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Minicircles: Reconstruct or Remove?

Crews demolish a roundabout in Howell, Mich., as reconstruction of three of the roundabouts gets under way.
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Three traffic minicircles in Howell. Mich. will undergo reconstruction by the independent contractor who installed them in the first place, according to City Manager Shea Charles, despite the fact that the Howell City Council recently received a petition signed by 53 residents and business owners asking that the minicircles be removed altogether.

The minicircles at the corners of West and Clinton streets and West and Wetmore streets will be re-installed and adjusted, Charles said, because of over paving by the contractor. The top coat of asphalt in some stretches is wider than the base layer, which will be remedied, allowing for a smoother transition for rainwater.

A third minicircle will be taken out and completely rebuilt because of improper installation by the contractor.

"There's a punch list of things that need to be done correctly concerning the minicircles," Charles said. "So, the contractor is going to be in to take care of those things."

The minicircles have surfaced as a hot-button topic after Marion Township resident Richard Pybus obtained the signatures of 53 Howell residents and business owners on a petition asking the Howell City Council to get rid of them.

Pybus, who owns rental property in Howell, told the council that the minicircles, on various residential streets throughout the city, are hazardous and very dangerous.

The circles were built to deter motorists from speeding, but Pybus said there are other options, such as speed bumps and rumble strips.

"Even though the city is doing this work, the circles are still unsafe," Pybus said. "I'm not doing this for any political means or anything. I'm just concerned about the safety of the people in the city. "You can't go around the circles without hitting them unless you drive a really compact car and go four or five miles an hour."

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October 20, 2019, 8:19 pm PDT

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