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Walker officials plan new roundabout

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WALKER, Mich. -- City leaders in Walker are searching for someone to help design a new roundabout at a busy intersection, but not everyone is happy about it.

For 50 years, Bob Stevens has owned Walker Barber Stylist Shop at the corner of Remembrance and Kinney Avenue, the same location the city is consdering the roundabout.

"Personally could be against it because I’m here, but when everyone I talk to is against it, to me it tells me something, is the city listening, is the city listening to the people?" Stevens said.

Stevens admits there were problems at the intersection years ago, but he says once Richmond Street was rerouted issues have been minimal.

"I’m not saying we didn’t have an accident, maybe rarely, not a severe one, the last people killed here was 1979, when it was the old style, that’s when it was the six orders," Stevens said.

Engineer Scott Conners says the city was given a safety grant from the state to explore that intersection because of a number of crashes in the area.

“When you look at pure fatalities, it’s not as many as you might think, we’re very fortunate with that," Conners said. "But we’ve had some serious accidents here, in fact the week we were awarded this grant, there was a t-bone accident there.”

That crash was in February and involved a car and a Rapid bus.

"It was a good example to us we need to take some action there," Conners said.

Although Conners admits they have seen more crashes at a new roundabout just down the street at Remembrance and Wilson, he says they haven't been as severe.

"There has been an increase an actual accidents, but what we’re seeing is fender benders and very minor accidents where everybody gets to go home at night," he said.

Stevens says the higher risk for crashes is reason enough not to build another.

"They keep saying people will get used to it, but I got people that will five miles away to avoid that round about, do I want that on my corner? Not really," he said. "A turn light would be all we need, they could address much more serious issues in the city than this."

Walker's city engineers say once they secure a consultant they'll do some additional preliminary designs and meet with nearby residents, businesses and schools.

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