Questions raised after man hit at Cascade Road crossing

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CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s supposed to offer an alternative to a more dangerous crossing on a busy Kent County roadway, but some are questioning the safety of that Cascade Road crossing after a man using it was struck by a Forest Hills Public School bus Monday.

Milford Butler, 76, was injured in the crash, which occurred just after 8:00 am.

Alix Bohn was working behind the counter at the Citgo gas station near the crosswalk Monday morning.

“Somebody came running in here and told us to call 911. And said some man just got hit by the school bus,” Bohn said. “And then I looked over and I could see him lying on the ground.”

Deputies are still sorting out the details, but early reports indicate Butler was caught by the bus’ mirror while crossing at the crosswalk.

Bohn and others who work near the crosswalk, halfway between 28th and old 28th streets, were not surprised it happened.

“When I drive past there I forget that there is even a crosswalk up there until I see people standing there,” Bohn said.

Then there is the law. Drivers are expected to yield the right of way to pedestrians, but even that depends on where the pedestrians are in the crosswalk.

Deputies have not made a determination if the bus driver was at fault.

What about the location of the Cascade Road crossing, which was part of a wider plan to improve the roadway?

“The idea was to try to make our village area a little more pedestrian friendly,” Cascade Township Manager Ben Swayze said.

Township officials hoped the crosswalk, part of a renovation of Cascade Road through the village completed last fall would provide a safer crossing for pedestrians who used to take their chances at old 28th Street where there is no crosswalk.

Boulevard dividers and other features were added in hopes of sending a sort of psychological message to driver to slow down and look for pedestrians.

Bohn says, in her opinion, more needs to be done.

“Definitely setting up a little bit better with a better sign of something to advertise hey, there is a crosswalk here,” Bohn said.

Township officials are not jumping to any conclusions until they get details on exactly what led to the crash. But they are not ruling out changes either.

“Whenever we have an incident like this, especially with a vehicle, pedestrian incident, we always try to take a step back and look to see if there is anything we can do to improve the situation,” Swayze said.

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