Vice mayor raises common concern regarding pedestrian street signage


Mayor Will Joseph and Vice Mayor Lori Gillis look over agenda items at the Mount Pleasant City Commission Meeting March 25 at City Hall.

Vice Mayor Lori Gillis was driving on East Broadway Street in downtown Mount Pleasant when she noticed a neon-yellow pedestrian sign knocked over in front of Gray’s Furniture. 

She proceeded to pull over, exit her vehicle and return the sign to its original upright position. 

Gillis voiced her concern regarding pedestrian signage at a Mount Pleasant City Commission Meeting on April 8 at City Hall, where the purchase of road salt and the approval of an outdoor dining license were also discussed. 

Gillis said pedestrian signs being carried off the road or knocked over is a common complaint among downtown store owners. The signs are easily moved since they are not weighed down or installed permanently by cement. 

Downtown store owner Richard Swindlehurst described the frequent occurrence as a “royal pain,” making it difficult to turn left onto Broadway Street. 

“I have to admit that I have hit it once, had to get out and put it back in place,” Swindlehurst said.  

Swindlehurst suggested Mount Pleasant install a pedestrian sign on either side of the street rather than have one placed at the center. Gillis proposed a revaluation of the purpose and placement of pedestrian signs and suggested using an alternative way of making drivers aware of pedestrians crossing the street. 

“This signage in the middle of the street has become more of a traffic hazard than a benefit to pedestrian safety," Gillis said.

At the meeting, Mount Pleasant City Commission unanimously approved an outdoor dining license from the Brass Café. Although the café is officially located on Main Street, City Manager Nancy Ridley said the patio will be located on West Michigan Street near the bump-out area and will utilize one parking space. 

Commissioner Tony Kulick said sidewalk patios add to the vibrancy of downtown and believes loss of one parking space will not be the “collapse” of downtown Mount Pleasant. Swindlehurst, owner of the Brass Café, believes further patio spaces will continue to provide Mount Pleasant with unique experiences and views. 

In preparation for next winter, city commission unanimously confirmed the purchase of 500 tons of back-up road salt at $75 per ton and committed to the purchase of salt for the 2019 through 2020 winter season. Mount Pleasant took advantage of the State of Michigan’s MiDeal Extended Purchasing Program for road salt. The program allows local governments to use state contracts to buy goods and services. 

The city is looking to purchase almost 800 tons of salt for the upcoming winter season. Ridley said it will be the first time in five years the city must receive a delivery of salt in the Fall. This is due to the city’s inventory running low after a harsh winter season. 

Ridley said the city could potentially purchase an additional 500 tons in 2020.