Both MDOT and the City of Midland have been taking a slow, measured approach to testing the feasibility of a 2 lane street along Buttles Street from Jerome Street to State Street. The first step, following presentation of the Corridor Study by MDOT to City Council in March of 2017, was a three day temporary lane reduction from August 28-30, 2017 to assess the impact of reduced lanes in this corridor. Following a public open house that was held by MDOT on September 13, 2017, concerns were expressed about the timing and duration of the first temporary lane reduction. A second temporary lane reduction was therefore implemented from November 6-13, 2017.
Using information obtained from the two temporary lane reductions, MDOT presented the final report and recommendations to City Council on December 18, 2017. City Council supported in principle the preferred option of reducing Buttles Street to 2 lanes. The road diet trial now underway is testing on a larger and more complete scale the report findings and the ability of the corridor to handle the traffic that travels through this corridor regularly. The longer trial allows all anticipated travel volumes and conditions to be assessed. The trial will last until the M-20 bridge construction is completed, traffic patterns return to normal thereafter, and sufficient data is obtained to fully understand the effect of the reduced lanes on vehicles in this corridor. MDOT and the City are currently discussing how much longer the trial will be needed once the M-20 bridge construction ends this fall.