City Engineering Department

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Traffic Operations

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Traffic signals, signs and markings are intricate traffic control devices that regulate, warn and guide traffic on streets and highways in Midland. To be consistent with other cities in Michigan, all traffic control operations should follow accepted standards outlined in the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD), as amended.

The City of Midland strives to provide a safe roadway environment. This is accomplished in part through an aggressive preventative maintenance program and timely emergency response - 24 hours a day/seven days a week - for traffic signal repairs or regulatory signs such as Stop signs on Midland roadways.

Signs and Signals Shop

The Signs and Signals Shop functions as part of the Engineering Department. The primary responsibility of this shop is to upgrade and maintain all aspects of signals, signs and pavement marking operations.

Signals Shop:  The Signals Shop is comprised of two master electricians who maintain more than 110 signalized locations in the city of Midland, throughout Midland County and in the city of Auburn.

These electricians are also responsible for upgrading and maintaining traffic control software, performing electrical maintenance for the Jack Barstow Municipal Airport and other City departments, and collecting traffic speed and volume counts.

Traffic volume counts can be collected manually using traffic data collectors or by using mechanical traffic counters with air tubes that stretch across the roadway. Passing vehicles create air pressure in the tubes when crossing them, which can be recorded.

Sign Shop:  The Sign Shop maintains more than 7,500 signs in the city of Midland. These City workers also assist with providing street construction signage for City projects.

The Sign Shop is responsible for various pavement markings on city streets, including stop bars, crosswalks, painted arrows, lines indicating parking spaces, etc. These markings are repainted annually.

Traffic Signal Control

Traffic signals are an intricate part of everyday traffic control in the city of Midland, city of Auburn and throughout Midland County. Without traffic signals at locations that require them, traffic volumes could not be controlled efficiently, traffic delays would increase, and both vehicle and pedestrian safety would be compromised.

Traffic signals are designed to work together to carry the largest volume of vehicular traffic through the city with the least amount of vehicle delay. What this means is that the direction with the highest volume of traffic will likely have the best traffic flow - or progression - from one signalized location to the next.

Signals are also designed to help pedestrians with crossing at signalized locations.

The Engineering Department uses traffic engineering software and traffic data to help determine when signal timing updates are needed. These ongoing efforts help keep traffic moving safely and efficiently through Midland.

Flash Mode:  Most traffic signals go into “flash” mode during the late night hours, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each day. However, some signals may start flashing at 10:00 p.m., and some signals may not go into flash mode at all during late night hours. Also, some weekend traffic signals may flash in the daytime as well.

Traffic Control Orders

A traffic control order (TCO) is written approval from the Midland City Council to establish regulatory control of vehicular traffic within the Midland city limits. Regulatory control could be in the form of establishing speed limits, stop and yield conditions at intersections, parking restrictions, signal operations, regulating traffic for special events, or other regulatory control. TCOs may be necessary for various reasons, such as:

  • when new streets are constructed, requiring traffic control;

  • changes in street, width, pavement markings, or other configurations, requiring changes in traffic control;

  • when changes in traffic patterns require changes in traffic control; or

  • to improve public safety within the city's street system.

Traffic control equipment installations must meet the requirements of the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD), as amended.

TCOs are frequently written as a result of recommendations from the City's traffic consultant based on traffic control requests or concerns made by City staff or the public.

Traffic Control Requests or Concerns from Residents: Citizens may request the removal or installation of various types of traffic control devices, such as traffic signals, Stop signs, speed limit signs, No Parking signs, etc.

Once the concern or request is received, it is reviewed by Engineering to determine whether it is justified and/or needs further review. Because the City does not have a specialized traffic engineer on staff, the City contracts with a traffic consultant who is an engineer with a specialty in traffic operations. The consultant provides a report after each visit to Midland (generally, every 2 months) indicating recommendations to a variety of traffic-related issues, including issues related to the development of TCOs.

Detailed data collection and analysis may be necessary to justify the installation of traffic control devices. However, once the Engineering Department has determined that some form of regulatory action is necessary, a temporary TCO is written and submitted for approval to the City Manager. Once approved, the related traffic control devices, such as regulatory signs or signals, are installed. After 60 days, but within 90 days of granting the temporary order, City Council will either approve making the TCO permanent or allow the temporary control order to expire. Once expired, the temporary TCO is no longer valid, and the traffic control device(s) are removed.

Traffic Control Orders for Block Parties:  Requests for neighborhood block parties may be made to the City Engineer, who may issue a traffic control order permitting such activity. Click here to download a blank petition form and information sheet.

To request a traffic control order for such a gathering, contact the Engineering Department three (3) weeks before the scheduled event.