BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – In the last 13 months, two people have died trying to cross Woodward Avenue at the Forest Avenue/Brown Street crosswalk. The City of Birmingham has sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asking for her intervention because it’s not satisfied with the pace that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is taking to study the issue.
Woodward Avenue is a state road, and the city cannot put up lighted signs or a pedestrian crosswalk signal because it’s not it’s jurisdiction to do so. City Commissioner Clinton Baller bought high visibility flags out of his own pocket and put them at the crosswalk for anybody to use trying to cross.
“It’s scary to cross if you’re a mom with a baby carriage or somebody with even a minor disability,” Baller said.
The crosswalk isn’t lighted. There is paint indicating it’s a crosswalk and a sign, but especially at night, most drivers have no idea there’s a crosswalk there.
“It’s the most unsafe place I’ve crossed in my life and I moved here to be able to walk to downtown,” said Joan Schloop.
One of the major complaints in the letter sent to Whitmer is that MDOT said it’s studying the issue but not offering up anything concrete.
Local 4 reached out to MDOT and spokeswoman Diane Cross said the agency is conducting a volume study but plans to put a lighted warning sign up within the next two months. Once all of the studies have been completed, it’s possible the state will install a pedestrian signal which would likely be completed in 2022.
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