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City, schools, police teaming up to solve Freer Road crossing problem

(Publisher’s Note: Please note the accidents happened on Freer Road. The story has been updated to reflect the correct road name.)

Two students in two weeks have been hit by cars at the crosswalk on Fletcher  Freer Road near Washington Street in front of the Chelsea High School.

In both cases, according to information, well-meaning drivers waved the children across the road and they were hit. And although neither sustained life-threatening injuries, Superintendent of Schools Andy Ingall said Monday night that he’d spoken with Mayor Jason Lindauer, City Manager John Hanifan and Police Chief Ed Toth to discuss possible ways to improve the situation.

Ingall said Monday night at the School Board meeting that “the city is initiating a review of the timing of the lights,” with its traffic engineer MCI.

He said that pedestrians have 22 seconds to cross the road at the crosswalk, but officials will look at lighting in the area as well as the crossing signal.

“The city will be looking into additional pedestrian warning beacons for that crossing,” Hanifan said via email on Tuesday, adding, “Will also review the photometric plan to enhance lighting.”

Ingall said that there are three elements to involved in the situation — engineering, education and enforcement. The city is looking into the engineering, and that drivers and pedestrians should “obey the traffic signals and let them do their job.”

Hanifan agreed that education is a critical piece. “Drivers need to obey traffic rules and be further attentive and alert in and around schools and major pedestrian crossings.”

He said pedestrians need to cross at cross walks and obey the ‘Walk/Don’t Walk’ signs.

Also, there is a Safe Routes to Schools Kickoff meeting this week, and the city will be looking to partner with Chelsea Schools and the Wellness Foundation for this initiative.

This four-way intersection has traffic coming from four directions.

Ingall said the schools are reminding students, teachers, and bus drivers to obey the traffic light, and Chelsea Police have been on Washington and on Freer for enforcement of traffic laws and speeds in that area.

City officials are expected to get together again next week to assess the situation.


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14 thoughts on “City, schools, police teaming up to solve Freer Road crossing problem”

  1. I think you mean Freer, instead of Fletcher…I’ve lived here all my life and never knew that Fletcher EVER crossed Washington Street. But, then, there ARE a lot of new roads in town, ya never know.

  2. If cars actually went 25 instead of 45 on Freer, perhaps they could stop on time. Especially heading south, cars see the light as green down near Mayer Drive and then go flying over the small hill.

  3. My husband was present at the most recent incident assisting the high schooler that was hit. He COULD NOT stop the traffic–drivers IGNORED the fact that someone was crumpled on the road and others were standing in the middle of the road waving people to stop! One women who did finally stop said she had sped up to get through the yellow light! The marching band cart had just barely passed through the light–sometimes it doesn’t make it before the light changes. If she had come through at that time, there would have been another death. This is beyond ignorant or careless driving and heading into stupid driving.

  4. As a resident of N. Freer, I see ignorant, illegal, careless, and blatantly irresponsible driving every time I walk out my front door or look out my front window. 40-45 mph (and stop sign running at A D Mayer) is the norm at all hours of the day.

  5. Why isn’t the speed limit in school zones 20 mph and also marked with flashing lights when you enter the school zone. I’ve lived in several states and all of them have better signage and better cross walks in the school zones including a 20 mph speed limit in school zones during specific hours. Why does Michigan seem to be so behind the times on pedestrian safety issues. It seems accidents have to happen before they fix a common sense problem.

  6. The first child who was hit is my son. While a driver did wave him across, he was turning into the high school …my son had the cross light, as stated by my son and five witnesses. The issue wasn’t lighting in my son’s case, it was in the middle of the day. The volume of pedestrian, mainly our children, crossing that street is a large number. I know one person has already lost their life at this intersection.. Had my son not been as physically conditioned as he is, his injuries would have been much worse. This crosswalk should be elevated. Facts should be checked before an article is written. My son WILL NOT bear the blame for this accident.

    • Thank you so much for responding and as the story states: “In both cases, according to information, well-meaning drivers waved the children across the road and they were hit.”

  7. I would like to set the record straight and present you with the facts concerning the article “City, schools and police teaming up to solve Freer Road crossing problems”. The first student that was hit by a vehicle crossing Freer Road was my son. This accident occurred at approximately 4:00 in the afternoon on a clear day with no obstructions. He was crossing Freer Road in the cross walk and obeying the cross walk lights, as stated by my son and five other witnesses. A driver traveling north bound on Freer Road attempting to turn right into the high school waved my son in front of him before he made the turn into the school. My son proceeded to cross Freer Road in the cross walk with the crossing light pushing his bicycle, a south bound vehicle struck him before he made it across road. The driver of the vehicle stated “I didn’t see him”. How do you miss or not see a 6 foot tall 205 pound kid pushing his bicycle across the road at a school cross walk? The issue was not with my son he obeyed all the rules and laws, it was not an issue with lighting, weather conditions or obstructions. The issue in this accident was clearly the driver who struck him!!! There are way too many careless and irresponsible drivers on the road!!! One of the best ways to resolve this issue before someone else is struck there is to place an elevated cross walk over Freer Road.

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