Teen’s death prompts safety changes to Rochester Hills crosswalks

City, school district work to make crosswalks safer in the area

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich.Elisa Volcic was killed walking home from Stoney Creek High School when she was hit by a car. The driver was another student. It happened near Tienken Road and Clear Creek Drive.

Now, months after her death, the city of Rochester Hills is working to make crosswalks in that area safer.

Previously: Stoney Creek High School senior hit by car dies

“There’s something wrong with our roads and our crosswalks,” said Shannon Lazovski. “Let’s update them, let’s fix them, let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

In the fall, Lazovski’s son, a student at Stoney Creek High School, wanted to start walking to and from school instead of getting a ride. He used the same crosswalk Volcic was hit near.

“Since the accident, he’s absolutely not allowed to walk to or from school,” Lazovski said.

Lazovski and her son were present when the car crash happened, and were one of the first few people to help.

“We’re a little heightened in our emotions, if you will, but I want the same thing that everyone else wants: for my child to be safe, for the other children out there and other students to be safe,” Lazvoski said.

Over the last few months, the city, road commission, school district and school PTA have been figuring out ways to make crosswalks safer for students.

“We pulled all the data we had on traffic patterns and accidents over the last decade,” said Mayor Bryan Barnett.

Read: Incident involving high school student raises concerns about pedestrian safety on busy Rochester Hills road

As a result, last month, a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) was installed at a crosswalk on Sheldon Road between Hart Middle School and Stoney Creek High School. In a letter to parents, the PTA said that research shows RRFB’s reduced crashes by 47%.

A pedestrian presses a button before crossing, then lights flash to alert drivers to slow down and yield to anyone crossing.

The plan is for a RRFB to be installed at the Tienken Road crosswalk too. The mayor said it’ll be put up in the next couple of weeks depending on weather. LED lights were also approved for the Tienken Road crosswalk, but still need to be signed off by DTE Energy and could take about two months to install.

Mayor Barnett said the new signage costs about $30,000 each, plus the installation.

“It’s just what you have to do, you know in a situation like this, and so it was never really about money,” Barnett said. “It was about what makes sense in terms of trying to find a safer passage for students across a very busy route.”

He also mentioned that the work doesn’t stop there, as they are still working to do traffic studies and find more solutions.

Lazvoski is happy the city is taking action, especially so soon.

“Not many walkers are walking to school right now because of the temperatures and snow,” Lazvoski said. “We’ll have to see when the weather gets better. I’m not sure if it’s enough. There’s certainly so much more that can be considered, but I really do think these signs are a good start. They really are, and they’re much needed.”

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.