Police step up patrols at Putnam and Grand River

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By Gabrielle Burbary
The Williamston Post

Hailee Oakley, 20, stands in front of busy Putnam and Grand River intersection.

Hailee Oakley, 20, stands in front of busy Putnam and Grand River intersection.


Williamston police have stated that they are  patrolling the Putnam and Grand River intersection more carefully to ensure drivers are yielding to pedestrians.

“It’s a dangerous intersection because there is no visibility due to the fact Grand River curves there,” said Police Chief Bob Young.

The chief said that there was no specific incident of a pedestrian being hit that led to the call for stepped-up enforcement.

Young said focus elsewhere can be a cause of driver distraction.

“People are making a right turn on red and they are paying so much attention to traffic and the curve of Grand River that they pay little or no attention to the crosswalk walking,” Young said. “I have almost been hit out there in full uniform before.”

The chief did not note any specific citations connected with the increased patrols, saying his primary concern was to educate drivers.

“We have to remind people,” said Young. “On occasions we take enforcement and stop people, but we would really rather educate people.”

Young said the best way for drivers to improve is to remind themselves of the pedestrians when they are driving through this intersection.

City Clerk Holly Thompson also said it is important for drivers to be aware of what is going on in front of them.

“I think a lot of people are multi-tasking in their cars and vehicles,” said Thompson.

Thompson said drivers need to recognize that there are people crossing the crosswalk and that there is one in every direction of the intersection.

Williamston local citizen and pedestrian Hailee Oakley said she believes there is a danger when crossing the road as well.

“This intersection is dangerous because drivers don’t pay attention,” said Oakley.

Oakley said that drivers expect you to stop walking, although you may have the right of way.

“They take it for granted that you will just stop for them,” said Oakley.

As much as pedestrians are in danger, local businesses such as Aurora’s Closet located on the corner of this intersection could be facing the same risks.

“I’m worried that one day a car might just come right through the front of our store,” said Jennifer Normandin, one of the owners of Aurora’s Closet.

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