BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
A new safety path will soon be installed in Independence Township.
At the Dec. 17 regular meeting of the township Board, a 1,600-foot-long safety path was unanimously approved for the east side of Clarkston Road, connecting existing pathways at Clintonville Road and Greenview Drive.
The Safety Path Committee scored it high on its priority matrix, mostly completing a safety path route from Andersonville Road at the township’s southern border to its border with Orion Township.
“Talking with the safety committee, they voted, and they wanted to get a scoping project done to see how much this project would cost,” said DPW Director David McKee. “That came in right around half a million dollars for this project. The committee voted and wanted to go and move forward with this project.”
This project has been budgeted by the DPW for 2020.
McKee noted the proposed path is “a piece that’s missing.” As soon as bids come in for the project, he will present it to the board for formal approval.
Nowak and Fraus, an engineering firm in Pontiac, will prepare construction bid documents and assist the township with the bidding process. Bid documents should be ready for publication by late March. Final approval of the project and construction phase should be brought before the board sometime in late April.
“This is going to create a safe pathway along the curve on Clarkston Road where (Township Supervisor Pat Kittle) and I walked out a couple times, and it’s challenging,” McKee said. “This will be a great project to give our citizens a safe pathway and create a nice pathway all the way to Andersonville and to the parks. This is a good project.”
It will include a pedestrian crossing at Greenview.
They checked with the Road Commission for Oakland County to make sure site distances were OK, McKee said.
“We looked at different options to cross west on Clarkston Road then cross and come all the way back up on the other side of the road,” he said. “One of the things they’ll do in the design process is make sure there’ll be some signage, to let people know there is a pedestrian crossing.”
Kittle asked McKee if there is any opportunity for grants for this project.
“Yeah, we did look at that,” McKee said. “We talked to the engineering firm about that and the problem with grants, in this instance, is their standard widths are 10 feet for a safety path. Now we could build one that’s 10 feet wide, but there’s not connected easements, you just don’t have the clearance. We’re still going to look into that because there’s other grants out there.”
Kittle is hoping a traffic calming device will alert drivers to the upcoming pathway and crossing.
“If they have some advanced flashers so a pedestrian hits a button so that the cars know to slow down, that would be great if you could pull it off,” he said.
“We’ll definitely make sure it’s safe to cross,” added McKee. “We got everything that we can put in there to make sure that it’s safe and cars are notified that there is a pedestrian crossing coming up.”