Sylvan votes to set up trail crossing with HAWK system

By: Eric Czarnik | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 26, 2012

SYLVAN LAKE — A HAWK will soon descend on Orchard Lake Road at a Clinton River Trail crossing that users have long sought and requested.

The Sylvan Lake City Council voted 4-0 Nov. 14 to make an agreement with the Road Commission for Oakland County to establish a HAWK system that can help Clinton River Trail users cross Orchard Lake Road safety. Councilwoman Sharon Maurina was absent for the vote.

HAWK stands for high-intensity activated crosswalk. It briefly stops traffic with a pedestrian-activated button and uses blinking lights and other signals to alert everyone.

According to the motion, the project’s maximum cost is $100,000, and the city would use Tri-Party funds so that it is only responsible for one-third of the cost.

The motion was also contingent on confirming the suitability of a $25,000 UPS grant and supplemental funding from the Friends of the Clinton River Trail.

Sylvan Lake resident Pete Peters was happy with the breakthrough and called it “something that was definitely needed.”

“A lot of people pooled their talent and their involvement to finally make something happen,” he said. “If we don’t fix it, we would’ve had someone get hurt or killed at that crossing.”

According to City Manager John Martin, the proposed crossing would exist between the Mobil and Valero gas stations on Orchard Lake Road. Officials said the challenge was to find a crossing solution that is both safe and cost-effective.

Martin said initial cost estimates for a crossing with pedestrian island rolled in at about $125,000-$155,000. The additional need for overhead signs and a streetlight could’ve bumped up the final price tag to around $190,000, he said.

However, Martin said he learned from talks with officials that the HAWK system would be a more cost-effective option. One is already installed at the Maple and Drake roundabout in West Bloomfield.

Martin said a HAWK crossing would cost about $100,000 total. Should the city use Tri-Party Funding for the program, Sylvan Lake would only be responsible for paying around $34,000 of the total cost.

In prior discussions of the issue, the Friends of the Clinton River Trail said they would help fund the project, and they had also received a $25,000 UPS grant for an island crossing.

Should UPS agree to contribute the same amount for the HAWK system, the entire cost of the installation should be covered, except for $1,000-$2,000 of expected annual maintenance costs, Martin said.

Mayor Aron Lorenz said the city’s decision not to be hasty on a deal ended up paying off in the long run.

“Had we approved that project … and we approved the island going across the Orchard Lake Road, it wouldn’t have cost the city $10,000. It would’ve cost the city in excess of $52,000,” he said. “We probably saved the residents of Sylvan Lake $40,000 at least, and I think we have a better solution.”

Learn more about Sylvan Lake at or call (248) 682-1440. Learn more about the Friends of the Clinton River Trail at