EMU hosted a coffee hour with Michigan Senator Rebekah Warren where she discussed current issues with students and community members. Senator Warren discussed the future of energy and other safety concerns in Michigan. She also talked about lighting in covered crosswalks, autonomous cars, and an aging pipeline that supplies oil to much of Michigan.
“I’m happy to start having these conversations. A lot of times it comes down to resources, but keeping people safe has to be a top priority,” said Senator Warren.
Attendees expressed concerns regarding lighting near the high-traffic crosswalks at the base of the Ypsilanti Water Tower, and additional crosswalks students use coming and going to campus. Not all these crosswalks have implemented High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) beacons. Senator Warren believes HAWK beacons help keep students and pedestrians safe. These light systems have been installed at crosswalks around Ypsilanti, such as at the one at Washtenaw Avenue and Cross.
“I’ll continue to call on the Governor and the Attorney General to take the measures that are necessary to make sure we don’t have the kind of spill that we had in the Kalamazoo river. Which we’re still cleaning up six years later,” said Senator Warren. “”
Almost 23 million gallons of oil flow daily through two aging pipelines west of the Mackinac Bridge. Built during the Eisenhower administration, they’re now owned by a Canadian company. They lie 20 inches in diameter in the Straits of Mackinac, exposed at the bottom of the lake. Sen. Warren has introduced a resolution in the Senate calling for the the state to shut down line 5; a 60-year-old oil pipeline that runs through parts of Michigan and the Great Lakes.
“I will be continuing to raise awareness through this resolution and through other means of communication,” said Senator Warren. “I truly believe at this point the health of our Great Lakes is really at risk with an over 60-year-old pipeline.”
Senator Warren also commented on the future of driver-less cars. She toured the late Ford car manufacturing facility that has now been repurposed into testing grounds for self-driving vehicles at University of Michigan’s Willow Run property on North Campus.
The field of autonomous cars will continue to be researched. Senator Warren isn’t sure if this generation will see a driver-less cars in their lifetime, she is however impressed with the growing amount of data that shows how technology in cars improves safety.