Safety paths continue to expand in Bloomfield Township

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 6, 2024


BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — The proposed route for the 2025 Jan Roncelli Safety Path program in Bloomfield Township achieved unanimous approval from the Board of Trustees Jan. 22.

Bloomfield Township Director of Engineering and Environmental Services Corey Almas said his department recommended filling in the path along the north side of West Maple Road, on the south end of the township. Identified as “Route 25” in the 2008 safety path master plan, the route includes 3,500 linear feet of safety path that will connect to the existing path at West Surrey Road and extend westward to Franklin Road.

Township officials said the path will safely connect to side streets and provide pedestrians the ability to access the existing path on the south side of Franklin Road and the path along Telegraph Road.

“Staff did consider multiple other locations for construction, but Route 25 — or a portion of that — made the most sense for the next phase,” Almas said.

The project will cost an estimated $1.05 million — with $800,000 earmarked for construction and $250,000 for engineering. The 2025 route will be designed and sent for bid this year, with construction slated for 2025, according to township officials.

This year, crews will construct the 2024 path route —which includes the west side of Telegraph Road, from Humphrey Avenue to Orchard Lake Road, tying into the Clinton River Bike Trail — along with a few remaining 2023 safety path projects, including the west side of Lahser Road, from Quarton to Maple, and the east side of Franklin Road, from Kendry to Fremont Street. The remaining 2023-24 projects are slated to cost $2.6 million.

Trustees tabled a motion to consider lighting for what the township is calling the “paper road” portion of the 2024 path route, which will go through a wooded area that is a right-of-way for Desiax Avenue, due to concerns with light spillage. Almas said a “paper road” is an industry term used for an area of land within a right of way dedicated for a road, but the road was never constructed.

Three options were presented to the board: a downcast decorative lamp style, a bollard style and commercial lights.

The board narrowed the options down to either the decorative lamp or bollard style, and asked for photometric studies to show how far the light of each would shine before they make a selection. 

“Option three is just far too commercial, and it looks like it’s going to throw off a lot of light on top of it. I don’t find it attractive,” said Trustee Neal Barnett, who preferred the lantern look.

Although many trustees felt the decorative lantern lights were aesthetically pleasing, some had concerns they would be a light nuisance to the nearby neighbors or might look out of place on the small path.

“This is distinctly not going to be used as often as a main road, where people are traversing normally, so being that it’s such a covered, wooded area, (option one) might look completely out of place,” said Supervisor Dani Walsh. “It might look super fancy when you should have come in sweats.”

“If we were ever going to go with option one, it would have to be a downcast, something that shines down, not out,” agreed Trustee Stephanie Fakih, who noted she prefers the bollard style.

Almas said the downside to the bollard style is they really don’t cast light very far, so it would only light the path itself, and more units would be needed for illumination.

Officials estimated they would need around 15 decorative lantern lights, at an estimated cost of $167,355; or 33 bollard lights, at an estimated cost of $142,605.

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