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Talk About Town: Will the New Hacker Road Caution Light Be Effective?

A new caution light has been installed at the busy intersection. Are the flashing lights enough to help direct traffic or should a regular traffic light be installed?

A new caution light on the corner of M-59 and Hacker Road is a warning for drivers at the busy intersection to slow down and be aware of other drivers.

It’s a warning system that members of the St. John’s church has been trying to get for five years, according to congregation member James Lorang. 

“We wanted to put a regular light there, but the state wouldn’t do it right away,” Lorang said. “Supposedly, they’re going to do it in another year or something.”

With safety being their number one concern, Lorang says that the church was hoping for the regular light with a timer device to help with the flow of traffic on Sunday mornings.

With two heavily attended masses that day, Lorang says that approximately 600 cars can be waiting for up to a half hour when trying to exit from Hacker Road onto the busy M-59 highway. Left turns are the most dangerous, according to Lorang.

“We’ve had several really bad accidents here,” he said. “Several head-on collisions.” 

With the new caution lights now installed, Lorang says he doesn’t know how effective the lights will be. The 12-year Hartland resident also hopes for more safety precautions in the future, including the regular stop light as well as a widening of the highway to include a possible turning lane.

“This is the state giving us a starting block," he said. "But we don’t know if they’re going to do the stoplight thing or the turn lane thing and just leave the caution light.” 

Hartland Patch wants to know: Are the flashing caution lights enough to help direct traffic on Hacker or should a regular traffic light be installed? Are there other intersections in Hartland that need traffic lights as well?

Tell us in comments.

In this Thursday morning feature, we want to hear your opinions about certain topics making headlines. We'll be looking for your feedback in the comment section weekly. And we want to know what the Talk About Town is in your circles. Email Tatum at tatum.ryan@patch.com and it could be a topic of a future Talk About Town.

Kelly October 04, 2012 at 10:42 AM
The flashng light will not do anything in my opinion. Considering on day one when I went to make a left turn and was waiting for on coming traffic. Plenty of cars illegally passed me on the right on the shoulder. That is the worst problem. They can easily get hit by on coming traffic trning left. St. John's ought to make a second exit. I would like to see them get a flashing red light at the "on ramps" for the expressway right there at M-59 and 23. EVERY day people blow through the RED yields into the left light traffic getting on the expressway. Apparently people don't understand what a red yeild means. they think that it is a simple merge as if getting on the expressway but they attempt to blast right into double left lane traffic that just left a light. I've seen several accidents and avoided just as many as myself.
Rosanne October 04, 2012 at 10:48 AM
I don't believe the caution lights are sufficient. It should be a regular light with a timer for Sunday Services. We have family members that travel that route every Sunday who have a very difficult time maneuvering the intersection. Not only will it help the parishioners, but will slow down drivers on M59 and help control traffic flow during busy hours.
Lynn October 04, 2012 at 11:19 AM
I don't believe caution lights are effective. It would be nice of they would put in a light. They also need one on M59 where CSA School is. Traffic is horrible there and there have been many accidents. They have the flashing school light but it does not help.
Rick October 04, 2012 at 11:25 AM
This is just a "quick fix" (that took 5 years) by the state and it will not have any affect on M59 traffic nor will it make it any eaiser for people trying to get out of St. Johns. It's just another example of somebody trying to use a band-aid when a touriquet is needed.
Jenifer Meinke October 04, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I also feel like a flashing light will not do much. It is a long stretch of M-59 between Latson Rd and the old Hartland high school, I think folks "zone out" a bit & that a flashing yellow light is not going to be enough to change that. I also think there needs to be a light at CSA, even one that only operates 2 hours a day (an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon) would seriously help congestion and increase safety. The flashing "school zone" light is a joke, it even seems to function at odd/irrelevant times on occasion, and then not when it should.There are hundreds of vehicles with school aged children using that intersection 5 days a week. It is very unsafe.
Charlie Aberasturi October 04, 2012 at 12:28 PM
It has been more than five years that St. John's has been trying to get a traffic light at this intersection. Fifteen to twenty years is more in line with my understanding. I know that the previous pastors going back to at least the 1990s were trying to get a light at this intersection. It may have been even earlier than that but I can not speak from direct knowledge prior to that, since we moved to Hartalnd and bacame involved with St. John's in 1990.
Proud Cheer Mom October 04, 2012 at 01:11 PM
The light is not going to change the situation, the light needs to turn red for people on Hacker to turn onto M-59 safely, not just during church hours, what about all of our kids that travel Hacker to M-59 in the morning and afternoon for school. Flashing yellow means nothing to those that are on M-59, they don't use caution when they see the flashing yellow, they fly right on through the light and as other commentors have mentioned they go around on the shoulder. Make it a light that turns red for them and then they will have to stop and let others out onto the road. We have had many accidents on M-59, even fatal, let's slow down, put the light up where it changes from green - yellow to RED.
K October 04, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Surely M59 has become more populated and thus more residential/ business orientated over recent years. While the caution lights are a step in the right direction, I wish on a daily basis that the speed limit was not 55-at least until Argentine! I can hardly slow down enough to turn in to my own sub without the car behind me practically running me over. How do we get the speed limit lowered?
RANDY October 04, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Sadly the caution light won't make any difference. This entire stretch of M59 has been pushed beyond it's capacity to handle the traffic load it carries. It is terrible to make a left hand turn comming off of Hacker road, or out of any other neighborhood community in the area, and drivers are making dangerous decisions all to often to get this done. The CSA, community center, local business malls, apartments and neighborhoods are excellent and were glad they are here, but this complication to our M59 corridor requires a two lane Blvd. to handle it safely. With the traffic load M59 carries and it's woeful design in this area, a flashing light at Hacker road is a complete waste of time and money and we generally don't have either of these to waste. This light needs to be a fully operational traffic signal that can compensate when needed for the Hacker road traffic.
Michele Gonzalez October 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I think they should just install a regular traffic light at that intersection along with left-hand turn lanes. It would be so much safer for those turning but would also help slow traffic down on the west-bound lanes. There aren't any lights slowing traffic from Latson Rd. People fly by the time they hit Hacker.
FHM October 04, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Light at CSA, light at Millpointe sub, light at St Johns, at Argentine, making a left turn onto 59 from any location along 59 is not easy.....I have waited for over 5 minutes and longer trying to make a left turn out of several locations...I worry about the number of teens driving to and from school every day. I hope a serious accident doesn't take place, but from what I've experienced over the last several years, I'm afraid it's only a matter of time....
Hartland Mom x 4 October 04, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I agree that the blinking light at Hacker will do nothing to help with traffic. Not only is there Sunday masses, but Saturday as well along with Religious Ed during the week. It would be great to have a working light there. Because of the location of CSA, I think a light there would be bad for those coming in and out of the subdivisions there. Not everyone would stop back enough for people to get out while the light was red.
Hartland Dad October 04, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Supposedly MDOT plans to boulevard M59 from Howell to Hartland eventually. Does anyone know what the status of that is?
Lori S October 04, 2012 at 08:02 PM
They have been talking about widening M59 from Hartland west to I-96 for the last 30 years........
Joe Kleiner October 05, 2012 at 02:37 AM
About 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to interview the pastor of St. John's, Fr. Francis George; I was producing a video for HCAT about the construction of the 'new' church. He told me at that time 'his' plan for the traffic problem was to have a regular traffice signal at the M-59/Hacker intersection [operating in a timely manner during church service hours AND an exit for west-bound cars from the church parking lot. MDOT's response is lame, to say the least; let's hope it's temporary. The comment by "Pround Cheer Mom" [above], about 'through' traffic using the shoulder of the road to by-pass 'left-turning' cars, gets right to the point - many drivers are not going to yield their 'rights to the road' just for a flashing yellow traffic light. Opposing 'left-turners' [from M-59] create a nearly intollerable situation, so, whatever you do, carefully monitor traffic in ALL directions. Keep in mind that 'your' left turn from M-59 onto Hacker can be completed in 3-4 seconds, but even that doesn't help if a driver uses the shoulder to by-pass the courteous traffic queue.
Janet October 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Installing the flasher is pointless. It's no more than a glorified Stop sign for Hacker traffic and meaningless for M-59 traffic. I'd like to think that it's just temporary, and that a regular traffic signal will replace it. But if that's the case, why not just install the regular light in the first place and set it to flash until people get used to seeing it, then switch it to fully functional? Personally, I'd love to know what MDOT was thinking when they came up with this flasher idea.
Janet October 05, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Lori S is correct, Hartland Dad. Only I think it's been closer to 40 years. I was a young woman when they first talked about such a plan. At this point I'm just wondering if I'll live long enough to see it happen!
hartland eagle October 06, 2012 at 01:32 AM
A boulevard is exactly what's needed. We've had very ineffective representation in Lansing for the last 10 years - which is why it hasn't happened.

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