5 of Greater Lansing’s Most Annoying Intersections
Traveling in Mid-Michigan isn't as bad as some metro areas. But, that doesn't mean that we don't have our fair share of annoying traffic patterns: long stoplights, unnecessary one way streets, the dreaded "Michigan left turns", and malfunctioning traffic regulators. We've seen previous lists about the area's most dangerous, or most heavily traveled intersections. This list, however, has no scientific data or statistics. These are simply five intersections and traffic segments that I try to avoid at all costs.
Anytime you come across a double-intersection, chances are, you are going to get stopped by a red light more times than not. But, if you're travelling north on Hagadorn Road in East Lansing, the intersections of Haslett Road and Saginaw Street can be a downright time terrorist. If you're looking to turn west towards Lansing, you can't turn left at either Haslett or Saginaw. You will have to make a Michigan left onto Saginaw. The kicker with this traffic pattern, it's nearly impossible to get through without a red light. The twin lights synced up at Haslett and Saginaw may get you. If not, the signal controlled turnaround from eastbound Saginaw to Westbound Saginaw will get you. And then, you'll have to contend with a red light on westbound Saginaw when you re-approach Hagadorn.
We don't travel very far for our next intersection. If you catch a fresh red light at Grand River Avenue and Hagadorn Road, you'll be glad to know you should have plenty of time to check a text, check out your GPS, or fiddle with your music player. What makes this intersection even more annoying is in less-traveled times, you will still wait for a full light cycle. It could be a midnight trip to Bell's Greek Pizza with no traffic. Yet, at this light, sensors do not cut the wait time. You can stare at that Bell's for a full two and a half minutes without seeing one vehicle cross the intersection opposite of you.
Nearly every single day, my path to the studio takes me through this god-forsaken intersection. Now, it's not so bad if you're on Jolly Road. But, for motorists on Dunckel Road, you can be waiting more than two minutes for your turn at a green light. What's more annoying, it is a "smart light" that uses sensors to activate the signal. But, it doesn't always register late night or early morning. If you are in the southbound left turn lane with no other traffic around you, likely, you won't trigger the sensor. You have to be about 6 inches behind the stop stripe, and partially leaning into the middle southbound lane. A "perfect" stop in that left lane at 5:00 AM will leave you sitting at a red light, watching the signal cycle through all of its green lights for Jolly Road traffic until another southbound or northbound vehicle on Dunckel joins you at the light to trigger the sensor.
This nightmare of a traffic pattern simply speaks for itself. With 5 stoplights, 3 intersections, 2 railroad crossings, Michigan left turns and an Amtrak depot all within a quarter-mile of roadway, Harrison Road is one of the most dreaded areas in all of Mid-Michigan. And, if you're in a hurry traveling through this stretch...GOOD LUCK! Not only are you going to encounter a red light or three with almost 100 percent certainty, you have a pretty good chance to get stopped by a train on one of the two tracks. And, if you're extra lucky, you'll catch one of the two daily Amtrak trains that stops at the depot.
And now, I reveal what I feel is the most annoying, aggravating, and time consuming intersection in all of Mid-Michigan. Hands down, the intersection of Aurelius Road and Cedar Street in Holt gets this dishonor. To give some credit, it's about a 25 percent chance of making it through with a green light. But, if you get a red light, you'll be waiting for what seems like an eternity. It takes more than four minutes for this light to make a full cycle through all four directions of traffic. For the sake of this post, I went through the light 5 times in a week. My average wait time was just over three minutes. I hate this light. I hate this intersection. I will drive miles out of the way down Willoughby/Eifert/ Holt Roads, or Willoughby/College/Holt Roads to avoid this light. Either detour saves time.