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 in which 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 in which 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


West Bloomfield Township woman raises concern about North Pontiac Trail

Walmart, Road Commission at odds over who’d pay for turn signal

By: Andy Kozlowski | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 30, 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 — Driving across a lane of oncoming traffic to make a left-hand turn on a two-way road can be a harrowing experience in areas of heavy traffic.

Such is the case for patrons of the Walmart Supercenter in Commerce Township as they attempt to leave in that direction on North Pontiac Trail, near Haggerty Road, according to a local woman.

Ilene Monast, of West Bloomfield Township, nearly lost her husband to the left turn in November 2018, when an oncoming vehicle slammed into the driver’s side of his Buick, totaling the vehicle but miraculously leaving the man in his 90s unscathed. It was a hit-and-run, with the other vehicle abandoning the scene, she said.

“He was hurt, but not as bad as he could’ve been. Just soreness — didn’t break anything,” Monast said of her husband. “He had gone to Walmart for the pharmacy. They called the police, and the police brought him. It’s just fortunate it wasn’t worse.”

Since then, she has tried in vain to persuade the powers that be to install a left-turn signal so that people can safely cross the road without the guesswork of identifying openings in traffic. Between Walmart and the Road Commission for Oakland County, however, she has found herself running in circles, with one side pointing to the other. Now she’s speaking up in hopes that people will share her concern and create change.

“I’m sure (my husband) isn’t the only one who’s been in an accident there,” Monast said. “He doesn’t want to go there anymore. To heck with the pharmacy; to heck with everything else. He just does not want to go there.”

A message left with Jessica Howell, a representative for Walmart, was not returned by press time.

Craig Bryson, the public information officer for the Road Commission for Oakland County, 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. “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.

However it happens, Monast said she just wants a signal there soon.

“It’s just a safety hazard trying to get out of Walmart safely. It’s very, very difficult,” Monast said. “I have so many people tell me, ‘As soon as you accomplish what you’re trying to do, let me know, since I don’t go there anymore either.’ I don’t think (officials) are taking me seriously. We just want to safely make a left turn.”

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