GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of Grand Rapids residents are pushing for a new crosswalk that they think will make people safer, and they’ve written a letter to city commission in hopes their words reach the top.
Dozens of residents at River House Condominiums have signed the letter asking the city to add a mid-block pedestrian crosswalk on Bridge Street NW between the condos and Ah-Nab-Awen Park.
Some residents told 24 Hour News 8 that they’ve been pushing for the crosswalk for months and that a recent tragedy shows how badly it’s needed.
Last month, 8-year-old Nevaeh Alston died after being hit by a vehicle while crossing Bridge Street at night. Her family said she was crossing to feed the homeless at the park.
“I didn’t hear it or see it, but many of my neighbors who are signing the letter commented on hearing it and seeing it,” Meegan Joyce, who wrote the letter to the city, told 24 Hour News 8. “Seeing the aftermath, the doctors or medical personnel working on her. It was very traumatic.”
Joyce believes a crosswalk like the one outside DeVos Place Convention Center downtown could have prevented the girl’s death.
“I absolutely do,” Joyce said. “If we had those signs with the lights on them or even just the poles in the middle of the road with the crosswalk, people would pay attention.”
There are ways to get across the street in the area. There’s already a crosswalk at the end of the block at Scribner Avenue and a pathway under the Michigan/Bridge Street bridge to the park.
Joyce doesn’t think it’s enough.
“Until probably a week ago, that crosswalk that goes under the bridge was underwater,” she explained.
The letter will be received at Tuesday’s city commission meeting and then likely go to the desk of Josh Naramore, the director of Mobile GR, for further review.
“We always have to re-evaluate when a tragedy occurs,” Naramore told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone Tuesday.
Naramore said the city has been working on a new pedestrian safety program and is becoming more aggressive in its efforts to keep people safe.
However, he said more research is needed before officials decide if a new crosswalk is needed on Bridge Street.
”We also have to be mindful and look at all the facts in the case,” Naramore explained.
“In that Bridge Street area, you’ve seen a change over the last two years, let alone over the last five years. We need to be more proactive with the treatments that we have to maximize the individual and the pedestrian at the top of the pyramid and protecting their safety,” he added.
In the letter, residents also asked for a crosswalk on the other side of the bridge between the post office and DeVos Place. Naramore said the city is already working on improvements there.