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Traffic changes at Silver Beach met with criticism

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. - City leaders in are trying out new ideas to help lessen traffic at summer hot spots like Silver Beach. This includes several changes to roads and the addition of a drop-off and pick-up zone. 

One of the biggest changes the city made was turning Lake Street into a one way. 

St. Joseph City Manager John Hodgson says this change does affect beach access. 

The goal of the one way is to keep traffic out of residential areas. But locals say it isn't working so far. 

"We've seen an increase in the speed of traffic and the volume has increased because of some of the changes that they've made this summer," said Chris Galante, who lives in St. Joseph. 

He said people go down Park Street expecting to access the beach, but are met with a barricade where Lake Street has been changed into a drop-off and pick-up section. 

"And then they just barrel up the street because they're in a big hurry to find a parking spot," Galante said. 

New signs are up directing visitors to turn onto State Street instead. 

Fred Bogwell is a visitor to St. Joseph, and said he had some issues following the signs. 

"I tried to follow the signs that said 'to Silver Beach.' But when I got to Silver Beach Hotel, I didn't see a sign to turn down here. I kind of knew my way so I found it okay, but I think a sign there would be nice," Bogwell said. 

That turn is the one off Main Street and onto Port Street.

But the biggest concern of those living here is that drivers aren't obeying those signs. 

"A lot of folks aren't adhering to signage," said Johnny Zimmerle, who lives in St. Joseph. "I think there needs to be more communication as to where drop-off zones actually are and what routes are."

Galante said, "We've walked up there at busy times and we've seen every third or fourth car violating the left turn and just turning left anyway."

Hodgson said it's going to take some time for people to adjust to the changes. 

Locals say they do feel like the city is doing everything it can to help solve the issue. 

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