MICHIGAN ACT 51 OF 1951
Michigan Act 51 of 1951 requires each community to designate one person to be the Street Administrator. The City Manager is the City's Street Administrator, responsible for the City's transactions with the Michigan Department of Transportation, pursuant to Act 51, such as tracking the City's inventory of streets, which determines gas tax revenue sharing.
The City of New Buffalo has 28.3 miles of streets, within the approximately 2.5 square miles of our jurisdiction. Of that number, approximately two miles are U.S. Route 12, also called Buffalo Street in the City. U.S. Route 12 is managed by the Michigan Department of Transportation.
The remaining 26.36 miles of streets are divided into 7.56 miles of major streets and 18.80 miles of local streets, all of which are maintained by the Street Department.
Jefferson Street (which has 0.4 miles) also counts as part of the I.R.R. (Indian Reservation Route) system of the Pokagon Band, due to it being a route to their tribal land. The City of New Buffalo still maintains control of this street, but we work in partnership with the Pokagon Band to keep it well maintained.
Jefferson Street was reconstructed in 2010, with one-third of the cost being covered by the City of New Buffalo, one-third by the Pokagon Band, and one-third by the Local Revenue Sharing Board.
Please be aware that the City does not maintain private drives (e.g., Harbor Isle Drive, Peninsula Drive, Landings Boulevard, Preserve Way, Pond Path, Walden Way, Diamond Point Lane, Ramana Court, Merchant St Cottages drives off Taylor St, and Marquette Drive northeasterly of the City Beach/ City Boat Launch property.)
The historic West Michigan Pike was founded in 1911, and completed in 1922. Please see this fascinating historic directory from that time.
The West Michigan Pike state historic marker is located along New Buffalo's riverfront, on North Whittaker, just north of the bridge.
Historic Marker Side 1: At the turn of the twentieth century, deep ruts and sand made West Michigan roads nearly impassable. In 1911, the West Michigan Lakeshore Highway Association was founded to promote the construction of the first improved highway along Lake Michigan in order to bring auto tourists from Chicago to Michigan to support the new resort industry that grew up when logging ended in the region. Completed in 1922, the West Michigan Pike extended from the Indiana state line to Mackinaw City. It was designated one of the first state trunk lines (M-11) in 1917, as part of the Dixie Highway in 1923, and incorporated into the nations first federal highway system as US-31 in 1926. Straightened and realigned over the years, it is also known as the Red Arrow and the Blue Star Memorial Highways.
Historic Marker Side 2: The West Michigan Pike, advertised as "Lake Shore All the Way Chicago to Mackinaw," was completed as a paved highway in 1922. Tourists, particularly those from Chicago who sought cooler temperatures by coming to Michigan, gained greater access to communities dotting the Lake Michigan shore between the Indiana state line and the Straits of Mackinac. In 1926 the pike (M-11) was designated US-31. By then, traffic congestion and poor road conditions were again impeding Travel. The West Michigan Pike Association, which had started the road, advocated for US-31 to be widened and rerouted in 1929 as a "superhighway." A full-blown tourism industry with lodgings, restaurants, and attractions grew up along the West Michigan Pike and flourished into the twenty-first century.