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We just learned of this situation in Kalamazoo from our friends at the Citizens for A Safer Community in Allegan.  We apologize that the news is now a bit dated.  Regardless, it’s an excellent example of how effective grassroots organizing pays off.  The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition would like to recognize the impressive work by the Fletcher Street Light Committee to insure this intersection remains safe for ALL users.

In November, 2009, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reversed a decision it made in April, to remove a light at West Main Street and Fletcher Avenue in Kalamazoo Township, after neighborhood residents sought to keep the signal, citing safety concerns. The neighborhood has a “unique” situation in that four or five blind people use the light to cross West Main Street, a key factor in the decision to keep the light.  Residents circulated petitions, collecting about 500 signatures in support of retaining the signal after hearing about MDOT’s initial plans to remove it.

Mia Silver, MDOT’s American with Disabilities Act compliance coordinator,  said after speaking with Paul Ecklund, an advocate for the Disabled Network of Southwest Michigan at a public meeting on the issue, “it came to her attention that there may be some safety concerns that had not been considered by MDOT before making the decision to remove the light.”

Representative Robert Jones (D-Kalamazoo), was quoted in the Kalamazoo News, stating “that MDOT did not get public input before taking the light down and said while a good flow in traffic may be desirable for MDOT, pedestrians need a break in traffic.”  The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition believes this case to be yet another example of why the state of Michigan needs a comprehensive Complete Streets policy that insures ALL users are routinely accommodated in all phases of road projects.

Read more about this Complete Streets victory:

Complete Streets are designed and operated so they work for all users – pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Communities that adopt complete streets policies are asking transportation planners and engineers to consistently design and alter the right-of-way with all users in mind.

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