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Mayor visits SGA, asks for input on sidewalks and lights on Crawford Road

Mayor Kathy Ling addresses the audience about student voting and making it easier for students to get to the poles for election day Oct. 3 at the UC Auditorium.

November 1 marks one year since Macomb freshman Ryan Tsatsos was killed in a hit and run while walking along Crawford Road.

The driver is still at large.

After his death, adding a sidewalk and lights along the road was discussed by city officials.

To include student opinions, Mount Pleasant Mayor Kathleen Ling presented the idea to members of the Student Government Association during their general board meeting on Monday.

“Crawford is very dark. What is the best way to address this problem?” she asked.

She explained two options that would provide a lit walkway for students coming from the apartments along Deerfield Road.

Option One

One option is to put a sidewalk and streetlights along the length of Crawford Road, which would start across from The Cabin and end at the intersection of Crawford and Deerfield roads.

This is how Tsatsos likely planned to get back to campus the night of his death.

The road is well-traveled because the intramural fields, The Cabin and apartment complexes are on that road.

Ling said the downside is the project would be “very expensive.”

She couldn’t quote exact dollar figures, but Ling said it is possible that a sidewalk would be the only thing the city puts in along Crawford Road. Adding lights depends on how much they raise through local funding, state and federal grants.

Option Two

The other option is to add sidewalk and lighting to an existing pathway that is already lit and follows a couple of roads directly to Towers.

The road curves along West Campus Drive and Denison Road, with fields on either side and never crosses an intersection. Runners and walkers have been known to use the lit area.

The issue with this path is it does not go all the way to Deerfield. It stops one street short, ending at the intersection of Denison and Crawford roads.

The current walkway’s sidewalk and street lamps stop midway through the path to campus, resuming again around 100 yards ahead.

The second city proposition would add lighting and sidewalk to the shorter stretch of Crawford Road.

Mount Pleasant sophomore Courtney Wheeler thinks adding a sidewalk and lights to Crawford Road is the right thing to do, regardless of cost.

“I don’t feel like it matters how much money it is,” Wheeler said. “Somebody already died. There is no price you can put on someone’s life.”

With an addition of the sidewalk and lights along Crawford Road, Wheeler said it could help to encourage students to not drink and drive. Due to the road’s close proximity to The Cabin, she said students might not want to risk walking home in the dark despite potentially being drunk.

Not everyone shares the same belief. Two roommates who live in an apartment along Deerfield Road said they think paving the shorter amount is better.

Hannah TerMarsch, a junior from Troy, said she believes drunk people sometimes ignore sidewalks without streetlights.

“It wouldn’t make sense if they did the more expensive (project) because they may not be able to finish it,” TerMarsch said. “Then it would be a sidewalk without streetlights and that kind of defeats the purpose.”

TerMarsch’s roommate, Clio junior Kayla Hatt, said the curving path is more convenient for her as a resident on Deerfield Road.

“If I wanted to take the other one (Crawford) to campus I would have to walk all the way to the Cabin,” she said.