Traffic Controls

About Traffic Controls

The Public Works Department maintains all of the street traffic controls in the city. These include traffic signals, traffic signs, and pavement markings.

While there is a lot of information below regarding how the city manages traffic and safety, it is important to remember that distracted driving is everyone's responsibility. Even with safe street, intersection and crosswalk designs/operation, distracted driving and pedestrians are becoming more prevalent and a threat to safety with cellphone/texting, in-vehicle infotainment systems, headphones use, etc. While design and enforcement is very important to safety, distracted driving is behavioral so everyone needs to do their part to help educate others regarding the importance of focusing on their surroundings for safety of other motorists and pedestrians. A cultural shift away from participating in distracted driving is important. Only you can prevent distracted driving!

For more information regarding distracted driving information and resources, please visit:

What can you do? Please visit this link to the National Safety Council.   

Distracted Driving Info Picture

Speeding Concerns:

The City of East Grand Rapids takes all speeding complaints seriously and encourages all speeding safety concerns to be reported to the Department of Public Safety at 616-949-7010 to initiate the process as noted below in the traffic calming policy.   

Traffic Calming Requests:
The City has a traffic calming and petition request policy. Please click here for the policy and click here for the petition request form.

Crosswalk Concerns:

The City of East Grand Rapids routinely reviews crosswalks throughout the City to ensure the crosswalks are up to current best practice standards for each location. The City also reviews crosswalk locations based upon reported concerns. It is important to note that certain crosswalk elements that are seen in one community do not translate to another because crosswalk treatments are based on variables for each environment such as street designation, vehicle and pedestrian volumes, street design, etc. For example, a crosswalk on a four-lane street adjacent to an amusement park would require different signage, pavement markings and flasher beacons versus a residential two-lane street with bump outs. Each location is viewed on an individual basis and sources such as the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) are used by traffic engineers using the variables of the physical environment and data to make sure the appropriate signage, pavement markings or signals are in place. Click here to see the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) sections on intersection design elements.

In 2018 the City completed a review of all school zone crosswalk locations and the City Commission approved Traffic Control Order #53 to ensure that each location is safe. It should be noted that the City provides crossing guards in each elementary and middle school zone as well. To view the review/study and Traffic Control Order # 53 please click here. To further enhance safety in the school crosswalk zones, the City Commission also approved Traffic Control Order #54 for the placement and use of in-street school crosswalk signs. To view Traffic Control Order #54 please click here

Our Public Works Department relies on the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to determine everything from speed limits to pavement markings and signage. In addition to the above measures, we regularly perform traffic-engineering reviews/studies in areas where residents show concern. We utilize speed/volume studies and actual pedestrian/vehicle accident data in conjunction with State of Michigan standards when reviews are conducted.

Education regarding safe behaviors and use of crosswalks is very important. The East Grand Rapids Community Foundation generously funded educational videos in a partnership between the City of East Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids Public Schools. East Grand Rapids Public Schools utilize these videos throughout the year to promote safety and awareness. You can help keep your friends and family safe by talking about and teaching one another about crosswalk safety. Please view the following safety videos to keep East Grand Rapids a safe, walkable community.

Pedestrian Safety:
Link to Michigan State Police website with safety video
Link to Michigan Secretary of State website-pedestrian and bicycle safety tips 

Pedestrians should:

  • Use sidewalks whenever available.
  • Obey traffic signals, signs and markings.
  • Cross streets at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible.
  • If you must walk along the roadway, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Always stop at the edge of a parked car, curb, or vehicle before walking out into traffic.
  • Look left-right-left before crossing a street and continue looking while crossing.
  • Make eye contact with drivers prior to crossing roadways.
  • Be visible: wear reflective clothing and lights at night and wear bright colors during the day.
  • Never allow children under age 10 to cross the streets alone. Young children do not have the skills to accurately judge traffic risks.

Drivers should:

  • Obey traffic signals, signs and markings.
  • Yield to pedestrians.
  • Stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Obey the posted speed limit.
  • Stay alert and take extra caution at intersections, especially when making turns.
  • Make eye contact with pedestrians waiting to cross roadways.
  • Be extra cautious when backing up—pedestrians can move into your path.

Local and State Law Pertaining to Bicycles

City Ordinances:

  • Everyone Under 18 must wear a helmet at all times
  • No person shall ride 2 or more abreast on any roadways
  • No person shall ride a bicycle up a sidewalk in the business district
  • Bicyclist must yield right of way to any pedestrian
  • If riding a bike on the roadway, same duties as driver of vehicle
  • All bikes on road must be registered with EGRDPS
State Law:

  • When a person is operating a bicycle the operator shall signal as follows: Left Turn, Right Turn and Stopping
  • Ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway
  • Walk bike in crosswalks
  • A bicycle being operated on a roadway between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red deflector on the rear which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet.
General Safety Tips:

  • Adjust seat
  • Check tires, brakes, sprocket and chain before riding
  • Pedals must be secure
  • Yearly maintenance/check by service professional
  • Handle bar should have a horn and rear view mirror
  • Never carry objects in your hand
  • Where light or bright colored clothing to be seen by others

Speed Limits: 
The State of Michigan updated sections of the Michigan Vehicle Code in 2017 with respect to speed limits in sections MCL 257.627 through 257.628. The changes determine how cities set speed limits within their municipal boundaries as noted above. The objective of any speed limit is that it be reasonable, enforceable, and that it assures a maximum limit. 

There are two ways to determine speed limits. The first method available to set speed limits is based on the 85th percentile speed of free flow traffic from a traffic speed study. The 85th percentile speed is the speed that 85 percent of vehicles do not exceed. Another way of looking at this is that only 15 percent of vehicles go faster than this speed, and 85 percent go at or below this speed. Most drivers voluntarily adjust their speed to the total roadway/roadside environment (width, alignment, surface condition, roadside development, pedestrian activity, weather, light conditions, etc.) The state and many traffic engineering professionals believe that this method helps to minimize crashes and promote a more uniform traffic flow.

When a speed study is performed the calculated 85th percentile speed combined with low accident history can result in speed limit increases. Generally it is acceptable to allow for an allowance/buffer with respect to for the 85th percentile for the posted speed. For example, if the posted speed is 25 mph and the 85th percentile is 29 mph, it is still acceptable to keep the posted speed at 25mph. A traffic engineering study also analyzes the road conditions, crash history along with the speeds on a street. The speed limit is then set at the speed at or below which 85th percentile of the drivers drive, otherwise known as the 85th percentile speed. Studies have shown that posting the speed limit at the 85th percentile speed results in more uniform traffic flow and fewer accidents. Drivers tend to be less impatient, pass less often and tailgate less, thereby reducing crashes.

The second method is called the Vehicle Access Point (VAP) method. In this approach a count of the number of driveways along a ½ mile segment is conducted. If there are 60 or more driveways and intersections the speed limit can be posted at 25 mph.

The VAP speed limit method is further detailed below:

Access Points Speed Limit
60 or more 25 mph
50 to 59 30 mph
45 to 49 35 mph
40 to 44 40 mph
30 to 39 45 mph

It is important to note that the state law allows MDOT or the Michigan State Police to actually step in and raise local speed limits if they believe that a local community is not in compliance with the law.

The City of East Grand Rapids routinely completes traffic speed studies throughout the City. Below are maps noting studies on major and local streets that were completed via the pneumatic road tube method where tubes are placed in the travel lanes and are connected to recorders located at the side of the street. This method also provides the most accurate data because it is discrete compared to radar speed feedback collection methods.

For more information about speed limits, please read “Setting Realistic Speed Limits” from the Michigan State Police and Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. 

Traffic Studies on Major Roads
Traffic Studies on Minor Roads 

Speed Enforcement:
The Department of Public Safety enforces all traffic laws within the City of East Grand Rapids. Below is a link to a third party report system that shows the parking and traffic enforcement activities with the filter pre-set to show a rolling six-month history in the City. The data provided is linked to the state TIMS reporting system. The locations of the stops noted have numbers indicating multiple activities at the location. If you click on the numbers it breaks out into each individual activity. You can then click on each incident and view details. Please note that the location is where the stop occurred not necessarily where the violation was observed. For example, several stop locations may show adjacent to a parking lot where the stop occurred, but the traffic violation could have been observed to initiate the stop a half-mile away.

To view parking and traffic related stops by the Department of Public Safety, please click here.

Stop Signs:
Stop signs installed in the wrong places for the wrong purposes usually create more problems than they solve. One common misuse of stop signs is to arbitrarily interrupt traffic, either by causing it to stop or by causing such an inconvenience that motorists are forced to use other routes. Studies conducted in many parts of the country show that there is a high incidence of intentional violations where stop signs are installed as "nuisances" or "speed breakers." These studies show that speed was only reduced in the immediate vicinity (about 100 to 150 feet) of the "nuisance" stop signs. But, speeds were actually higher between stop signs than they would have been if these signs had not been installed. These same studies show that drivers increase their speeds between unwarranted stop signs to make up for the lost time. Because of these studies and the increased speeds of drivers on streets with unwarranted stop signs, the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) clearly states that "Stop signs should not be used for speed control." At the right place and under the right conditions, a stop sign tells drivers and pedestrians who has the right of way.

For more comprehensive information about these studies, please read W. Martin Bretherton’s traffic study titled: “Multi-way Stops—The Research Shows the MUTCD is Correct!

Additional Stop Sign FAQ

Children at Play Signs:
Studies conducted in cities where such signs were widely posted in residential areas show no evidence of having reduced pedestrian crashes, vehicles speeds or legal liability. Many types of signs which were installed to warn of normal conditions in residential areas failed to achieve the desired safety benefits. It should be noted that signs should not be placed that give a false sense of safety or security. The "children at play" sign is a direct and open suggestion that it is acceptable to do so. Pedestrians and motorists should always have heightened awareness of surroundings. It is also technically illegal for children to play in the street. "Children at play" signs do not fulfill a need because children should not be playing in the street and do not convey a clear, simple message, other than implying to the children that it is acceptable to play in the street. Federal standards discourage the use of "children at play" signs. The Michigan Vehicle Code prohibits the installation of any sign that is not specified in the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the "children at play" sign is not included in the Manual.

Parking Restriction Requests:
The City has a parking restriction request policy and petition. Please click here for the policy and petition request form.

Grand Valley Metro Council
The City of East Grand Rapids is a member of the Grand Valley Metro Council (GVMC), which is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the greater Grand Rapids area. One of the functions of the GVMC as the MPO is to monitor traffic counts, safety, environmental impacts, etc. for the regional federal aid transportation network. The following link will take you to the GVMC traffic monitoring website where you can not only view information for the City of East Grand Rapids, but all other units of government or agencies in the Greater Grand Rapids area:

Traffic Safety Statistics
Please click here to view a map showing the top 100 high-crash intersections and segments from 2013-2017 based on fatal and serious injury crashes (K or A crashes) in the GVMC area.

The City of East Grand Rapids has been ranked #10 in 2017 and #9 in 2018 for the least amount of traffic related accidents for communities with populations between 10,000 and 100,000 in the state of Michigan. These statistics are compiled by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Click here for more statistics on distracted driving.

Changing Traffic Controls

Changing a traffic control, or adding a new one, requires review of the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices (MMUTCD).  Based on the requirements/best practices traffic controls may be changed. Discretionary changes will be reviewed by the City Infrastructure Committee with recommendations to the City Commission for changes.

If you notice an unsafe situation or have a suggestion regarding pedestrian or vehicular safety, please contact the Public Safety Department at 616-949-7010 or the Public Works Department at 616-940-4817.