Op-Ed: Proposed Hamlin Road Construction

Please Note: Rochester Hills resident Scot Beaton originally published portions of the article below in 2013 with regards to the proposed construction to Hamlin Road, which is back on the Rochester Hills City Council Agenda on Monday, December 8 at 7 p.m. The views expressed are his own and in no way constitutes an endorsement by Rochester Media.

“Big Yellow Taxi”

Lyrics by Joni Mitchell

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Should this not be Mayor Bryan K. Barnett and Mayoral candidate Ravi Yalamanchi (he voted “yes”) new theme song for Rochester Hills? Many times I feel yes.

Let me try to explain… Mayor Bryan K. Barnett and all seven members of his City Council (03/04/2013) voted YES to spend $414,252.57* to re-engineer, draw up construction plans for Hamlin Road, Livernois to Dequindre. “Project Description: Rehabilitate existing asphalt roadway and add a continuous center left-turn lane to the portion from east of Livernois to Rochester Road. Also, widen the intersection at Hamlin and Rochester Roads.”

The bad news… ‘continuous center left-turn lane to the portion from east of Livernois to Rochester Road,’ this design will be no different than the 50 mph design speed the RCOC has planned for Tienken Road. “Prepare detailed construction plans for the widening of Hamlin Road between Hamlin Court and Rochester Road. The proposed three lane section will contain a combination of MDOT B curb and gutter or minimum six foot shoulders (three foot paved, three foot aggregate) at selected locations throughout this segment.” What does this mean? Unlike federal funded Tienken Road. were going to rebuild this road on the ‘cheap.’ Unlike Tienken Road, which is going to be continuous curb and gutter… these residents are going to get stuck with a lot of really big brand new ditches in their front yards to handle the extra stormwater runoff from the new center lane. And Hamlin Road will not be a “Complete Street” no bike lanes! Hamlin Road crossection1

Why? When I told President Hopper the residents don’t want a 50 mph design speed highway in their front yards, I was told I was wrong! I was told they do. Wrong answer President Hopper. A little bit of history: it’s all public record. Years back these residents were confronted with the idea of a five lane highway, “A Rochester Road in my front yard…?” They went ballistic! And the compromise was a three-lane highway. THEY WERE NEVER GIVEN THE CHOICE TO JUST REPAVE WHAT IS ALREADY THERE! President Hopper that is all they want… clean up the road and fix in the potholes! Hamlin Road crossection2

What is Hamlin Road… Livernois to Rochester Road. Except at the very corner of Rochester Road there aren’t any strip malls on it. It’s all residential, some wonderful places of worship, and a grade school. Some of the homes were built the same year the RMS Titanic was built. It’s a beautiful quaint stretch of road. Then why does Mayor Bryan K. Barnett and all seven members of his City Council want to destroy this beautiful area? Why do we want to put a 50 mph design speed highway in front of a grade school? Why do we want to continue ruin the charm of Rochester Hills? Why do we want to spend valuable, rare tax dollars on these kinds of projects? Why is it so damn important that a commuter who works in Oakland County gets maybe five minutes home faster to dinner in Macomb County?

Icing on the cake… “The Consultant will also study the intersection of Hamlin and John R to determine the best option for future operation of the intersection. The study will explore the addition of right turn lanes with signal upgrades or the construction of a roundabout.” Need I say more? “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

*Cost to City Taxpayers 100 percent. We as a City own Hamlin Road and Hamlin Road has zero to do with the Road Commission for Oakland County; it is 100 percent Rochester Hills responsibility; a 100-percent responsibility Mayor Bryan K. Barnett and all seven members of his City Council that continue to destroy the character of our community!

Street DesignNote: I do support the purchase of the right of way in Monday’s City Council packet. I wish there was some kind of compromise with the residents who live on this stretch of road between paving what is there and a rebuild of the road, which I would support if it was a “Complete Street” like the one illustrated and I would support a center lane is strategic placements of the road to improve public safety like in front of the grade school. I wish we could have a public forum to inform all property owners on Hamlin Road and invite them to a public meeting before we rebuild and the final engineering of this City road project.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.


  1. Great article – very well thought and researched! Love the ideas. Vision for Rochester Hills we’d love to see!

  2. James R. Tokarski says

    It is my opinion that Rochester Hills is turning into one big, huge, gigantic strip mall with all the road work to support it and not much more of anything else. Why is our bedroom community disappearing under this Major? Why is this mayor so determined to stay in office that he intends to exploit and under mind the city charter by starting a write in campaign. Citizens of Rochester Hills wake up before you lose your unique city to who knows what!

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