December 11, 2013 Edition
Equestrian Crossing Becomes Reality After $25,000 Donation
BY ALI ARMSTRONG
EDITOR, SPINAL COLUMN
Various Oakand County Officials and Representative of the RCOC announced that the Milford Road Crossing for trail users will be installed next spring.
Nobody was more relieved than Jeanie Kelleher to hear that the installation of an equestrian crossing at Milford Road at the East Huron River Parkway intersection will begin next spring.
“I am one of many that have had a bad experience at that crossing. The light is so short, when the light turns green you have just a second to get across,” Kelleher said. “It’s one of the worst problems.”
About eight years ago Kelleher was crossing the intersection at the Kensington Metropark Trail Connector when a car came within inches of hitting her and her horse.
“We started walking across and a car came barreling down and missed us by two inches,” she said. “It went off the road, did a donut and drove off.”
After her experience, Kelleher was determined to make a change.
“The day that we were almost killed … I vowed that I would not rest until it was fixed,” she said.
Kelleher took the issue to then president of the Kensington Trail Riders Association, Bill Terian. Together, they brought the issue before Milford Township officials and the Road Commission of Oakland County (RCOC.)
“We were messengers,” she said. “We got people alerted to the situation. We went everywhere trying to get people to listen to us.”
“We tried to get the RCOC to help us with funding, but at the time we couldn’t,” she said. “They couldn’t at the time, but they were working behind the scenes and were instrumental in getting this grant from Sunoco.”
Nearly eight years later, Kelleher’s wish came true.
After several donations from the community, and a significant $25,000 from Sunoco Logistics, construction on the Americans With Disabilities (ADA) compliant equestrian crossing will begin at the intersection next spring.
Joseph McGinn, senior manager for public affairs for Sunoco Logistics, presented a check for $25,000 to officials from Oakland County, RCOC, Milford Township and the Hu- ron-Clinton Metroparks on Tuesday, December 3.
Along with Sunoco’s contribution, Milford Township will contribute $5,000, the Metroparks will contribute $17,000 and West Bay Exploration Company will contribute $3,000. In addition, RCOC is contributing the project design and construction inspection services, valued at approximately $12,000. The total project cost is estimated at $62,000.
“The crossing is certainly needed by equestrians, but also by the individuals who are using the recreational trails, such as hikers and bicyclists,” RCOC Vice Chairman Ron Fowkes said. “There are 25 to 30,000 cars crossing Milford Road each day. It’s tough for anybody to cross the road and this will make a big difference. It was definitely a worthwhile project.”
The crosswalk will be built to ADA standards and will have two push buttons, one at a higher post for equestrians and another at a lower post for pedestrians. With a higher push button, riders will not have to dismount from their horses to activate the crossing.
Currently, the timing of the light at the intersection allows for northbound traffic to proceed while southbound traffic is stopped, allowing vehicles leaving the park to turn right. It also gives the right-of-way for northbound vehicles turning into the metropark.
“This will serve as a bike path, pedestrian path and equestrian path,” Don Green, Milford Township supervisor, said. “Without this donation it wouldn’t have happened this soon. We are very appreciative of Sunoco coming forward and helping us out with this.”