New $2.1 million safety path slated for Telegraph, Square Lake, Franklin roads

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 7, 2021

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Pedestrians will soon have a much safer way to cross Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township.

The township plans to construct a safety path along Telegraph, Square Lake, and Franklin roads, with pedestrian crossings at east-west Telegraph Road at Square Lake Road, and mid-block crossing of Telegraph Road at Bataan Road.

Officials say the safety path route and pedestrian crossings included in the Telegraph-Square Lake connections project will link the east and west side of Bloomfield Township at one of its largest commercial areas and provide access to several Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation bus stops.

“I personally have tried to cross there at Telegraph and Square Lake, and it’s the worst kind of ‘Frogger’ you can imagine,” said Township Clerk Martin Brook.

Lia Michaels, of Hubbell, Roth & Clark, said the area was included in the township’s 2018 update to its safety path master plan.

“It was identified as an immediate need route, which came through stakeholders and some public comments from residents that identified the need for this area to be included in the safety path master plan,” she explained.

The new safety path will be 0.8 miles long and 6- to 8-feet wide, with a minimum of 2 feet between the edge of the road and the safety path.

“There are three crossings at existing signalized locations along Telegraph that will include some pedestrian upgrades to the signals. It will also include ADA ramps at the intersections and driveways,” Michaels explained.

Engineering and Environmental Services Director Olivia Olsztyn-Budry said the project was initially presented to the Board of Trustees in November 2019 as part of the annual review of safety path projects, and it was approved for design in 2020 and implementation in 2021.

The overall project is slated to cost just over $2.1 million, but last month, a $955,505 grant was awarded to the township through Transportation Alternative Program, or TAP, which funds projects that encourage people to use modes of travel other than a single passenger vehicle. Township safety path millage funds will be used for the remaining $1,181,409.

The request for the federally funded TAP grant — which the township has never used before — was made by the previous township administration.

“I think the TAP grant opportunity is great and it certainly makes a huge portion of our budget covered, which I think is wonderful,” said Trustee Valerie Murray.

While design engineering and right-of-way acquisition are not eligible uses for TAP grant funds, Michaels said the grant can be used for engineering and construction costs — but the township must go through the Michigan Department of Transportation bid process.

“There are federal funds through MDOT and SEMCOG through the TAP grant,” she explained. “These funds are used for the fiscal year 2022 — which for MDOT runs through Oct. 1, 2021-Sept. 30, 2022 — that just becomes important because the project needs to be bid in fiscal year 2022.”

The closest crossing of Telegraph Road to Square Lake Road is 0.6 miles south, at Hickory Grove Road.

“With public transit available there for lots of people to come there to work, it’s a necessary expenditure, as much as it is. It’s going to make a big difference for a lot of people,” Brook said.

For more information, call Bloomfield Township at (248) 594-2800 or visit www.bloomfieldtwp.org.

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