Cars and trucks fly past Okemos High School at 55 miles per hour. The area has been the site of a number of accidents, including a fatal accident involving 17-year-old Adam Nevells in September. The Chair of the Okemos High School Traffic Safety Committee Lynne Page says, "After September's tragic fatal accident there was a lot of community concern and willingness among all the elements of the community to work together to make it safer for all of us."
Another accident occurred Monday morning at about 7:45 am near the school. Meridian Township Police Lt. Al Spencer says students were involved in that minor collision on Jolly, just east of Hulett Road. That's one reason Page says she and others are hoping that a speed study surrounding the school is analyzed a little faster.
Ingham County Road Commission Managing Director Bill Conklin says, " We conducted a speed study on Jolly Road between Hagadorn and Hulett Roads in front of Okemos High School. That speed study was completed and given to the state police."
Page says there are different options for lowering speeds near the school. She says the first is to establish a school speed zone which would lower limits while school is in session. The other would make the area a minimum of about 45 miles per hour permanently. Page says, "Permanently lower the speed limits on the roads adjacent to our schools like Jolly, Hulett, Okemos Road in the vicinity of our schools."
Conklin says the speed study indicated that people were traveling on average at 52-53 miles per hour near the school. He says the road commission, Michigan State Police, Meridian Township and Aleidon Township must make a decision together if they want to lower the limit from 55 miles per hour. He says, "If based on viewing the data, those agencies jointly decide, unanimously decide to change the speed limit, it will change."
Meanwhile, Page hopes the groups come to a decision quickly because she feels the accidents will only continue and could increase in the future. She says, "I believe that the volume of traffic is always going to increase. We have a lot of new construction and we know our schools are facing a lot of financial hardship and there has been some discussion of eliminating transportation to our schools, particularly to the high school. I think if that occurs, there will be a larger amount of traffic at a small interval of time and I think it would serve to increase accidents and put our kids and our community at risk."