Court of Appeals again rules that parallel parking lanes may be "designed for vehicular travel"
This week, the Court of Appeals issued a second opinion addressing the State's claim of immunity for defects in the parallel parking lanes adjacent to M-22 in Suttons Bay. The Court had previously ruled that under the pertinent statute, the lanes were "designed for vehicular travel" and therefore fell within a Legislative exception to governmental immunity. The Supreme Court had summarily sent the case back to the Appeals' Court judges for further analysis. This week the Court of Appeals issued a unanimous 13-page opinion explaining its decision. It pointed out that while the State would attempt to limit its liability to lanes used as a "thoroughfare" and seeks immunity for any portion of highway designed for vehicular travel but dedicated to dual-purpose or specialized use.
The Court noted that neither the "ordinary meaning" of the statutory language, nor the prior decisions of Michigan Courts would support the limitation sought by the Highway Department. Left-turn lanes, access lanes, merging lanes, on- and off-ramps, U-turn lanes, right-turn lanes and even bicycle lanes were expressly designed and "purposed" for vehicular travel.