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Shelby Township

March 6, 2013

Township Board approves funds for pedestrian crossing connecting trails, counties

By Brad D. Bates and Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writers

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The Rochester City Council and the Shelby Township Board of Trustees approved funds to construct an improved pedestrian crossing on Dequindre Road, where the Clinton River Trail meets the Macomb Orchard Trail.

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A pedestrian crossing on Dequindre Road connecting the Clinton River and Macomb Orchard trails will be constructed this fall, thanks to a couple of grants and a cost-sharing agreement.

At its Feb. 19 meeting, the Shelby Township Board of Trustees voted to allow an amount not to exceed $20,000 to be used to help facilitate a pedestrian crossing over Dequindre Road, just south of 24 Mile Road, that connects the Clinton River Trail out of Rochester to the Macomb Orchard Trail in Shelby Township.

“This type of project is consistent with our Gov. Rick Snyder’s direction that communities join forces to cut costs at any opportunity,” township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said. “A project like this, joined by two communities, reduces overlap between each community for items such as engineering services.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently awarded the city of Rochester a $99,970 Transportation Alternative Program Grant for the project, which was also recently approved for $93,780 in funding through the Road Commission for Oakland County’s Tri-Party Road Improvement Program.

In recent years, the Tri-Party program has had an annual budget of $3 million, based on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ willingness to contribute $1 million. However, due to the poor economy, officials said, over the last several years, some communities have not been able to utilize their share of Tri-Party dollars because they could not provide the local share, resulting in the one-time surplus of $2.9 million in unused funds.

“Sometime back, we noticed — at the commission — that there were a lot of municipalities around the county that could not put their own share of funds toward a project, so therefore, the matching funds from the Road Commission were not being used. This resulted in a very large and growing fund balance. After some consideration, we decided that rather than just have this money sit there unused, we would open it up to other municipalities around the county who did have the resources and the ability to use the funds,” said Oakland County Commissioner Jeff Matis.

Under the Tri-Party Road Improvement Program — which is designed to improve county roads — the Oakland County general government, the Road Commission for Oakland County, and the community that applied for the funds are all required to pay one-third of an approved project.

City officials say the area, which is behind the Onyx Ice Arena, south of Parkdale Road, is dangerous for pedestrians.

“That is a difficult road to cross, so (the crossing) is needed for bikers and pedestrians,” Rochester Mayor Stuart Bikson explained.

According to estimates from Rochester, the total project is expected to cost more than $193,000, but thanks to both grants and Shelby Township agreeing to fund half of the local match portion of the project, the city of Rochester — and Shelby Township — will each pay $15,543. The crossing will be constructed this fall.

“The City of Rochester has spearheaded an effort to complete a safer at-grade crossing, which includes a safety island in the middle for slower pedestrians and bicycles to rest,” a letter from township engineer Fazal Khan to the Shelby Township Board of Trustees said. “The design is similar to many that have been implemented throughout Oakland County.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brad D. Bates at bbates@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1029.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.