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 After a testing period, the Pleasant Ridge City Commission voted to make two crosswalk signs at Ridge Road and Oakland Park Boulevard permanent.

After a testing period, the Pleasant Ridge City Commission voted to make two crosswalk signs at Ridge Road and Oakland Park Boulevard permanent.

Photo by Mike Koury

‘Stop for pedestrians’ signs become permanent on Ridge Road

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published October 16, 2018

PLEASANT RIDGE — After testing two “stop for pedestrians” signs at the crosswalks of Ridge Road and Oakland Park Boulevard for a number of weeks, the Pleasant Ridge City Commission voted to make the installations permanent.

Approved at the Oct. 9 meeting, the signs were installed to calm and slow traffic on Ridge Road. The temporary signs will be removed for the winter to allow for snow plowing, but they will be put back in place in the spring.

City Manager James Breuckman said the city did study whether or not stop signs could be added to Ridge Road and Oakland Park Boulevard.

“It didn’t meet the requirements that the state has to install a stop sign,” he said. “Given that, we decided we were going to test these signs out as a way to remind drivers that they’re supposed to stop for pedestrians on a crosswalk.

“The nice things about these signs is being in the middle of the street, it’s just something that’s in the roadway that tells drivers to pay attention, slow down, be aware of their surroundings a little bit.”

Pleasant Ridge officials also conducted an online survey to receive data from residents on what they think of the signs. They received 90 responses in total. 

According to city documents, 73 percent of respondents were in favor of making the signs permanent; 41 percent of respondents who crossed Ridge when a car was present reported that cars always stopped; 41 percent reported that cars stopped some, but not all, of the time; and 16 percent reported that cars did not stop for them. 

Breuckman said the survey was just one part of the package of information that the city was looking at to gauge public opinion of the signs.

“We also measured traffic speeds to see if there was any impact. Traffic speed was slightly lower with the signs out there, so that’s a positive,” he said. “The other part of it is just qualitative data. We had the signs out there and they didn’t get run over. So that tells us the locations for the signs were OK.”

Breuckman also said there was qualitative data showing that cars would stop for pedestrians at other crosswalks up and down Ridge Road. 

“That was a new behavior that we saw,” he said.

City Commissioner Bret Scott said the commission is pretty amazed at how the general behavior on Ridge has changed with a few pieces of signage and by changing the striping on the road. 

“By giving a more narrow impression of the road, and by allowing a space for bikers and for pedestrians to clearly see where things are marked, speed has dropped along the road, and it’s the sort of thing that’s really good for our town. We’re very much a walking community. Lots of people walk their pets and just take casual walks around town. And so anything we can do to improve the comfort of walking around town is something that we’re shooting for. And that’s true for other areas around town as well.”

Scott said other roads in the city that will be considered in the future for “stop for pedestrians” signs include Woodward Heights and the intersection between Woodward Avenue, Oakland Park and Sylvan Avenue.

“It’s right at City Hall, and the way that it’s laid out, it’s sort of on a diagonal,” he said of Woodward and Oakland Park. “It’s not exactly square, so getting across some of the roads is actually quite a distance, and the way people look as they’re turning in their cars is a bit of a challenge to see pedestrians. So we’re re-landscaping the intersection there to make it easier to get across.”