The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) has joined several other governmental organizations in supporting a Sept. 30 memorial walk in Springfield Township to honor the memory of township resident Margaret Tippen who was killed in 2022 while walking along a road in the township. The walk is also intended to draw attention to pedestrian-safety concerns.
“The purpose of the memorial walk,” explained Springfield Township Supervisor Laura Moreau, “is not to raise funds, but to raise awareness. Our aim is to educate citizens on how to safely share the road. We also hope that some attention to this issue might get motorists to drive more cautiously.”
“We strongly support this effort,” stated RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “Safety is our number-one concern, and we will support efforts that raise awareness of pedestrian safety. We don’t want to see any more pedestrian deaths on our roads.”
Tippen was killed Sept. 7, 2022, while taking her daily walk along Kier Road in the township. The idea for the walk arose when Tippen’s daughter, Erin Hoffman, of Independence Township, contacted Supervisor Moreau to discuss what could be done as a community to raise awareness for pedestrian safety.
In her initial e-mail to Supervisor Moreau, Hoffman noted that, “The gravel roads in both Independence and Springfield townships are not farmlands with two families every mile. They truly are neighborhoods, where many families walk and bike.”
Moreau noted the Springfield Township Board of Trustees agreed with Hoffman. “The Board is greatly concerned about safety on our rural roads,” she stated. “In the absence of sidewalks, residents use gravel roads for walking, running, dog walking and bicycling. Many of these roads are narrow and have curves and hills.”
Moreau also cited the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) reports that documented changes in motorists’ trends during the COVID pandemic, with speeds increasing – leading to more crashes – on many roads. Representatives of SEMCOG plan to attend the memorial walk to promote the organization’s Walk.Bike.Drive.Safe campaign and to distribute safety lights and informational materials to participants.
Others supporting the event include the Springfield Township Fire Department and the Springfield Township Substation of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department.
The event will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30. It will start at 10035 Springtime Circle (just off Autumnglo Dr.) and will then follow a route along Autumnglo Dr. to the east, then north along Bridge Lake Road to Kier Road, west on Kier to Old Kent Road and south back to Autumnglo Dr. and ending at the same location as the start. The route is approximately two miles long.
Signs will be posted near the starting point directing participants where to park. No registration is required for the event.