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Rochester Hills

December 21, 2012

Clinton River Trail gets grant for safety improvements

By Linda Shepard
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER HILLS — A grant from The UPS Foundation will aid bikers and hikers on the Clinton River Trail.

The $25,000 grant will enable the Friends of the Paint Creek Trail to install a high-intensity activated crosswalk signal — known as a HAWK beacon — where the Clinton River Trail crosses Orchard Lake Road in Sylvan Lake.

“It is the most dangerous crossing on the Clinton River Trail,” said Fred Phillips, president of the Friends of the Clinton River Trail.

The UPS Foundation is the charitable arm of United Parcel Service, and the grant will be used to help fulfill a local match for Tri-Party funding for the HAWK beacon, which has a total cost of $100,000.

“The Tri-Party funding is a combination of three sources,” Phillips said. “The Road Commission for Oakland County provides one-third, Oakland County provides one-third and the city of Sylvan Lake provides one-third. The city of Sylvan Lake does not have the money, but the Friends decided the safety crossing is a No. 1 priority.”

The local third of the funding will be provided by a combination of The UPS Foundation grant and donations. “The UPS grant is a significant portion of that,” Phillips said. “One of their key interests is safety in the community — UPS drivers are continually going across Orchard Lake Road. One of the members of the Friends group also happens to be a UPS employee and had them recognize the critical nature of the crossing to provide us the foundation grant.”

In 2011, The UPS Foundation distributed more than $45.3 million worldwide through grants to provide support for building stronger communities.

“The UPS Foundation is committed to funding impactful programs that make a meaningful difference in our communities — so we are proud to support Friends of the Clinton River Trail’s efforts to provide a safe crossing feature for all users,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation, in a statement.

The Clinton River Trail travels through the cities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Pontiac and Sylvan Lake. Friends of the Clinton River Trail is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to developing and improving the Clinton River Trail for all users.

The HAWK beacon is a visual indicator that requires drivers to come to a complete stop and is activated by a pedestrian trail user, Phillips said. “It is known as a beacon rather than a signal,” he said. “It extends out over the roadway and has yellow and red lights on it. If no one has activated it, it is dark. There is no green light. It is actually safer than a traditional traffic signal. We are very optimistic this will be a significant improvement, when crossing the trail.”

A pedestrian-activated HAWK beacon is currently under consideration for the Tienken and Livernois roundabout, scheduled for completion in 2013, state Rochester Hills officials.

Next, the Friends of the Clinton River Trail are examining a safety crossing at Dequindre Road, where the Clinton River Trail connects to the Macomb Orchard Trail. “It may receive another HAWK signal or a pedestrian safety island,” Phillips said.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Linda Shepard at lshepard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1065.