"Safety is always our number one concern here at MDOT, and we want to see that motorists are driving a consistent speed, shared by a majority of the motorists.
- MDOT spokesperson Kari Arend
If things suddenly seem a little faster on some Lansing streets, it's because they are.
The speed limit has been raised in several areas. Drivers can go faster on four major roads now, some by as much as 10 m.p.h.
The Michigan Department of Transportation worked with state police on these changes for the past year, and now they're officially in effect. So, as of last week, whether you realized it or not, getting around the capital city got a little quicker.
The speed limits have gone up from 35 to 45 m.p.h. on portions of MLK Blvd., Grand River Ave. near the airport, Cedar Street, and up to 40 m.p.h. on Larch Street. MDOT conducted speed studies over several months and found that these increases reflect how 85 percent of people were already driving.
"Safety is always our number one concern here at MDOT, and we want to see that motorists are driving a consistent speed, shared by a majority of the motorists," MDOT spokesperson Kari Arend said.
Some drivers have noticed the changes, while others weren't up to speed yet, and they had mixed feelings about the increases.
"In some places it just seems the speed limits are a little too slow for the pace of life now," driver Anne Clark said. She didn't have a problem with the speed limits going up.
But others see it differently.
"They speed things up, and it's just going to make things worse for traffic," Wayne Paseka said.
"People will just go faster. They never followed the old one, what makes us think they'd follow the new one?" Clara Moeggenborg said.
That need for speed also has Lansing Police concerned, especially with winter well on its way
"You have the weather elements, and if you increase your speed, basically it's going to take you longer to make that stop," Lansing Police Officer Robert Merritt said. "Could it possibly lead to problems? We'll monitor it. With the increase of speed, there's always a likelihood of accidents."
But MDOT hopes for just the opposite. They say by increasing the speed, they're increasing patience behind the wheel.
"That will help eliminate those conflict points, will help eliminate some of that merging and weaving motorists might see," Arend said.
Drivers aren't convinced yet, and many plan to play it safe.
"I'll probably get stopped for not driving fast enough," Moeggenborg said.
Lansing police have been getting a lot of questions about the newly-posted signs. MDOT said those speeds are the law and are being enforced.