Ben Fogt 0:00
This is Episode 22 of What's the Deal Grosse Ile seal. The podcast exploring the people places history and events that make rosio unique. I'm your host, Ben fote. Now this show doesn't usually break news or do investigative journalism, and today is actually no different. So please enjoy our 2021 April Fool's Day prank. So yes, I'm breaking some big news today. grossie was getting some roundabouts or at least we think so. I'm not sure how many are were just yet, but I managed to find an anonymous source to talk about it. Hello, anonymous source. And thank you for being on What's the Deal? Grosse Ile
Andrea Mikrut 0:35
Happy to be here.
Ben Fogt 0:36
I know, we've talked before and I know you can't disclose who you work for or how you're connected to Grosse Ile,.but how do you know about this super secret project?
Andrea Mikrut 0:44
I think that we've all heard about this new infrastructure bill that's being proposed in Washington. And at the moment, that bill includes some provisions for improve safety to be done alongside your typical improvement projects and maintenance. So there's an opportunity here to potentially get quite a bit of quite a bit more money from the Federal Highway Administration to improve the condition of the roads on the island, if we also include some additional safety upgrades.
Ben Fogt 1:10
Well, that makes sense. Do you have an idea of how many are where they would go?
Andrea Mikrut 1:15
I think probably at least three. There have been some different crashes in the last couple of years that would indicate maybe we could reduce those at Bridge Road and meridian. at Meridian and Grosse Ile Parkway.
Ben Fogt 1:31
Andrea Mikrut 1:32
And also at Meridian and Macomb Street.
Ben Fogt 1:35
Wow, those are pretty prominent. So any idea how soon that would start?
Andrea Mikrut 1:40
With stimulus money that comes from an infrastructure bill? Like what they're talking about? It would be right away, it would be very soon.
Ben Fogt 1:48
Andrea Mikrut 1:48
Usually, you are extremely prepared by the time you actually get the money and you hit the ground running. So there might be a lot of construction going on in the next year, even maybe even this year.
Ben Fogt 2:00
Oh, wow. And do you? Do you know what today is?
Andrea Mikrut 2:04
I think it's April 1.
Ben Fogt 2:06
Yeah. April Fool's.
Well, hi, Andrea. And thank you for joining me on What's the Deal Grosse Ile, for real this time. So we know each other from from one way back? Do you want to say why you might be the person I would turn to to ask questions about bridges and roundabouts and that sort of thing?
Andrea Mikrut 2:25
Well, in Indiana, where I met you, when I met you, I was going back to work as a civil engineer. And that job allowed me to actually design some roundabouts in Indiana specifically, I am very passionate about what I do. And I would probably often come visit you in different places around town and Columbus. At that time, I think when I first went back to work, prior to going back as an engineer, I worked for you selling pizzas in Columbus. Yeah, it was fun. But I am sure that I probably talked about roundabouts quite a bit, because that was what I was working on constantly at the time. And I am very passionate about them and how much they could improve, improve safety and commuting times even because there's less wait times and around about intersection.
Ben Fogt 3:17
So absolutely. And because you're professional, we're all aware that you're not licensed to practice the dark art of civil engineering in in the state of Michigan. And you're not offering to do this and it's not a real project. So we'll just get that out of the way there.
Andrea Mikrut 3:33
Yes, completely a joke.
Ben Fogt 3:34
Yeah. So the reason I asked you on for the APR as of April Fool's Day joke is that, that Grosse Ile social media has a constant meme about getting roundabouts put in in a lot of our high traffic areas, in particular, some of the ones you talked about. I think most often people talk about grocery Hill Parkway and meridian. But it's a joke, because it gets people riled up. And a lot of people get fooled into being angry about it every time it happens, if it's it's a new meme to them. And so a lot of people like to bring it back every three months. But it gets people riled up. It's almost an automatic thing that gets people gets people ready to argue a little bit. Is there anything else in in road construction or city design that gets people as riled up as roundabouts?
Andrea Mikrut 4:19
You know, we have a lot of public hearings and public meetings for different styles of projects, different intersections, sometimes an ad of traveling on an interstate and things like that. roundabouts is the one thing that people immediately say no. And they've actually done some studies on this. I pulled some data from a couple of studies that were done. And what they did was they surveyed people in a city about whether or not they thought that a roundabout would be good where they lived in their city. And less than 30% of those people said that they they would agree that around about would be helpful or that they wanted any roundabout whatsoever. There was a very low percent
up to two people and about a year after because obviously in some locations the municipality or the county
state even will force you to have a roundabout because of safety concerns and frequent crashes you might be forced to have one and then they came back and they asked the same people and about a year after the roundabout had been completed people were a lot happier with it than they thought that they would be and it was more like 70% of people agreed that the roundabout was helpful and was a good idea for that location so sometimes just being forced into it can change people's opinions but they offer a lot of different advantages it's not just because they look nice or that kind of thing i mean they do improve safety a lot
Ben Fogt 5:51
so how do they improve safety that way
Andrea Mikrut 5:54
well basically when you enter a roundabout you are entering perpendicular to the cars that are also entering or that are in the intersection already so when you're in a collision in your car you're more likely to be injured or and also more likely to increase your property damage costs if you are t boned for instance which is traditional 90 degree and often happens when people run red lights or run stop signs when you enter a roundabout you are doing it in a circular fashion and so the angle of your vehicle is different so if someone else doesn't yield and they still hit you and still crash into your car that change an angle and also the reduce speeds because it's very difficult to go around a circle at a high speed obviously you're going a lot slower so instead of trying to beat the light you are slowing down and entering a circle and if someone does hit you it just decreases property damage and it's very unlikely to have any injuries in the car
Ben Fogt 7:01
oh wow well that makes a lot of sense so don't they confuse more people than they protect though that's one of the arguments people make is that they get so confused when they see that around about
Andrea Mikrut 7:11
i think that the first time that they enter a roundabout they probably are confused but their signage usually we direct the traffic to always go to the right there is a lot of like what i was talking about earlier with public meetings and public hearings there's a lot of education that goes into it so typically if there's never been around about in that area you can put newspaper articles out and put something on the news and just distribute the information to try to educate people but the main thing is that if they enter and they follow the islands so there are these things called splitter islands and when you enter on the approach to the roundabout they're usually curved in such a way that it naturally shows you which direction to go on the circle now that's not to say that i haven't personally even witnessed someone go the wrong direction but it's very rare and it's difficult to do actually
Ben Fogt 8:17
sure sure and i suppose if no one else is in the roundabout at the time it wouldn't matter yes if i remember right you were involved with some of the roundabouts in carmel indiana which had an effort to replace all of their four way stops and their their traffic lights at least with with roundabouts and i think they've done that they report that they have a 40% reduction in car accidents and 80% reduction in injuries from those accidents that's a lot do you know how they managed to develop that program that replaced all those that's a really big expense and kind of a risky thing to do for politicians i'd imagine
Andrea Mikrut 8:54
well i'm not sure that when they started out with the first couple of roundabouts that it was really let's replace all of our intersections right now carmel probably started out with a couple in heavy traffic areas and started to sell people on the lower wait times because around about is designed to take a certain amount of traffic within a certain amount of time and when they're designed they are designed based on a key length and unless it's a really special event or something like that they're designed to only allow so much queue where you're actually waiting to enter the roundabout otherwise the majority of the time it's free flowing and you very rarely have to stop when you are waiting for traffic to clear on the roundabout so they've reduced a lot of commute times especially when a lot of traffic is all going the same way which happens every morning for instance in carmel everyone needs to get to indianapolis to go to work and everyone One needs to get home in the evening. So there's a lot of traffic all going the same way. And the majority of that traffic is free flowing at a low speed through the roundabout. But I do think that Carmel had such success that they then started replacing all of them because they saw the reduction in accidents.
Ben Fogt 10:17
And we have a similar traffic pattern right now on the island at bridge and Meridian, as you saw, where the toll bridge is, we have people flowing out over the toll bridge, and then and then coming back. So I think we would have a similar effect there if, if somebody decided to put one in there.
Andrea Mikrut 10:33
I think that because the traffic light at that intersection, also is normally blinking. And right now it's not because the toll bridges seem so much traffic, the confusion over when that goes to an operational signal rather than a flashing signal. It actually caused one of the crash report crashes that I've read the report for from it was either in 2018 or 2019. That the driver stated to the officer that it normally blinks, and they didn't realize that it was actually operating as a typical signal and they weren't able to stop in time. And that actually caused a crash. So that confusion, it just it could be completely eliminated. Sure, but I understand that gross, you'll probably won't get round about
Ben Fogt 11:24
Yes, I it's a very resistant Unless Unless our discussion here today convinces everybody that roundabouts are the best thing ever, so probably not.
Andrea Mikrut 11:36
But I should I should probably state that at the beginning of the April Fool's joke. When I was talking about the infrastructure bill, there is not actually currently any money to improve safety on our roads in the infrastructure bill. Unfortunately, it's more geared towards other infrastructure, not necessarily road construction right
Ben Fogt 11:56
But bridge construction might be in there. So if that's the case, then we'll take it. Speaking of which,
Andrea Mikrut 12:04
you guys really need it?
Ben Fogt 12:05
We do we do. We've talked about that over the years. So I'll definitely keep you up to date on on what happens with that bridge. It'll be it'll be interesting. And one of these days, you'll get you'll come up here and you'll get to see all these bridges, that'll be great. So one of the features of this podcast is that I ask my guests to make a wish it can be for the community of Brazil, it could be for the region could be for the world in general, do you have a wish at all that that you'd like to have granted,
Andrea Mikrut 12:33
I would have to say my wish would be for the residents of Brazil, that you maybe even if it's not round about that you in the future are able to get a stable, safe bridge that is reliable, and maybe a complete replacement, even if that's possible, that you don't need to pay tolls for because you live in a very unique place. And just having talked to you about Brazil, I think that probably the pride that you have. And in talking about all the unique character on the island, that that probably doesn't stop with you that the people that listen to your podcast, and the other residents of grassy hill are also as proud to live there. And you should be proud of your roads and your bridges
Ben Fogt 13:26
Well, let's hope that comes true. Well, thank you and I I want to thank you so much for your friendship and and all the things that I've learned from you. I've really learned a lot. And I appreciate you and your family. And thank you for sharing all this with us today.
Andrea Mikrut 13:42
Oh, no problem. I'm always happy to teach people about road safety. And unfortunately, my my knowledge does not extend to bridges. But I do enjoy still talking with you about the bridges, and I appreciate being on your podcast.
Ben Fogt 13:55
You know how
they work. So that's good enough. All right, thank you. I want to thank Andrea micturate again for being part of this April Fool's Day joke, but also for all the knowledge that she shared. The next time I get to do this on this release schedule is 2027 so I had to have a little bit of fun. This has been Episode 22. Right now I have a short break built into the schedule. If things fall into place, we may get another three more episodes for the season. Then I'll start working on season two. The plan is to start recording some of those episodes live when we start having events around the island to hear more about that the easy ways are to like and follow on Facebook and Instagram but to really get the scoop including some early releases and some behind the scenes details subscribe to the What's the Deal, Grosse Ile Facebook group. Links to all of it are in the Episode Notes. What's the Deal Grosse Ile is recorded and produced by me then you can keep in touch with me through the What's the Deal, Grosse Ile Facebook page, or email me at What's the Deal. Grosse Ile at gmail.com you can share episodes from facebook or hear them from the website what's the deal gi.com and of course it never hurts to subscribe so you can get the latest episodes through your favorite podcast delivery tool like spotify apple podcasts pocket casts and so many others our intro and credit music is mocktails in the rain by aunty ludo which is used through creative commons license find more of his music on soundclick calm as anthony's instrumentals thanks for listening to What's the Deal Grosse Ile