What Else Needs Work?
Great places to live, eat, work, and play aren’t the only factors to consider when it comes to metro Detroit’s big issues. Here are some leftovers from our “all the news that’s fit to print” file. We’re talking roads and traffic, crime and punishment, and more.
3 Highways in Need of a Makeover
Sections over the Rouge River near Goddard Road Downriver and throughout Oakland Country are in particularly poor condition. “These [areas] are in need of major work and will be [fixed] in the future as long-term funding comes in,” says Diane Cross of the Michigan Department of Transportation.
“Hell” Road (M-59)
Hall Road just past M-53 sees an average of 102,700 vehicles per day, the highest concentration along the route, according to a 2013 survey done by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Combined with the web of entrance and exit ramps, traffic is hellish at rush hour.
According to Michigan Department of Transportation Metro Region engineer Tony Kratofil, the freeway does not “meet 21st century standards for safety, and several bridges are in very poor condition.”
1 Huge Political Pothole
Michigan drivers face many challenges traveling on our crumbling roads. Why? We’re cheap. Michigan spends about $174 per person on roads. Wisconsin, meanwhile, spends $231 per person, and Ohio spends $234. The legislature — afraid of getting behind anything that could be considered a dreaded “tax increase” — couldn’t get it done by themselves. So they kicked the problem down the proverbial road, trying to pass the buck to voters with Proposal 1. Voters didn’t buy it. So what’s Plan B? As we’ve said for the past few years, buckle up. Even if they solved the problem tomorrow, it’s going to be a bumpy ride for a while.
3 Dangerous Intersections
Ford Road and Haggerty Roads
Ford and Haggerty roads in Canton is the No. 1 intersection when it comes to high frequency crashes. On average, 69.4 crashes take place there annually. Ford Road has the highest frequency of crashes alone between Lilley and Haggerty roads.
12 Mile Road West and Orchard Lake Road
Located in Farmington Hills, 12 Mile Road and Orchard Lake Road is ranked No. 2 with 66.8 crashes annually.
Southfield Road and 11 Mile Road West
Annually, 66.6 accidents are reported on average in the city of Southfield where Southfield and 11 Mile roads meet.
Crunching the Crime Data
Each year, the Federal Bureau of Investigations issues a Uniform Crime Report. The FBI does not provide data in a “ranked format,” but a crime rate can be calculated based on adding the number of violent and property crimes reported, then dividing that by an area’s total population. Here’s a slice of stats from 2013.
3 Trouble Spots Around Michigan
Flint: Once considered the most dangerous city in Michigan, it has a crime rate of 62 per 1,000 people — a decrease from 83 per 1,000 in 2012.
Inkster: The crime rate increased from 55 per 1,000 in 2012 to 58 per 1,000 in 2013.
Benton Harbor: This city of around 10,000 on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore had a crime rate of 93 incidents per 1,000.
1 Lingering Problem for Detroit
Detroit has a crime rate of 79 per 1,000 people. Nearly 75 percent were property crimes.
3 Safer Metro Detroit Suburbs
Grosse Ile Township: The Downriver island had a crime rate of 5 per 1,000 residents in 2013. The rate decreased from 9 per 1,000 in 2012.
New Baltimore: The northern Macomb County city bordering Anchor Bay had a crime rate of 6 per 1,000.
Plymouth: This Wayne County suburb had a crime rate of 12 per 1,000.
3 Interesting Criminal Justice Proposals
The Michigan Department of Corrections has a $2 billion budget, and it’s being eyed as a potential funding source for road repairs and public education. Here are some “smart justice” ideas being floated by Gov. Rick Snyder.
- Allocate more resources to address “root causes” of crime, such as mental health, substance abuse, and truancy/child neglect.
- Reduce the prison population (now around 43,000 at around $35,000 a year each to incarcerate) through alternative sentences, early releases for elderly prisoners, and probation and parole reforms.
- Improve the racial diversity of Michigan’s police forces, and expand the use of police body cameras and other tools.