Another Accident Near Okemos HS Worries Parents Looking for Change

By: Jennifer Dowling Email
By: Jennifer Dowling Email

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."

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  • by Jean Location: Okemos on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:24 AM
    Forbidding a left turn might be a solution. I have just spoken with business owners across the street from the high school. Interestingly, many of them spoke of their own accidents on Jolly. One was a head-on collision. An employee of another business can no longer work after being rear ended in another accident. So, it affects more than just the students. Yes, there are many new drivers coming and leaving the hs,as would be expected. A lower speed limit would give more reaction time. A 45 mph speed limit in front of the high school is a definite part of the solution to reduce accidents. As far as enforcement - speeding tickets.
  • by S. Location: Okemos on Dec 9, 2009 at 08:51 PM
    What Okemos needs to do with the traffic surrounding the high school is forbid left turns onto Okemos Road from the front lot during morning & afternoon rushes to get to and from the school except by busses. The driving behaviors exibited by students in that lot whose entry is from Hullet road is poor. There is a lot of horseplay with the kids driving in the lot, (and unfortunately, by many parents picking up their children)and in the morning everyone is in a rush to make it to class ontime, and in the afternoon, to escape the lot. Parents can help by requiring their students to use the busses they are paying for unless a child needs to go to a job, etc. immediately after school.
  • by RL Location: Okemos/Haslett on Dec 8, 2009 at 12:34 PM
    Okemos Kids have a driving problem? Come on...8, 9 10, Go!
  • by Nick Location: Okemos on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:54 AM
    55 mph? Try 60-65 mph!! People just fly through here in the mornings, actually, all day long! Meridian Twp. Police sit in a driveway on Hulett - try sitting in the parking lot at the Honda dealership...that's where you're going to catch the speeders and aggressive drivers. I absolutely hate having to drive my kids to school every day....Also, if you are heading west on Jolly, east of Hulett...get the frick out of the right lane! Leave the lane open for people who have to go north on Hulett and drop off their kids!!!! You create a traffic jam, people don't pay attention and rear-end the car in front of them, causing a chain reaction. Let's all use some common sense..........
  • by nick Location: okemos on Dec 8, 2009 at 08:48 AM
    55 mph? Try 65 most days!! People aren't paying attention to traffic stopped or slowed up ahead and the next thing you know, chain reaction - exactly what happened yesterday. Rather than Meridian Twps. finest watching from a driveway on Hulett, try parking at the Honda dealership and watch these speeding morons!!!! Sitting on Hulett does nothing to deter speeders.
  • by T.K. Location: Okemos on Dec 8, 2009 at 08:29 AM
    You can change the speed all you want, but people simply are not obeying the posted speed. Look at Okemos Rd near Mt. Hope -- 30 mph in front the school and people travel average 40 mph. How about if the students exit onto Hulett instead?
  • by Sue Location: Jackson on Dec 8, 2009 at 07:42 AM
    I am not familiar with the area in question; but it has been my understanding that the speed limit is always reduced in a school zone. I think 55 miles per hour sounds excessive; especially knowing that during the school year there will be increased traffic in that area. If I had a child going there I would want the speed reduced in a school zone.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 8, 2009 at 06:50 AM
    Every school has problems with traffic at the beginning and ending of each school day. To improve the traffic jam in these areas, you have to discourage general traffic in the area. Making all cars exit right and and left hand turns across traffic would improve traffic flow.
  • by Dunkin on Dec 7, 2009 at 09:42 PM
    MTPD does saturate that general area. At least, I ALWAYS see them parked at the SE corner of Jolly and Okemos 'till the wee hours of the morn'. This report is a little light on details for this last accident. Perhaps closing the back entrance would help? Maybe if OPS officials and parents would recognize the stupidity of this incessant self-transport and restore proper bus service (or even to use it where it is available) we could improve safety at all the schools and cut traffic significantly. Nah, no money for buses, got to save it for the (shhh) renovations at Central Montessori School. Besides, there is no problem telling 1st and 2nd graders that they should cross Dobie at rush hour without crossing guards. I mean, it isn't that hilly and people only do 20 over the limit there, 25 tops. The level of myopia, stupidity and general self-serving behaviour demonstrated by OPS officials is making me start to think that all these privatization whack jobs might be right after all.
  • by Reality Check on Dec 7, 2009 at 05:17 PM
    I am very sorry that there have tragic accidents in the vicinity of Okemos High School however exactly what is the problem? Could it be the students, teachers and parents in a rush to get to school on time? I drive through that area most days on my way to and from work and can answer these question easily . . . look to the school crowd. Perhaps some enhanced driving education directed at the problem drivers in that area would solve the problem without inconveniencing everyone else. Maybe Meridian Township Police should saturate the area and issue citations for the speeding and unsafe driving. For once those causing the problem should accept responsibility for their unsafe driving and stop making excuses for their irresponsibility.
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