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Are West Michigan Running Races Too Disruptive To Traffic And Neighborhoods? – Poll Of The Day

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The first Ann Arbor Marathon was on Sunday.  About 3,300 runners participated in the race.  Ann Arbor’s mayor, John Hieftje, called the race “too disruptive” and says the race needs to make changes if they want to return.

Are West Michigan running races to disruptive to traffic and neighborhoods?

Many cities regularly shut down streets, sometimes for days at a time, for festivals.  Races usually shut down roads or effect travel for a shorter period of time, but problems still occur when people are not aware in advance.  Ann Arbor’s mayor says race organizers issued all notifications required, but it wasn’t enough.

Annarbor.com has more:

Mayor John Hieftje said the disruption to local traffic was far too great and changes will need to be made for the event to continue in the future.

“I thought it was far too disruptive and it needs to be better, and I’m speaking solely to traffic and how people getting in and out of neighborhoods were affected,” Hieftje said.

Hieftje pointed out that event organizers followed all the protocol in terms of notifying residents, churches and businesses affected by traffic closures, but it was clear to him on Sunday that it wasn’t enough. He said on race day he saw far too many residents and business owners adversely affected and unaware of what was going on.

“There were just locations that people couldn’t reach and there needs to be a way for people to get where they go,” Hieftje said. “It’s the first time, so we expect everything would get better – and it needs to be better.

It appears that the usual announcements weren’t enough at the Ann Arbor Marathon.

Signs along the road warning of upcoming races and more announcements may have helped, but would never really solve the problem.  Out-of-town visitors may be unaware and some areas are just too difficult to shut down.  Running races could be moved off of roads or further out of cities, but that would effect both participation and the economic benefit that many of these races bring to the cities that host them.

Races should continue to run, but continue to be carefully reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Running races should be given the same ability to shut down roads that a festival or movie shoot might have.

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