Some fancy solar powered crosswalk signs (the “Enhancer”) with lights, flashing beacons, and a pleasant spoken instructions have recently been installed in Lyon Township where the Huron Valley Trail crosses both a newly constructed road as well as Grand River.
They’re expensive, obnoxious, and as far as we can tell, somewhat ineffective.
As for the obnoxiousness, here are the instructions.
“Hello. You’ve activated the crosswalk signal.
“Wait for traffic to stop before you cross.
“To show traffic you want to cross, place one foot near the curb line.
“And remember to thank the driver as you are crossing the roadway.”
Why are pedestrians and cyclists instructed to thank motorists just for following state and low crosswalk laws? Shouldn’t that be a basic expectation?
In this case, their ineffectiveness may stem from their poor location outside of the driver’s view. This is especially the case on Grand River. Once the trees leaf out, it’s uncertain how much of the sign will even be visible. With Grand River being rebuilt, Lyon Township and the Road Commission for Oakland County have an opportunity to make this crossing safe through bump outs, a refuge island, improved street lighting and zebra striping.
It should also be noted that these signs were installed on the wrong side of the trail. They should be on the right not the left. Their location is being changed.
If we’re not mistaken, these were installed in the fall. Already a driver has taken one out. It’s being replaced.
And finally, while testing them on Grand River, a van never slowed when the sign was activated and we were trying to cross. It appeared they were texting.
Maybe we should thank those drivers that aren’t driving while distracted, too.