The Birmingham City Commission unanimously approved recommendations from the city's multi-modal transportation board to install a pedestrian island to improve the crosswalk at S. Eton at Maple roads, along with other sidewalk and landscape enhancements, at their meeting on Monday, April 8.
The intersection was reviewed by the multi-modal transportation board following the opening of a new Whole Foods grocery store at 2100 E. Maple Road, just east of Eton, last summer. City manager Joe Valentine said in a memo, “Given that the new store would have a driveway entering into the Maple Road and N. Eton Road intersection, it was anticipated that there would be an impact on traffic flows and demand in this area.”
Following the June opening, in September 2018, traffic data collected by the city's traffic engineer, Fleis & Vanderbrink, determined that vehicular traffic had not changed a lot, other than westbound through traffic, which was not attributed to Whole Foods. However pedestrian traffic to and from the Pembroke Park subdivision did increase measurably for the crosswalk crossing at Maple and N. Eton, they noted, and they provided options on how to increase walkability.
After looking at the entire intersection, including areas east and west of the CN railroad, commissioners approved a resolution directing staff to proceed with pedestrian enhancement improvements for the block of S. Eton from Maple to Yosemite roads, that will include the installation of a landscaped pedestrian refuge island at the S. Eton Road pedestrian crossing across Maple, as well as the relocation of the west side curb in order to allow for an eight-foot wide sidewalk on S. Eton on that stretch. At the southeast corner of the Maple Road intersection, enhanced sidewalks will be put in along with a handicap ramp.
The cost for the improvements, according to city engineer, is approximately $76,000, which he said would be part of the 2019 concrete sidewalk program. Commissioners unanimously approved the appropriation as an amendment to the 2018-2019 fiscal year major streets fund budget.
Commissioner Rackeline Hoff said to city planning director Jana Ecker, “You're hearing about a lot of chaos at this intersection, but the data does not bear that out.” Ecker concurred.
In addition, commissioners unanimously approved an $8,550 resolution to have the Road Commission of Oakland County (RCOC) improve the traffic signal timing for northbound traffic at the intersection.