Township plans to address Crawford Road safety following hit and run


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Crawford road, between Concourse and Bilbrael Drive, the site of an Oct. 31, 2015 lethal hit and run has minimal lighting and limited walking space.

Union Township is counting on participation from Central Michigan University administrators to address safety issues on Crawford Road.

After a hit and run on Nov. 1 killed Macomb freshman Ryan Tsatsos, members of the community have spoken to the township and university about safety measures that can be taken to prevent tragedies. Crawford Road is poorly lit, with no sidewalks and is lined by ditches.

Trustee Bryan Mielke requested pedestrian safety issues in that area be put on the township board's agenda for its Dec. 1 meeting.

"We need to have a formal discussion on Crawford Road safety," he said. "There are players outside of the township that have a big role in this. Because of the recent tragedy, it seems they now have an opening to address the issues."

Mielke was referring to CMU, which owns 3,500 of 4,100 square feet of land in that area. 

Trustees suggested seeking grants from the Michigan Department of Transportation. The board also plans to assess what can be done on Crawford, whether it be installing lighting or sidewalks. Supervisor Russ Alwood said his first step will be to meet with the township engineer to see what options are available. Alwood asked his management team to contact CMU administrators after the township's Nov. 11 meeting. No one on the board has reached out to CMU thus far. 

The board identified a plan of action, including a meeting with the engineer, discussing university partnership with President George Ross and bringing all involved parties to the table to address safety concerns.

Mielke said it would not be unreasonable for the concerns to be addressed in January, saying the board needs to reach out to CMU immediately. 

Norm Woerle, who serves on the township's planning commission, attended the meeting tonight. He said he sees a clear need for safety measures to be taken on Crawford.

"As a runner, sometimes you feel like you have your life in your own hands on that road," he said. "I see students crossing the street to go to the apartments (on Deerfield Road) and athletes jogging there." 

Woerle scheduled a meeting with Ross to see what input CMU may have on this plan, which is in preliminary stages. University partnerships on projects is nothing new; CMU recently partnered with the Mount Pleasant City Commission to install lighting on several streets north of campus. 

One concerned citizen, Alana D'Ambrosio-Berry, spoke at the Nov. 11 meeting, pleading with trustees to make Crawford Road more safe. Ambrosio-Berry is a resident of Bilbrael Street and saw the aftermath of the hit and run, which occurred near her home. She said she has tried to get in contact with CMU Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Barrie Wilkes, as well as Ross, but has not had much success. 

"I'm wondering as a citizen what I can do to lead this project," she said. "I've spoken to the family (of Tsatsos), and the parents are more than happy to go in front of any board about this. They were dismayed and sad to find out sidewalks were not in place." 

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About Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith is a super-senior at Central Michigan University. She comes from metro Detroit ...

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