Intersection Safety Improvements

  • Project typeInfrastructure
  • Project value$416,526
  • Project scheduleSummer 2022
  • Completion DateOctober 30, 2022
A traffic signal with a backplate on a mast arm

New safety measures will be installed at intersections throughout the city with support from a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The funding will help add audible pedestrian speakers and improve crosswalk markings at 40 signalized intersections and install backplates and span wire tethers at 44 intersections.

The grant funding is provided through the Highway Safety Improvement program and covers 90% of the $416,526 total cost of both projects.

“Every project is an opportunity to implement Kalamazoo’s Complete Streets policy and make changes that improve safety, accessibility, and equity in our local transportation network,” explained Anthony Ladd, Public Works Division Manager for the City of Kalamazoo. “With this grant funding we can extend some of these really significant safety and accessibility improvements beyond where we have larger scale construction happening this year.”

Backplates improve visibility of the illuminated face of the signal by adding a controlled-contrast background and a reflective border. Signals with backplates equipped are more visible during both daytime and nighttime driving. Studies have found that installing signal backplates can reduce crashes by 15%. 

Tether wires will also be installed at these intersections. Tethers connect to the bottom of the signal head to maintain proper alignment with the street and prevent movement due to wind.

At 40 intersections that currently have visual pedestrian signals only, audible pedestrian speakers will be added. Audible pedestrian signals provide the same information indicated by the visual signals and make crossing safer for all users, especially those who are blind or visually impaired. Research shows that pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired begin crossing sooner after the walk signal change when an audible signal is present, providing more time to cross the street.

“Audible signals were not as widely used when many of our pedestrian signals were originally installed,” Ladd continued, “so we are taking this opportunity to ‘retrofit’ 40 signals that are visual-only right now to improve accessibility and safety for everyone.”

Work to install the backplates and audible signals is scheduled to begin in late May and will occur throughout the summer. The locations for these improvements were chosen based on the conditions at each intersection, considering traffic volume, configuration, and use.

Audible Pedestrian Signal and Improved Crosswalk Locations

South St. & South Kalamazoo Mall
North Park St. & West Michigan Ave
North Park St & West Kalamazoo Ave
West Michigan Ave & West Lovell St. / Oakland Dr.
West Michigan Ave. & Rose St.
Michigan Ave. & South Kalamazoo Mall
East Michigan Ave. & South Edwards St.
East Michigan Ave. & North Pitcher St.
Kalamazoo Ave & North Burdick St.
West Kalamazoo Ave. & North Rose St.
East Michigan Ave. & Harrison St
East Michigan Ave. & Kings Hwy.
East Michigan Ave. & Mills St.
Stadium Dr. & Rambling Rd.
West Michigan Ave. & Ring Road South
South Westnedge Ave. & Inkster Ave.
South Westnedge Ave. & Whites Rd.
South Westnedge Ave. & Denway Dr.
South Rose St. & West Vine St.
West Crosstown Pkwy. & West Stockbridge Ave.
Parkview Ave. & Greenleaf Blvd.
Parkview Ave. & Whites Rd.
Oakland Dr. & Angling Rd.
Oakland Dr. & West Kilgore Rd.
East Kilgore Rd. & Merideth St.
East Cork St. & Emerald Dr.
East Cork St. & Moreland St. / Fulford St.
West Cork St. & South Burdick St.
Miller Rd. & Pasadena St. / James St.
Portage St. & Lakeway Ave.
Portage St. & East Alcott St.
South Burdick St. & East Alcott St.
South Burdick St. & Reed Ave.
South Burdick St. & Stockbridge Ave.
East Michigan Ave. & Riverview Dr.
East Kalamazoo Ave. @ North Pitcher St.
East Kalamazoo Ave. @ North Edwards St.
West Kalamazoo Ave @ North Westnedge Ave
Additional locations still being finalized

Traffic Signal Backplate & Tether Locations

East Kilgore Rd. & Meredith Street
Cork St. & Emerald Dr.
East Cork St. & Moreland / Fulford
Cork St. & South Burdick St.
Miller Rd. & Pasadena St.
South Burdick St. & Vine St.
Walnut St. & South Burdick St.
Lovell St & South Burdick St.
Oakland Dr. & West Kilgore Rd.
Oakland Dr. & Parkview Ave.
Oakland Dr. & Howard St.
South Drake Rd. and Parkview Ave.
South Drake Rd. & West Michigan Ave.
Drake Rd & North RXR
Drake Rd & South RXR
North Drake Rd. & Croyden Ave.
North Drake Rd & Beech Ave.
Mills St. & Vine St.
Mills St. & East Crosstown Parkway
East Vine St. & East Crosstown Parkway
South Burdick & Crosstown Parkway
Howard St. & West Crosstown Parkway
Howard St. & Valley Rd.
Michigan Ave. & Greenwood Ave.
Michigan Ave. & Dobbin Dr.
South Drake Rd. & Century Ave.
Mills St. & Lake St.
West Crosstown Pkwy & West Stockbridge Ave.
Michigan Ave. & Eldridge Dr.
Michigan Ave. & Emajean St.
South Rose St. & West Lovell St.
South Rose St. & West South St.
East Water St. & North Pitcher St.
East Water St. & North Edwards St.
West Water St. & North Rose St.
South St. & South Kalamazoo Mall
North Rose St. & West North St.
East Paterson St. & Riverview Dr.
North Pitcher St. & East Paterson St.
Paterson St. & North Burdick St.
West Paterson St. & North Rose St.
West Paterson St. & Douglas Ave
Portage St. & East South St.
Oakland Dr. & Angling Rd.