The exit from the Walmart Supercenter onto North Pontiac Trail, near Walnut Lake and Haggerty roads in Commerce Township, was the site of a 2018 car crash where a senior citizen’s vehicle was totaled. The man’s wife has been contacting county and store officials, pushing for a left-turn signal at the intersection.

The exit from the Walmart Supercenter onto North Pontiac Trail, near Walnut Lake and Haggerty roads in Commerce Township, was the site of a 2018 car crash where a senior citizen’s vehicle was totaled. The man’s wife has been contacting county and store officials, pushing for a left-turn signal at the intersection.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Locals share thoughts on risky exit at Commerce Township Walmart Supercenter

By: Andy Kozlowski | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 13, 2020

 Drivers must dart across oncoming traffic at the intersection.

Drivers must dart across oncoming traffic at the intersection.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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COMMERCE TOWNSHIP — The Walmart Supercenter on North Pontiac Trail in Commerce Township allows for a left turn out of one of its exits, but with no signal to stop traffic, drivers have to identify openings on the heavily trafficked road and then dash across. Alternatively, people can take a right-turn detour through a traffic circle, but for many drivers those features bring their own share of stress.

Recently, the West Bloomfield Beacon featured the story of Ilene Monast, a resident of neighboring West Bloomfield Township whose husband — a man in his 90s — got into a major car crash making a left turn out of the plaza. His Buick was struck on the driver’s side, totaling the vehicle but miraculously leaving him unscathed. That was in late 2018. Since then, Monast has been on a crusade to get a turn signal added there. Now others are adding their voice to the chorus.

Carol Kravetz, of West Bloomfield, said the exit out of the Walmart has long been a concern.

“My friends and I take that death trap frequently to Walmart, and we have commented often about the need for a light there so that people can turn left out of the Walmart parking,” Kravetz said. “I hope that something can be resolved. It’s a take-your-life-in-your-hands situation. If they want to build a superstore, then they should build a super way to get in and out, too.”

Marsha Moss, of West Bloomfield, said that she agrees completely with Monast.

“Walmart’s parking lot is extremely dangerous exiting,” Moss said, noting the limited exits. “Traffic is heavy and very fast. I shopped there twice and will not go back since it is dangerous. … The area is very high traffic and definitely warrants traffic lights. Walmart should be more concerned for the people that support their business.”

Readers also weighed in on the Facebook account for C & G Newspapers.

“Probably one of the scariest, if not most dangerous intersections in Oakland County,” said a commenter with the account name Mark Whelan.

A commenter by the account name Lisa Biddinger Hysni suggested a boycott.

“One easy fix is for those who do (shop there) to simply stop,” Hysni said. “Then maybe Walmart will get the message.”

The exit onto North Pontiac Road is “terrible” and “dangerous,” according to a commenter by the handle Mag Risdon.

“It needs to be addressed,” Risdon said.

Others, such as a commenter by the handle Monique Giannetti and another by the handle Mirage Miraj D’Ave, suggested simply taking a right-turn detour to the traffic circle.

One commenter by the handle Dave Holowchak said he opposes more signals on that road since he feels the traffic is already backed up enough and will get more congested with the new shopping development.

“It already lines up for a mile,” Holowchak said. “It’s only going to get worse.”

The West Bloomfield Beacon left another message with Jessica Howell, a rep for Walmart, asking for the company’s view of the situation, but the call was not returned by press time.

Craig Bryson, the public information officer for the Road Commission of Oakland County, previously said that attempts have been made to install a turn signal at the Walmart Supercenter.

“We’ve been talking to Walmart for years, literally, about the signal. They had initially agreed to pay for the signal, and we even worked out a deal since that entrance lines up with where Walnut Lake Road intersects Pontiac Trail. So in this case, the signal would actually serve the Walnut and Pontiac Trail intersection, as well,” Bryson said previously. “So we told Walmart we’d pay for three-quarters of the maintenance and they would pay for one-quarter, since it’s a four-legged intersection, and one leg is the Walmart entrance while the other three are Road Commission roads.

“But they have refused that agreement,” Bryson continued. “For years they’ve tried to impose other restrictions. They were OK with paying for the signal itself, which we required, but they had requirements we did not agree to, such as them owning the traffic signal poles that we want to own so that we can replace them and maintain them. So it’s not gone anywhere.”

He said that one encouraging possibility is the planned development of the Fifth and Main shopping center to the west, at M-5 and Pontiac Trail, a major development for Commerce Township.

“There’s discussions going on that may result in one of the entrances or exits to that big new development using the same entrance point that Walmart uses, so they would tie that into the existing access point, and that development may pay for the signal there or at least share the cost,” Bryson said previously.

David Scott, the supervisor of Commerce Township, said in an email that he feels the issue will ultimately be solved in collaborative fashion by a variety of stakeholders.

“We know the region is active, and 65,000 cars traverse M-5 daily. Many also cross that path in front of the Walmart,” Scott said. “I anticipate this will evolve into a partnership of Walmart along with Fifth and Main (and) the new Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union sharing in the cost and benefits of a light being installed.

“We know that recent traffic studies show a light will assist in the traffic flow,” he said. “We also know that lights often are the safety mechanism that allow drivers access into the flow of traffic, especially our youth and elderly drivers. I have a grandson in driver’s training currently.

“I look forward to hearing from the management team at Walmart to see what level of participation they can contribute to the project,” he said.

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