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Citizen, officials find light lacking

A crosswalk on Sashabaw Road concerns local residents. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
October 09, 2013 - A pedestrian crosswalk on Sashabaw Road at Bow Pointe is cause for concern for Independence Township residents Michael and Linda Powell.

"A death here will be 100 percent their fault," said Powell about the responsibility of the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) for the light. The Powells told The Clarkston News they had complained about the light for two years.

The light is programmed to stay dormant until a pedestrian presses the cross walk button. The light then blinks yellow, then red.

"Then it stays solid red," said Lt. Dirk Feneley, Independence Township sheriff's substation commander. "As you are walking across the streets, you get halfway across and it does a countdown and gives you 20 seconds to cross the road."

Township Supervisor Pat Kittle said pedestrians have to push the button again while in the median to cross to the other side of the road.

The real problem is how the light abruptly changes, Michael Powell said.

"There have been several issues with the crosswalk since it was first installed, and the latest issue is that the light will suddenly turn red-not providing enough time for motorists to stop safely," he said.

Independence Township Planning Commission Chairman Sam Moraco said he has experienced the issue firsthand. He was driving down Sashabaw Road towards the light going the 50 mile per hour speed limit when the light turned red.

"I got bit by that light for the first time the other day," Moraco said

The Clarkston News phoned the RCOC, which said they would forward the issue over to their electrical unit. Independence Township Supervisor Pat Kittle and Feneley said they have already been in contact with RCOC representatives.

"RCOC has made changes to the timing and added more crosswalk warning signs," said Kittle.

Powell said he recently checked the crosswalk to see if perhaps it was fixed.

"One motorist came to a screeching halt before running the light and four others barreled through the red light as though it was non-existent," he said.

Feneley and Kittle both said they visited the crosswalk and it seemed to be working property. Feneley said he also sent plain clothes detectives out to test the light and see how drivers react to the light.

"Do I like that crosswalk," asked Feneley. "No, I do not, and I will be working with road commission to get it to my and Kittle's satisfaction."

Powell said the crosswalk should stay green until the button is pushed, when it would turn red.

"What they don't understand is the setup that is now in operation," he said.

During a special meeting with the Independence Township Board of Trustees Andrea Schroeder had recommended installing a pedestrian bridge for the area after McLaren hospital is built in the area.

Staff writer
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