Collins Road, from Orion Road to Buell Road, is one of four possible routes for new safety paths in Oakland Township. Photo taken on Collins Road, at Orion Road, in Oakland Township.

Collins Road, from Orion Road to Buell Road, is one of four possible routes for new safety paths in Oakland Township. Photo taken on Collins Road, at Orion Road, in Oakland Township.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Board approves safety path study for 4 new potential routes

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 22, 2023

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — New safety paths could soon be in the works in Oakland Township.

On Jan. 10, the Oakland Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a quote for a feasibility study for four new potential safety paths.

The four safety path routes — which are each 1-mile long — were identified as high priority routes by the Oakland Township Safety Path and Trails Committee, according to officials.

“The Safety Path and Trails Committee has been talking about our next, most appropriate, most desired and most feasible path, and we’ve narrowed it down to four different options we are looking at,” said Trustee Andy Zale, who also serves on the township’s Safety Path and Trails Committee. “We have a limited budget on the safety paths. We can’t just build everything that we want, so we’re strategic.”

The four potential routes include: Collins Road, from Orion Road to Buell Road; Snell Road, from Rochester Road to Stoney Creek Metropark; Sheldon Road, from Mead Road to Snell Road; and Rochester Road, from Snell to Mead.

PEA Group will prepare preliminary engineering plans for the four routes to determine if each pathway is feasible. The work will include a base map, a preliminary pathway layout, a preliminary engineering plan and a preliminary cost opinion.

“We’re asking PEA to look into those, so they are doing some high-level engineering estimates for us to see where we’re at, and then they will also give us a high-level plan view, so that if we need to speak with any residents along the path and get easements, we can get those with those plans,” Zale explained.

The feasibility studies for Collins Road, Snell Road and Rochester Road will each cost approximately $4,500; the study for Sheldon Road will cost around $3,000.

PEA Group will also craft a pathway maintenance schedule — at a cost of $2,500 — summarizing the monthly and annual tasks, as well as long-term tasks required for the maintenance of pathways and boardwalks. Officials said the maintenance schedule — which is intended to outline what tasks are necessary to maintain the safety and long-term durability of pathways and boardwalks — can also be used by the township to solicit fees for maintenance and to plan long-term capital expenditures for repair and replacement.

Board Treasurer John Giannangeli said he thinks the feasibility study is “a good idea.”

“Obviously, one of the things we are also going to be looking at is right-of-ways and easements, because if we have a number of people in that area that aren’t going to give us the right-of-way or easement, then we could take it off the board, so to speak.”

He said he also likes the idea of a pathways maintenance schedule.

“I’m looking forward to that. I think we need to understand that, and I think maybe actually start accruing that, when we do the budgets, as a line item,” he said.

Oakland Township Board of Trustees Supervisor Robin Buxar also voiced her support for the feasibility studies — noting that she was especially thrilled with the three potential safety paths on the township’s east side.

“I know I’ve been nudging (the committee), nicely, to look over on the east side and Collins Road, but I think these are all very necessary and needed pathways too, especially with what has recently happened,” said Buxar, referring to a hit-and-run crash on Rochester Road that killed 22-year-old Benjamin Kable, of Shelby Township, the morning of Jan. 1. “I think it is good to look at these.”

Police say Kable was on foot in the southbound lane of Rochester Road, south of Whims Lane, when he was struck by a woman driving a BMW 3 series sedan model heading southbound. Police identified the driver, Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 47, who they say reportedly flew to Thailand two days after she struck and killed Kable. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the FBI to return Howson to Michigan.

Township resident John Markle thanked the board for looking at Sheldon Road.

“Finally, after 20 years, with a school on it, with three schools within 2 miles of each other, we’re finally going to look at can we get a safety path down there,” Markle said.

Markle said a safety path is also much needed along Rochester Road.

“After what happened over on our side of the township, we do need to come up with some ways for people to get past. On my way home, I saw a young lady walking up the shoulder of Rochester Road with her backpack on. … It was a high school student. She was basically walking up Rochester Road. That is not a great place (to walk). Rochester Road is not a place where people drive the speed limit very often, especially during rush hour traffic,” he said.

For more information, visit oaklandtownship.org or call the township at (248) 651-4440.

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