Plans for improving crossing safety for Plymouth Road will be complete by this summer, said officials in charge of the construction project. The plans have been in the works since two University students were killed while crossing the street more than a year ago.
A new traffic signal is scheduled for the intersection of Traverwood Drive and Plymouth Road and will probably be completed by mid-April, said Homayoon Pirooz, a project engineer who is assisting the construction of the intersection. Materials are expected to arrive soon, and then construction workers will begin putting everything together.
“The light will have a push-button to buy time for pedestrians to get across the street,” he added.
Construction on medians, or “pedestrian refuge islands,” will begin in the summer, Pirooz said.
The estimated five medians are intended to give walkers a place to stand when crossing the street. Because they are raised, they will keep people out of the way of traffic, Pirooz said. They will range between 100 and 800 feet in length and will be covered with grass, making the street look like a boulevard, Pirooz said. The space they will take up on the five-lane road was previously used for left-turn lanes.
“We really hope to see people use marked crossing points,” Pirooz said. “But if not, the raised medians are also be there.”
The entire project will cost between $250,000 and $300,000, Pirooz said. Up to this point, $70,000 has been spent. The traffic light will cost about $100,000.
Already, two designated crosswalks have been created on Plymouth between Nixon Road and Murfin Avenue. The crossings have illuminated signs and additional lights that span over the road, allowing drivers to better see people crossing the road.
In addition, the speed limit has been reduced from 40 to 35 miles per hour. Pirooz said he hopes people will notice the new limit and obey it.
“It doesn’t mean pedestrians don’t have to watch for cars or cars don’t have to watch for pedestrians,” said Pirooz.
Teh Nannie Roshema Roslan and Norhananim Zainol were killed by a vehicle while crossing Plymouth on their way home from attending an evening prayer at the Islamic Center of Ann Arbor, prompting the Ann Arbor City Council to consider improving the crossing safety of Plymouth Road. It was initially uncertain whether City Council would approve the construction, but it approved the stoplight and medians in early 2004.
“There are some folks who wanted the stoplight right in front of the mosque where the students were killed,” said Councilman Leigh Greden (D-Ward 3). “Others thought the intersection of Traverwood and Plymouth was more appropriate.”
Greden said he was among those who thought putting the light in front of the mosque would be illogical because it is private property and there is no intersection there. He added that there were already plans to put a stoplight at Traverwood and Plymouth.