GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — An intersection on Grand Rapids' northeast side has gotten a safety upgrade after several accidents there were caught on camera, and the community voiced their concerns.
The update came after 13 On Your Side spoke to several neighbors and residents who were growing increasingly frustrated, and shared their pleas for the City of Grand Rapids.
After months, and even years for some, of concerns for safety neighbors said they're happy that changes have finally been made at the intersection was at Lafayette and Spencer Streets.
"I'm really, really thrilled," said Becca Stocking, who's lived in the area for more than 20 years.
In October, we met a woman named Jennifer Hoye who caught several crashes on her front porch surveillance camera. She was extremely concerned about the safety of the intersection, especially because her young children like to play outside, as do many others in the neighborhood. At the time, the City of Grand Rapids, according to Mobile GR, said they had not received any complaints about that specific intersection, but encouraged anyone with any traffic concerns to contact 311.
Several months later, in March, Hoye reached out to 13 On Your Side again, with new videos of two more crashes in the same spot right at the intersection.
That's when 13 On Your Side went back to the neighborhood and met Becca Stocking. She was starting to gather signatures for a petition to send to the city in hopes they would make some safety upgrades to the intersection. On March 6th, we ran a story about her concerns.
"A lot of people when I knocked on their door they said they had seen me on TV, and that they didn't need to hear my whole spiel, they just wanted to sign the petition immediately," said Stocking, "so I really think the story did do a lot of good."
"People thanked me for doing it," she added, "and they said it was about time somebody did something."
At that time, the City of Grand Rapids said they had "evaluated the intersection for additional stop signs and it does not meet the requirements in state and federal engineering standards," but did say they were taking steps to increase visibility.
Stocking said she was able to get 192 signatures on her petition over just a short period of time.
According to the City of Grand Rapids, on March 6th, the same day 13 On Your Side met Stocking and shared her story, a work order was issued to add the following safety measures to the intersection:
- •Restrict parking near corners to ensure adequate sight distance at both intersections of Lafayette & Spencer and Lafayette & Quimby.
- Add new No Parking signs in plan and check existing signs.
- Relocate EB Spencer Stop Ahead W3-1 and add new WB Spencer Stop Ahead W3-1.
- Reinstall EB & WB Spencer supplemental Stop R1-1 for added emphasis. This sign can be removed in the future if not needed.
- Add new Stop Ahead W3-1 on both EB & WB Quimby St NE on the approach to Lafayette Ave NE
The work was finished this week, and now there are stop signs on both sides of Spencer Street, for a total of four, plus two additional 'stop ahead' signs.
"The Creston Neighborhood is the largest neighborhood area in Grand Rapids," said Stocking, "so when a bunch of people from the neighborhood are like, we're not going to take this anymore, the City of Grand Rapids answered really quickly."
The city said the new signage, in addition to new parking restrictions, will allow for greater visibility.
"It's nice to know that our voices were heard and that our community's voice was heard," Stocking added.
Voices like that of Stephanie Valdez.
"I've seen multiple accidents here," she said, "so these stop signs are like better than Christmas for people who live on this street."
Valdez has lived on Spencer Street for 11 years and has young children, and said she really thought the problem would never get solved.
"Just because of so many years of it getting passed by, I thought that it would just be another year," Valdez said, "so to see that the signatures, and her (Stocking's) video and people saying 'hey we live here on this street, and this is extremely dangerous,' and they listened to it, is...phenomenal."
"This is just...this is good news," she added.
Now both Stocking and Valdez hope that the additional signage will actually help make the intersection safer.
"If people still run these big, red ones then yeah, that's a problem," said Valdez, "because before I think it was just that they didn't see them."
"I really just hope people see the signs and stop," said Stocking, "And just want to thank the Creston community and you guys, for bringing the attention to the neighborhood about this."
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