Crosswalk signs will remain but will not have flashing lights
By Megan Kelley
The Polly Ann Trailways Commission will be removing the flashing crosswalk lights on both Drahner Rd. (by Pathway Christian Church) and Burdick St. (by Frosty Boy) this week after both sections of crosswalk lights have fallen into disrepair.
Both sections of lights are first generation and have been up for about 20 years, therefore finding parts to continue to maintain them has become near impossible.
“The crosswalks are first generation crossing lights so they are old but good. Over the last couple of years, they have started to really fail. When they work, they’re not working at 100 percent – they won’t turn on, they won’t turn off, one of the lights is gone. They’re just on their deathbed, basically,” said Polly Ann Trail Manager Linda Moran.
The lights themselves are owned by the Oakland County Road Commission but the Polly Ann Trail is responsible for maintaining them.
“Every year they’re inspected by the road commission and whenever there is a problem and we call, they send us a bill. So, last summer or the summer before, they were literally duct taping these things together. They were finding fuses from cars to see if they could work, they were using car batteries. I mean, they were done. They were at the end,” Moran said.
According to Moran, with this knowledge, the Road Commission informed the Polly Ann Trail that they were going to be unable to continue to make repairs to the lights and that unless something happens another first generation light and parts are able to be salvaged from that one, they would be unable to find parts to make any necessary repairs.
The Commission also said that due to the cost of new lights, they are unable to afford new crosswalk lights at this time.
“We looked at getting new ones but they’re like $130,000 to $140,000 and we don’t have the money,” Moran said. “We’ve added it to our laundry list of things we need for the trail. We’ve applied for grants to do some resurfacing to do some infrastructure repairs and one of those infrastructure repairs are new crossing lights. But until we’re able to get a grant or money from a rich uncle somewhere, they’re going to be turned back into just crosswalk signs.”
The crosswalks will still be usable and will indicate that they are a crosswalk, however the flashing lights that signal motorists to stop will not be there anymore. Because of this, Moran says pedestrians will have to be more careful and aware when they’re crossing on those roads.
“Pedestrians are under the impression they always have the right of way, that’s not true. If a car is coming and a pedestrian steps into the road without it being clear, it’s the pedestrian’s fault. If you’re actively in a crosswalk and a car comes by and hits (you), it’s the car’s fault. Now, if a car is coming and I run into the road or step into the road, that’s my fault because cars can’t stop on a dime,” Moran said.
Moran reminds people to treat the crosswalk as a regular crosswalk and to make sure you look both ways before crossing the road.
It is unclear if or when the Polly Ann Trailways Commission will be able to receive funding for new flashing lights but will continue to search for grant opportunities to do so. They are also always accepting donations on their website at pollyanntrail.org.