough to battle the cheaper fast-food big boys with the promise of better quality when that’s generally not what drives people to fast food. Hint… it’s the cheap and fast part.
There’s no real good reason for it, but that’s a tough location. It’s a little too easy to drive by. Anyway, sorry it didn’t work.