City seeks safety grant for Maire students

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 20, 2018

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Walking or biking to schools in the Grosse Pointes isn’t only encouraged, it’s necessary for some youngsters, because the Grosse Pointe Public School System doesn’t have buses to take students to class. That makes safety for young pedestrians and cyclists even more important around school campuses.

That’s why officials from Grosse Pointe City have been working with the Maire Elementary School Safe Routes to School Committee for the last two years on a plan that City Manager Pete Dame said would improve student safety and promote walking or biking to school. The committee includes officials and residents of Grosse Pointe City and Park, as well as representatives from Maire, Dame said. Maire Elementary School, located at 740 Cadieux Road in the Village, has students from the City and Park.

During a Feb. 12 City Council meeting, Dame said they’re planning on applying for a Michigan Department of Transportation grant from the Safe Routes to School program to cover the cost of a $100,000 project that includes “a whole assortment of improvements,” such as better signs and crosswalks around the block where Maire is located, along with the addition of an active speed limit awareness device on both sides of Cadieux and either side of Waterloo Street, where there’s an important school crossing. He said the school would also increase the number of bike racks, move the Cadieux sidewalk farther from the curb and educate students about biking or walking to school.

Dame said the City Council needed to approve a resolution to apply for the grant because the City needs to oversee the grant’s administration and serve as its fiduciary agent.

“We are the ones that formally have to apply,” Dame said, noting that the City has to complete the application by March 7.

The grant would cover all costs related to the project except for engineering, which is likely to cost $10,000 to $15,000, Dame said. He said the school system agreed to pay for half of the engineering costs, splitting those with the City.

Mayor Christopher Boettcher encouraged support for the proposal.

“I think we should adopt a resolution for Maire School,” he said.

The rest of the council agreed, voting unanimously in favor of the resolution.

“It’s a long time coming,” City Councilman Donald Parthum Jr. said.

If MDOT approves the grant, Dame said work would be undertaken in conjunction with Grosse Pointe Park’s planned resurfacing of Cadieux from Kercheval to Mack avenues in 2019. He said the Park’s road project includes Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk ramps and Cadieux crosswalk markings that had originally been proposed as part of the Safe Routes to School plan.