You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor City Council starts changes to pedestrian safety ordinance

By Ryan J. Stanton


Ann Arbor City Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, speaks about changes to the city's pedestrian safety ordinance during Thursday's meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The Ann Arbor City Council took the first step toward revising the city's controversial pedestrian safety ordinance Thursday night.

Council members voted 10-0 to give initial approval to amendments offered up by Council Members Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, Margie Teall, D-4th Ward, and Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward. The changes are expected to come back for final approval by December.

The ordinance language voted on at Thursday's meeting differs substantially from a version released earlier this week. The earlier version would have eliminated the requirement that motorists in Ann Arbor must stop for pedestrians approaching crosswalks.

The new language still gets rid of the vague term "approaching," but it doesn't go so far as to require pedestrians to be "within" the street to get motorists to stop for them.

It now states that when traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation, drivers must stop — before entering a crosswalk — and yield to any pedestrians "stopped at the curb or ramp leading to a crosswalk." Drivers also must continue to stop for pedestrians within crosswalks, and without regard to which portion of the roadway the pedestrian is using.


Erica Briggs


Joel Batterman


Thomas Collet


Kathy Griswold

"I believe that it advances public safety by providing pedestrians with the right-of-way without obligating them to enter the crosswalk," Taylor said of the changes to the ordinance. "And it also provides drivers with much-needed clarity as to when they are obligated to stop for pedestrians."

Briere said when the ordinance was passed in July 2010, council members discussed the use of the word "approaching" and unanimously embraced it.

"But a year has passed and we've heard a lot of conversation in the community about the difficulty of understanding exactly what approaching means," she said.

Several residents, including original supporters of the pedestrian safety ordinance, addressed the council Thursday night and offered support for the revisions. Many were just happy the council wasn't going to repeal the ordinance after recent accidents at crosswalks.

Erica Briggs, a city planning commissioner and board member for the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, said the changes help strengthen and clarify the ordinance.

"We share the concerns that we have heard voiced in the public," Briggs said. "People are right to be mad. But the solution is not to back-pedal, but to really continue to press forward."

She and other speakers encouraged council to adopt crosswalk design guidelines and prioritize certain crosswalks for improvements. They also called for continued education efforts.

"Obviously, we're nowhere near where we want to be, but we're making really significant gains in our community," Briggs said.

Briggs relayed results of a recent survey of crosswalks that showed more drivers stopped for pedestrians in October than in April.

She said the stop rate increased from 1.15 percent to 12 percent on Stadium Boulevard near Arbor Farms Market, from 5.3 percent to 14 percent on Main Street between William and Liberty, from 1.7 percent to 9.5 percent near the Islamic Center on Plymouth Road, and from 8 percent to 24 percent on Liberty Street near Virginia.

Joel Batterman, an urban planning student at the University of Michigan and vice chairman of the WBWC, said the pedestrian safety ordinance is working.

"But the ordinance has also highlighted pre-existing problems of speeding and distracted driving, especially on Plymouth Road just a short distance from where I live," he said.

Having grown up in northeast Ann Arbor, Batterman said he knows traffic safety was an issue on Plymouth Road long before the pedestrian safety ordinance was passed.

"Two U of M students had to die trying to cross Plymouth at Bishop in 2003 before a crosswalk was installed there," he said. "And the highway-like engineering of the road continues to spur dangerous speeds around its curves.

"What's been needed on Plymouth for years is greater awareness and better facilities, not back-peddling on our commitment to pedestrian safety," he concluded.

Ann Arbor resident Thomas Collet said he grew up in Europe and now commutes regularly along Plymouth Road.

"It's atrocious how fast people are driving," he said, adding many people use their cell phones while driving. "I think that's a key cause of some of the traffic accidents that we've seen."

Police Chief Barnett Jones agreed distracted drivers — not pedestrians in crosswalks — are to blame for the rear-end accidents that have happened recently at crosswalks.

"That is a driver who is distracted," he said. "That is a driver who failed to yield. That is a driver who failed to keep their vehicle under control or is following too close."

Council Member Carsten Hohnke, D-5th Ward, was one of the original sponsors of the pedestrian safety ordinance.

"I just want to note for the public's benefit that the original language that we implemented last year was the result of a very thorough, inclusive, multi-stakeholder process that lasted almost two years," he said, noting that included physical audits of crosswalks and a publicly held forum in which police, city traffic engineers and experts from Lansing took part.

Kathy Griswold, a school safety and pedestrian advocate, questioned why the city needs a local pedestrian safety ordinance.

"Why are local politicians, with no apparent training or knowledge of transportation engineering best-practices, making and editing traffic engineering laws?" she said.

Isaac Gilman, an urban planning student at U-M, said he lives in an apartment complex off Plymouth Road and knows firsthand the pedestrian safety ordinance is needed.

"In my experience as a pedestrian on Plymouth Road, I find cars travel upwards of 40 to 45 mph when the posted speed limit is clearly 35," he said. "Trying to cross the street can be an arduous task. It sometimes takes as long as three to five minutes to make it safely across."

Council Member Sandi Smith, D-1st Ward, was absent Thursday.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 6:19 a.m.

@Mick52 WHERE does that law "REQUIRE vehicles to yield to pedestrians"? MORE misrepresentation of state law!


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

for me this is simple: don't put cross walks in places where there aren't traffic controls. All drivers are trained to behave traffic controls and for the most part, they do. Someone crossing in one of those 'out of the blue' cross walks is going to get hit. This is not normative for driving in any other places. Stop this now before someone get badly hurt of killed.

Robert Pfeister

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

When I was young we were taught to cross the street at the intersections and even then we watched out for any cars. It is a lot easier for a pedestrian to see a car coming than it is for a driver to see a pedestrian. This mentality that pedestrians have, that they have the right of way, causes a lot of accidents when people step out in front of a car assuming that it is going to stop.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 10:55 a.m.

I know this may be a crazy, wild and somewhat controversial idea - but, whatever happened to the pedestrians taking responsibility for crossing a road and not paying attention to what they are doing? i have seen many people just sprint out to try and beat oncoming traffic - that's dumb. Hey, that gives me a similarly ludicrous idea! why not have pedestrian licenses? i mean, one needs a license to drive, a license to fish or hunt, a license to get married - why not make pedestrians go through classes designed to help them learn the basic principle behind crossing safely. Gee, when i was a kid i was told to cross at a light. i would have to walk a few extra feet to accomplish this, but, that was the safest thing to do. Now, because some elite, arrogant, social-liberal nutjobs, think people drive too fast (which is probably true, I'm not disputing that), and they want to cross the street just about anywhere to avoid going out of their way, that just about each and every corner needs to be "pedestrian" friendly? I think that pedestrian should also be schooled in the correct way to avoid getting hit. Lets go further, and start regulating how often people get to eat fast food? should pedestrians also start paying taxes for roads, since they avoid extra gas useage by walking? maybe, there should be a limit on how much a pedestrian is allowed to carry too? I mean, all those book bags and briefcases can impede one's ability to cross safely, if they are too busy trying to haul stuff around, right? Oh, yeah, and no ipods or phones should be allowed to be used either - that only distracts them from paying attention to what they are doing. Yeah, yeah, makes sense...LOL bureaucratic, nanny-state,


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 12:08 a.m.

There is no excuse for city council making decisions about traffic problems. We have real needs in this town, City council and the mayor are way out of touch with the rest of the population. How much time has been spent on guessing whats safe for drivers and pedestrians. Making ordinances for drivers from all over world is confusing and dangerous. Ether put up traffic signals at every sidewalk termination or do nothing at all. Yes; drivers drive fast! Yes; pedestrians text while walking across the street! Distractions and human error are for everyone, but dead is dead! Stop trying to do this on the cheap! You can ticket all you want, but drivers unfamiliar with the city come here very day!

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:18 p.m.

"'Two U of M students had to die trying to cross Plymouth at Bishop in 2003 before a crosswalk was installed there,' he said. 'And the highway-like engineering of the road continues to spur dangerous speeds around its curves.'" Stop with all the drama. They didn't HAVE TO die. they could have found a safer place to cross.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 1:13 a.m.

Or looked up and seen the headlights coming their way.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

If Briggs designed automobils there would be no "reverse". This ordinance needs to go away. What is it about city council that makes them so opposed to listening to the citizens? Will council be paying for lighting so drivers can SEE pedestrians standing at crosswalks at night? Let's just put "real" Stop Signs at these crosswalks if council really wants to improve pedestrian safety.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

In the meeting last night, did Rapundalo congratulate Lumm?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

This is what happens when you vote for democrats in Ann Arbor. You get some leftist goofball who wants to be your mommy but is arrogant, reckless and clueless enough to run around "reinventing" traffic engineering standards. This is really all about POLITICAL CORRECTNESS and the Plymouth Road Islamic Center kids. They can't put a traffic signal in that location and the kids don't want to go a few feet down the street to a cross walk. These nit wits became fixated on their demands and in the process, have endangered every pedestrian and driver on AA streets! ...especially those kids! What we need to know from AA dot com is who on Council introduced this dangerous nonsensical ordinance and who voted for it? ALL OF THEM NEED TO GO!!

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

I hate to say it but this ordinance is so bad that it would actually be an improvement to put stop signs at every cross walk so that drivers were required to stop even if there isn't a pedestrian waiting to cross the street. That is probably the only way to really give pedestrians the right of way all of the time. But it sure would make driving around town impossible.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

Don't give them any ideas. The answer is for Council to give up their traffic engineering hobby before someone gets killed - and that won't be long. The real answer is the laws and common sense that work everywhere else in the country - don't cross the street if there is a car coming!! Why does that work everywhere but Ann Arbor?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

I've never been clear on: What is a crosswalk? How do I, as a driver, know that a particular Ann Arbor corner is a crosswalk? (In Europe and places like Boulder, a specific kind of light, zebra street paint, and usually a sign, exist at all crosswalks that have pedestrian right of way.) What is a signal? Is a flashing yellow light a signal?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

A cross walk in this case includes any place where you see lines drawn across the road even if they are not the zebra cross walk paint *and* any intersection where there are sidewalks even if there isn't any paint. That means that if you are driving down the street you have to keep one eye on the sidewalk just in case someone is waiting to cross while keeping the other eye on the road in case the person in front of you slams on their brakes because they saw (or thought they saw) a pedestrian.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.

By appearances, Mr. Batterman looks to have all of about a few years of driving experience. I hesitate to listen to anyone who has so little driving experience under his or her belt. And yes, Mr. Batterman, people do get hurt when they walk in front of cars against the right of way. Further, I see nothing in this aritlce that has ANY respect at all for drivers, nor do I see any remark from any Council member that respects drivers. I consider myself a good driver. I have been driving for many, many years with no accidents. The utter lack of respect for drivers in this article, from pedestrians, from bicyclists and from our Mayor and Council, is insulting. This law appears to be triggered by a group of individuals close to Mayor Hieftje - cyclists and pedestrians. While I am often a pedestrian and have occasionally encountered a rude driver and more often a rude cyclist, I have not encountered the problems so many of the pedestrians complain of in these posts. I have never had to wait 5 minutes to cross a street. Never. I am with Ms. Griswold on this one. Where are the - unbiased - traffic experts as opposed to the politicans?

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:35 p.m.

Even with enforcement and a vague, ill-considered new law, compliance is still under 10%. Would you let your children walk alone on one of those "crosswalks" on Plymouth? The only thing Hieftje has accomplished is a few car accidents. I guess he can take some pride that he injured a few people who weren't driving as safely as he would like. But has he improved public safety, or harmed it? Seems rather obvious he has caused harm.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

Right now this situation has dissolved into 1000s of people with 1000s of different interpretations of what is required from the driver of a vehicle and pedestrians. City council better make sure that there is an intensive educational effort about the changes and not just rely on an online newspaper and word of mouth. This is so beyond stupid. And I will NOT be stopping for someone standing on the northside of Plymouth Road if I am travelling east UNTIL YOU PUT IN PEDESTRIAN-ACTIVATED LIGHTS AT THE CROSSWALKS ON PLYMOUTH RD!!!!!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

The WBWC is part of the Mayor's cabal. It's WBWC, getDowntown, and our Transportation Dept. (among so many other &quot;progressive&quot; interests). They come up with big projects that take as an assumption that all motorists are selfish evil psychopaths driving SUVs, and not just You and Me getting to work in and around all the other distracted road-shareres like Stop-sign running cyclists, jaywalking ear-budded college students, and the person behind you who's trying to avoid that deathly crater on Pauline near Redeemer. They're waiting for gas to go to $10 a gallon so they can rejoice and, while the rest of the nation's economy dies its final post-internal combustion death, they can put on the Final Green Day Victory Parade. Consider: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And they need YOUR money. The street and sidewalk millage you all just passed? Thank you.

Sandra Samons

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

They are going to have to do better than this. Picture this scenario. There are 2 lanes of traffic going in each direction. A car in the right lane sees a pedestrian at the curb to her right, waiting to cross. A driver just to her left cannot see the pedestrian because the car of the first driver obscures his view. The first driver stops. The pedestrian starts to cross. The second driver hits him because by the time he sees him it is too late to stop. And even if the pedestrian manages to dodge that car, unless there is a central island, he will still need to cross two more lanes of traffic coming from the opposite direction. I do not see how this can ever be made safe without some sort of traffic indicator besides a human body. At least the local l=ordinance should conform to the rest of the state. Otherwise, our town will be like a mine field to any out of town driver (in a town full of them).


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

Ann Arbor prides itself as a progressive leader.. That is great, but I fear our local &quot;out of the ordinary&quot; pedestrian law is leading our way into unintended consequences. I have stopped in two locations that were near misses for pedestrians crossing in front of me while I stopped to let them cross. Once on Stadium: I stopped in the right lane, another car changed lanes, pedestrians were just missed. The second: Geddes circle by Concordia. I entered the traffic loop alone and was exiting north and stopped to allow three football players cross. Moments later I heard screeching tires and looked back to see a swerving car just miss me and overlap me on my left. The driver was in shock and shaking her head. Both of these situations could have been horrible. The problem is &quot;outside of normal and expected context&quot; situations. The Stadium crossing had no large signaling or signs warning traffic on a large multi-lane road. OK, better signage should help.. However, the crosswalk at the exit of a traffic circle is a contradiction in safety concepts. I can't really blame the car that almost crashed into me and could have pushed me into the pedestrians. We don't expect to stop once in the circle and especially while exiting. Pedestrian Crossings near traffic circles need to be separated from the traffic flow. Ann Arbor, let's be a safety leader, but can we use traffic experts and some practical sense to avoid tragedy?

Nelson Rasmussen

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

First City Council doesn't want to consider changes. Then it bends to public pressure-a bit. Is this law about City Council using it's power or is this about public saftey? Don't pedestrians have any responsilbility anymore? Some people think you can just step out in front of cars and expect them to stop. Pedestrians should stilll stop look and listen before crossing the street. Sometimes drivers are drunk or unattentive. Without noticable signs (preferably with lights to get the attention of drivers who aren't attentive) ) and clear cut laws to go with them-not vague ones like this new one &quot;....ramp leading to a crosswalk&quot; there will always be tragic problems. It just seems to me City Couciil is being stubborn and is not being reponsive to real public saftey issues. I agree with Stephen Lange Ranzini There should be a poll option of Repeal the ordnance.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

I was driving recently and finally got a better look at the signs as they exist now. They are HORRIBLE. The contain a small red stop sign within them. Universally, red (and the stop sign icon) mean STOP when you are driving. Not &quot;maybe stop&quot;, but STOP. They are confusing and dangerous, and shouldn't have red in them. They should contain yellow, as the stopping isn't required. The whole situation is a horrible mess. I can't believe they did not exhibit sounder judgment when this was initially rolled out.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

I wish Ann Arbor City Counsel would have &quot;approached&quot; the ordinance in better form.

Ashok Gopalakrishnan

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

And now for something different. In this quote by Mr. Joel Batterman: &quot;What's been need on Plymouth for years is greater awareness and better facilities, not back-peddling on our commitment to pedestrian safety,&quot; he concluded. I believe the word is &quot;backpedaling&quot; and not &quot;back-peddling&quot;. I think &quot;beckpedalling&quot; (with two Ls) is also acceptable. And just so I stay on topic, the least confusing thing city council can do now is to adopt rule 702 of the Michigan uniform traffic code in its ENTIRETY. Install adequate safety mechanisms - HAWK lights, RRFBs, etc. Educate and enforce. Then tweak the language if necessary.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

retired, and still grading papers.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

And I appreciate your taking the time to look through UTC. It's frustrating that we can't seem to get to do that kind of basic research. And notice that back pedaling is a term from bicycling! The problem with the UTC ordinance is that pedestrians either have to wait as long as it takes for someone to yield to them, at the side of the road, or they have to step into the crosswalk, potentially in front of a moving vehicle that would have time to stop, but who's driver may think they don't need to stop. As pointed out to council, in some places and at some times, you may wait several minutes for a break long enough to not be in danger. Although I do agree with you, if we had sting operations like they do in Chicago and other parts of the country, where plainclothes officers step into crosswalks, leaving their foot in the bike lane part of the crosswalk and not moving until people stop, and ticket anyone who didn't stop, we might not need any additional language.

Ashok Gopalakrishnan

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

Also: &quot;What's been needed....&quot;, not &quot;What's been need ...&quot;. Thank you all for your patience :-)

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

Now that the time has changed, I find myself driving after dark. It is very hard to see anyone standing on the side of the road waiting to cross. If drivers are going to be expected to see pedestrians waiting at cross walks, the pedestrians should be required to carry lights in the same way and for the same reason that cars are required to have lights. This ordinance will not improve driver's ability to see pedestrians waiting to cross in enough time to stop safely.

Buster W.

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Just drove down Plymouth Rd. a couple hours ago and there is a small pile of auto debris from previous accidents. As a pedestrian, I would never assume someone will stop for me. I wouldn't care if were blinking lights, signs, etc. or not.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

For me, the problem that I have with this pedestrian situation is this statement from today's article &quot;...encouraged council to adopt crosswalk design guidelines and prioritize certain crosswalks for improvements. &quot; Had this effort been done first or at the same time as community education and announcing I would be supportive of this having been a sound road map to achieving the goals, which are obviously increased safety. Additionally, as someone else pointed out, in recent years there have been challenges to speeding tickets in Ann Arbor. If memory serves there were experts cited that stated it is appropriate to increase the speed limit on roads when it is found that a certain percentage of drivers exceed the posted limit. These 2 situations seem to be at odds.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

They just don't get it. The ordinance was silly from the beginning and should never have been approved. The law followed by the rest of the state is more than sufficient. The amendment still requires a driver to take their eyes off the road. Particularly at night, it is very difficult to be aware of traffic when you have to scan the sidewalks to see if someone is waiting there. If you want vehicles to stop, you have to put up stop signs or traffic signals. As an avid bicyclist I find it odd that the WCBC is supporting this and that the vice chair is a student. Cycling research over and over is to bike in traffic and follow traffic law. Bicycle facilities have been proven to be beneficial, but not practices like this that are contrary to basic traffic safety. If they want to be known as walking friendly to this extent I wish they would drop bicycling from their program. I cannot support a bike/walk organization that would support a dangerous ordinance like this one.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

STOP! In the Name of Love...

Bertha Venation

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

Before you breeeaakkk my leg.

Jamie Riddle

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

The whole thing is stupid. It is easier for a pedestrian to stop and wait on a car, than for a 3000 pound or heavier car to have to try to stop at a crosswalk. I think that we are being backwards about the way we are approaching this situation. If they want cars to stop for pedestrians, put in signals, not an ordinance that everyone is supposed to &quot;know&quot; about, plain and simple. A signal directs cars on when to go and when to stop.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Now all you need to do is to get the pedestrians using the official cross walks. As a frequent traveler on Plymouth Rd. I can tell you the students cross wherever they want!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

Judging from the comments of those at the council meeting, it sounds like this ordinance is really about distracted driving and speeding, not pedestrian safety. Why bother with facts, when you can just blame non-compliance on the problem du jour, aka &quot;distracted driving.&quot; So, when driving in Ann Arbor, keep your radio off, turn your cell phone off, and leave the kids at home. Oh, and try not to rear-end anyone, as you constantly scan the sidewalks for pedestrians waiting to cross. Because that's not a distraction.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

So if we already have distracted drivers.....Lets add new local rules sending pedestrians into the roadways believing cars with distracted drivers will stop! lol Are you people on drugs? Seriously.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

Jane, please save us from Erica and her ilk.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

So, does this mean vehicles have to stop for every single crosswalk even if no one is near it? Thst would create a lot of unnecessary stopping along several major streets in Ann Arbor...ridiculous!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

How did we end up getting the same posting name??? Changed my profile pic to clarify our seperate identies.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

what about VISITORS to Ann Arbor who are not aware of our local laws re: pedestians and crosswalks?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.

Have the &quot;Will work for food&quot; homeless at the exit ramps pass out flyers with the special Ann Arbor &quot;rules&quot;! (In case you don't know me, I'm being very very sarcastic!)


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

Not adequate. Repeal the thing.

Victor K

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

I think the idea of this ordinance is better than the reality of it. I'm all for a more pedestrian-friendly city, but in a world of cell phones and distracted drivers, this ordinance could potentially cause more harm than good. In addition to this, pedestrians are even more careless and distracted than before too. I can't tell you how many times I see students jaywalking without looking both ways, or wearing headsets or on their cell phones. In regards to the student who said it takes 3-5 minutes to cross Plymouth, try crossing any busy intersection (like Huron Parkway and Washtenaw) and you'll be definitely waiting 3-5 minutes for the crossing signal. That's just how it goes, tough it out. It keeps being brought up that this kind of ordinance is so successful in Boulder, but from what it looks like they've done a better job in setting up these crosswalks with flashing signs and such. They specifically do this on multi-lane roads where one car may block the view of a pedestrian from another car (... uh... Plymouth Road anyone?). But in A2, they pretty much half-@$$ed this ordinance by trying to emulate Boulder, but not implementing it with the same care and thought. It's also not an apples to apples comparison, because the cell phone/texting while driving laws are slightly different in that state. Again, just b/c it's successful in another city, doesn't mean it'll be successful in yours. If everyone was a good, responsible driver that used common sense (as well as pedestrians), I'm sure this ordinance would work in its current (or revised) form, but the reality is that we are far, FAR from this. I really hope I am wrong though, I really don't want to see someone hurt crossing the road thinking they are safe when they are clearly not.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

We should conform to the state law. For pedestrian safety at crosswalks that are not at an intersection, there should be some kind of crosswalk sign that is elevated so drivers can know that is a crosswalk when covered with snow. I doubt pedestrians will cross only at marked crosswalks. But, after looking both ways, as they were trained as children, and using common sense, they should be safe. This wording seems to imply that if someone were standing at a curb, perhaps chatting on a cellphone, traffic should stop. Or should traffic only stop if it is a marked crosswalk? What if the person is merely standing there? This creates too much confusion. The state law is fine. Let's repeal this one and stick with the state law.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

@Ryan Stanton - Thanks for providing yet another useless poll, with ambiguous language. Would it be to much to ask that, just once, a clearly worded poll be presented with sensible options that would give a clear indication of peoples feeling on the polling subject?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

Pedistrian activated signals would clear the confusion of bus stops near crosswalks and it would likely get people to stop. A compliance rate of less than 25% (cited from the article) means that the average driver doesn't get this right.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

Doesn't city council have something better to do? Put more stop lights on Plymouth Road and end the problem!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

The ordinance needs to be flat out repealed and we will remove each and every council person in favor of this ordinance (like we did with Rapundalo) until that is the case!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

so: 9/10 peds still at risk at xwalks... better, but terrible


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3 p.m.

Hmmm.... wasn't the city FORCED to raise speed limits on some of our roads because MDOT, the State Police and other parties insisted that raised limits made our roads safer? There seems to be an abundance faulty logic in this process


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

I was thinking that too. I think the State police and MDOT should have no authority on speed limits, that should be up to local govt - but when local govts do stupid things like this ordinance. Then there is a need for limitations at a higher, professional level.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

This is really disappointing. Why can't our city use the same laws as everyone else? Adding the part about 'stoping for pedestrians within crosswalks, and without regard to which portion of the roadway the pedestrian is using' is going to cause problems. Instead of spending so much time and money on creating new and confusing laws, why not enforce the ones already in place. And, if one is not in place, adopt the commonly accepted law. I live in northeast Ann Arbor and travel Plymouth road all the time. The newly installed traffic islands and lit cross walks are great. The 35 mph speed limit is silly and unnecessary. Adding even more local laws that are confusing is not great. Adding provisions to the law that will be used by some police offices to raise city funds by ticketing people for no good reason is even worse. This law and its modification do NOTHING to make pedestrians safer in Ann Arbor. Instead it is confusing motorists, making Ann Arbor an unfriendly place to drive through, creating an excuse for police to ticket people unnecessarily. Doing all this is creating even more barriers to businesses that want to employ people downtown. It takes too long to get down town now. All the businesses are moving thier offices to office parks that are easier for their employees to get to.

A A Resident

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Oh great! Some members of city council have decided to put lipstick on the pig. Unfortunately, the proposed revision doesn't solve most of the problems. And the new language, like the old, shows an appalling lack of ability to be clear and precise with words. If the mayor was truly concerned about pedestrian safety, he would recommend that pedestrians cross a busy street at a signal or an intersection, or wait for a break in traffic. This ordinance, at best, is a pedestrian convenience ordinance, and provides no increase in pedestrian safety. I challenge the mayor to provide evidence to the contrary.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

I would like for Erica Briggs and Joel Batterman to conduct a little experiment with the crosswalk at Georgetown subdivision on Plymouth between 6-9 a.m. and 4-6 P.M before they make their arrogant intellectual conclusion as to what pedestrians and drivers must do. Motorist absolutely do not observe the rights of pedestrians trying to cross at this point and the traffic flow and speed is just to high to expect motorists to stop every few minutes. I guess it's going to take another fatality which is certain as we enter the winter months before this point is realized and I hope that Briggs and Batterman is prepared to deal with the outcome if something traffic should happen just to advance their little agenda.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

Has the City consulted with anyone at the U-M Transportation Research Institute? I'm with others who say lights are the answer. How about, instead of having that Crosswalk sign on Plymouth constantly illuminated, having it flash when a pedestrian pushes a button? Btw, I've noticed that the Crosswalk sign lights up the pavement, at night, on either side of the crosswalk while shadowy figures walk underneath. How about some public service announcements: Wear White at Night!?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

&quot;But the ordinance has also highlighted pre-existing problems of speeding and distracted driving&quot; I don't like the sound of all this &quot;distracted driving&quot; talk. I agree that &quot;distracted driving&quot; is a problem. But at what point do you stop with the laws? I wouldn't be surprised if they keep the pedestrian law and add a distracted driving law similar to that of only problem with that is that when Ann Arbor does something, they, in the attempt to be better than everyone else I assume, try to take it a step further. What is further? No hands-free phone calls? No talking to anybody? No changing radio stations or adjusting heat/air? That's really all that's left after that and we know Ann Arbor will never stop. Honestly, there was never a need for the pedestrian law. All they needed to do was enforce the law already in place and improve crosswalk conditions on high speed/high traffic roads and the pedestrians just need to do what they've always done, look both ways before they cross the street to decide whether it's safe. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen in &quot;holier than thou&quot; Ann Arbor. And expect more changes. Oh and just a little tidbit: I had the best drivers ed instructor who, every time we went out driving, made sure we had distractions so we knew how to deal with them. He cranked up the radio, bought us drinks and snacks, called us on the phone, etc and discussed with us how to deal with these things safely. There will always be distractions and I think some of them are completely avoidable but others we need to just learn to deal with appropriately.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.

I can see why there is confusion in some places. As I was driving down Fuller Rd. near the VA, I noticed that at two places bus stops were at crosswalks. Many drivers were slowing down until they realized that people were waiting for the bus and not crossing.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

The Michigan Vehicle Code does provide some language that can be interpreted that drivers must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Crosswalks are defined as &quot;any portion of a highway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface&quot;. This would include crosswalks that are located mid-way between street intersections. MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE (EXCERPT) Act 300 of 1949 257.612 Traffic control signals; location; red arrow and yellow arrow indications; colors; traffic control signal at place other than intersection; stopping at sign, marking, or signal; violation of subsection (1) or (2) as civil infraction; approaching person using wheelchair or device to aid walking; violation of subsection (4) as misdemeanor; location of sign prohibiting turn on red signal; additional sign. (4) A vehicle operator who approaches a person using a wheelchair or a device to aid the person to walk at a crosswalk or any other pedestrian crossing shall take necessary precautions to avoid accident or injury to the person using the wheelchair or device. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor. Although the section appears to be applicable to persons using wheelchairs or walking aids, it does state &quot;any other pedestrian crossing&quot;. This statement would then require a driver to take the necessary precautions (stop and yield to the pedestrian) to avoid an accident or injury to the person.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

Gyre, that's a very interesting interpretation of that clause. I read &quot;any other pedestrian crossing&quot;, in context, as one of the two types of locations where a motorist shall take necessary precautions to avoid accident or injury to the person using the wheelchair or device. I would suggest reading a few more times, being careful to explain where &quot;the person using the wheelchair or device&quot; fits in if you read it the way you did.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

Although that is what the law may appear to be referencing, don't put is past any officer or judge to not utilize it as a protective measure or right-of-way for pedestrians. It does reference abled body individuals: any other pedestrian.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

Gyre, that is talking about signal-controlled intersections. That clause only applies to people using wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. So sure, that does suggest that it for less-abled people, motorists have to avoid hitting them in any pedestrian crossing. But that doesn't say anything about more able-bodied people.

Rosie Lemons

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

Does that mean cars don't have to stop for pedestrians NOT &quot;within crosswalks, and without regard to which portion of the roadway the pedestrian is using&quot;? I was taught in Driver's Ed that pedestrians ALWAYS had the right of way.

Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

Some people just can't say they were wrong. Unfortunately, they have the power also.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

The speed on four lane roads, such as Plymouth Rd., needs to be brought under control in order for motorists to successfully and safely execute this stopping business.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

There recently was a big issue between MSP in regard to speed limits on main roads which I believe included Plymouth Rd. They believe increasing limits up to what traffic is moving regardless of the posted limit. It is odd this comes after that. Regardless, I have been crossing all streets in A2 for 30+ years and never had to wait even one minute. If there are people out there who can't cross safely then they probably should not be out walking at all. Even if I had to wait more than a minute, I would suffer no irritation that overcomes my preference to be in one piece by following proper safety measures.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

No. Keep it at 45. Raise it to 40 from Huron Parkway to Maiden Lane. 35 is ridiculously slow. Quit tailgating, maintain the proper distance from the vehicle in front of you so you can stop. What happens if a poor duck or goose is crossing the street? The driver surely doesn't want to run over the animal for fear of going to jail so they will obviously stop. Without proper vehicle spacing, you will rearend the vehicle in front of you.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

This law and any like it that differ from other communities will really hurt tourism! Is this what you want? Keep tourists out of Ann Arbor? Have it be known as one big speed-trap, so to speak?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2 p.m.

More Liberal nonsense in a city wallowing in it...amendments that don't fix the basic problem in an ordinance that should never have been adopted in the first place. When I was growing up, we were taught to be responsible for our own actions, which for me often meant walking half a block out of my way to safely cross a street at a traffic signal. Personal responsibility, of course, has no place in the Liberal world view, but that's another topic. Sadly, I was born in Ann Arbor and lived there for 45 years. Happily, I seldom need to go to Ann Arbor these days at all, and when I do I get out of town as quickly as I can using the most direct route possible. I spend my money elsewhere...anywhere but Ann communities that haven't yet succumbed to the Liberal nonsense that has all but destroyed a once pleasant town to live in. R.I.P.

Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

I couldn't agree more. I too avoid Ann Arbor if possible. Too much foolishness going on.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

I think this is a great law. After all, who wants to run over some one walking across the street texting on their cell phone while an iPod is blasting their ear drums? And let's not forget someone standing on the corner curb sipping their laite, loosing their balance, stumbling into the crosswalk, and getting slammed. As Ms Griswold eluded to, just another example of elected politicians with NO expertice on the subject making uninformed decisions creating more problems than are solved. What was the original problem?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

Remember when jay-walking was a crime? It seems the pendulum has swung the other way.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

Jaywalking is a civil infraction under the UTC, which Council adopted a few years ago. But it's only jaywalking in business districts and in city blocks with traffic signals at each end (rules 709 and 710). There are long stretches our major arterials where pedestrians can cross pretty much where ever they want as long as they don't obstruct traffic (rule 706), but they have to go directly across, not at an angle (rule 705).


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

Wasting time micromanaging when the state already had an effective law, now you want to change it to read like the states? just dump it, and focus on local business.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

Basic Bob - sure, but UTC is a set of recommended local ordinances, not a state law. There's a big difference. If, say, Sharon Township doesn't adopt UTC, none of the ordinances in UTC apply there, so the two rules you listed wouldn't apply. If there was a state law for mid-block crosswalks, then it would apply there whether they adopted it or not. Do you see the difference? State laws apply throughout the state, and there are limitations to what you can have as local ordinance that's different from state law (for traffic code, that's MCL 257.606.) Mick, that's great. I'm just pointing out that everyone who says Ann Arbor is ignoring a perfectly good, already in place state law, doesn't really understand how it works, and is blaming Ann Arbor when there actually isn't a state law. Saying Ann Arbor is ignoring a perfectly good recommended ordinance would be a good point. Yes, there's a big difference between the two.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:33 p.m.

During my 30 years in LE, it was very clear to me that a pedestrian has the right of way mid block or crossing at an intersection. Never any question on it. Even if there is no specific law if a car whallops a pedestrian the drivers will usually get the biscuit unless it is clear the ped was at fault. A pedestrian has the right of way, but they can still be at fault. Careless and reckless offenses could be applied too.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

@KJMClark, By the UTC, the traffic engineer can put a crosswalk any place it needs one. Mid-block crosswalks included. R 28.1313 Rule 313. Crosswalks. &quot;and at other places as he or she may deem necessary&quot; R 28.1702 Rule 702. Pedestrians; right-of-way in crosswalk When traffic-control signals are not in place or are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right -of-way....


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

Except the state doesn't have a law about mid-block crosswalks.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

On Miller, where the apartment building is that backs up to West Park, there is a bus stop that is placed exactly opposite a cross walk. How is one to know whether sombody is waiting for the bus, or about to cross the street? I have stopped repeatedly there, only to get questioning looks from the folks waiting for the bus. How is one to know? Oh, and by the way, try stopping there at a busy commute time. One of these times, I'm sure I'll be rear-ended.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

As someone else noted, they've asked AATA to move conflicting bus stops. In most cases, that will just mean moving the sign.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

&quot;It now states that when traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation, drivers must stop — before entering a crosswalk — and yield to any pedestrians &quot;stopped at the curb or ramp leading to a crosswalk.&quot; Drivers also must continue to stop for pedestrians within crosswalks, and without regard to which portion of the roadway the pedestrian is using.&quot; I had to re-read this new revision ten times and I'm still confused!!! Does this mean I'm supposed to stop at all crosswalks whether there's a pedestrian there or not? And I'm supposed to come to a stop on Plymouth Road if I happen by chance to see a pedestrian on the other side of road opposite of ongoing traffic? How is this revision supposed to help anyone?? You've made a mess of Plymouth Road and those huge lighted traffic signs are ugly and ridiculous!!! I hate what this council has done to Northeast Ann Arbor.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

In other words, as you're driving down a busy 4-lane road, keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you, travelling at or below the speed limit, and not doing anything that would distract you from driving, take your eyes off the road and look across the street to see if anyone's waiting to cross.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

First, the existing ordinance is still in effect. No, you don't have to stop at a crosswalk when no one's using it. Yes, you're supposed to stop on both directions on Plymouth when there's a pedestrian anywhere in the crosswalk or waiting to enter it. The revision is supposed to clarify what they meant by &quot;approaching&quot;. It's supposed to help pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists safely share the road and get where they're going.

Kurtis S

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

Get rid of the whole thing!!!!! Someone who comes from other locations (other cities, other states) other than Ann Arbor will not know this. Someone is really going to get hurt.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

Can we have some examples of &quot;in most places the police enforce it by having plainclothes police put a toe into the crosswalk and ticket anyone who didn't stop&quot;?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

People from other states already have state laws much like this. People from other cities in Michigan probably already have an ordinance like this, though they may not know it. The only real difference is the approaching from the sides or waiting at the curb part, and in most places the police enforce it by having plainclothes police put a toe into the crosswalk and ticket anyone who didn't stop.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

The council could solve the entire problem by installing pedestrian activated signals at these locations. They shouldn't talk about expense if safety is the issue. This would also make it clear to people who do not frequent our community often enough to know the law.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

This is a good solution.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Does the ordinance address whether the vehicle can &quot;safely stop&quot; if the pedestrian still is just standing there, but not in the crosswalk? Or should the vehicle slam on the brakes and skid into the pedestrian? I think the pedestrian , in the ordinance, should be given some responsibility too! And in snowy or wet conditions, everyone has to be careful! And what if it isn't a crosswalk with a sign, and the road is covered in snow, and the driver can't see the crosswalk? Council, please address this!

Jim Walker

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

The changes are a bit better, but the ordinance would still be non-compliant with the Uniform Traffic Code published by the State Police and adopted by the city a couple of years ago. Doing things differently than state laws and state administrative rules define invites non-compliance and potential tragedies to occur. The UTC requires drivers to stop for pedestrians IN or close to the half of the crosswalk where the driver is approaching. The UTC does NOT require drivers to stop for pedestrians waiting but not making any moves to start to cross, nor for pedestrians 40 feet and 4 lanes away on a very wide street like Stadium. The changes would be better, but still wrong. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> , Ann Arbor, MI


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

Excellent! I don't agree with your perspective, but I can't really fault your analysis. Thanks for the correction. In fact, I suggested in an email to Council yesterday that they should work to move the ordinance closer to the UTC version, though I agree with them that motorists should yield to pedestrians waiting to cross. The UTC version does use &quot;approaching&quot;, to say that a pedestrian approaching from the other side of the roadway closely enough to be in danger should be yielded to.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

Whether it be a city ordinance or state law, I think a common-sense law to get motorists to give pedestrians right-of-way would promote the public safety and therefore be a good thing. would do well to explain any applicable state laws or lack thereof. One improvement I would suggest is that in a divided road with a median island, motorists be required to stop when the pedestrian is waiting on the island, NOT when they are way over on the other side of the island.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Yes, that's a good idea. The Michigan Uniform Traffic Code says that you only need to stop for pedestrians on your side of the road. Wonder why Ann Arbor didn't consider this?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

By the way, bad poll What about a choice like: &quot;I support the changes, but more needs to be done to improve the ordinance.&quot;

citizen kane

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

Put in overhead signals!!!!!!!!!!!!! thats what drivers are &quot;trained&quot; to see. As it is, its no safer than before this mess started. Would YOU want to step out into those cross walks seeing a car coming toward you THINKING he is going to stop? NOT ME! Do it right or don't do it at all. You people &quot;studied&quot; this for two years and this is the result? Where are the BIKE LANES??? More bike lanes would mean less walkers. You want people to walk across the middle of plymouth road but won't put in bike lanes for the safety of the bikers.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

Well, Plymouth in the area with the crosswalks mostly has bike lanes, though they're way narrower than FHWA recommendations. But there *are* bike lanes there. I use them every day (along with about a tenth of the motorists, who apparently see nothing wrong with breaking that ordinance).


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

It's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't fix still problematic issues for drivers and pedestrians: 1) It's impossible to tell whether a person is stopped at a cross walk or bus stop, 2) It doesn't fix the issue of crossing at multiple-lane roads like Plymouth Rd., where sight lines are more difficult because of a curve in the road and hills, 3) It doesn't fix the issue of the frequency or difficulty to see crosswalks on Plymouth Road or in other areas, day or night 4) It doesn't fix the problem of having to wait for a pedestrian to cross opposing traffic after they have already safely crossed in front of 1 or two lanes of traffic and are safely standing in a pedestrian island. Keep working City council.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

That is unbelievable Mike. I noticed on Miller there is a bus stop very close to a crosswalk too, so if you see someone in the bus stop or near the crosswalk you have to take your eyes off the road and take a few seconds to determine the intent of the person standing there.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

Um, Mike, for most of those stops, it only involves moving the AATA sign. It really doesn't cost much to move a sign.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2 p.m.

@Mike58 Agreed. They put the cart before the horse.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

@townieA2 I received an email from a council person about the crosswalk/ bus stop problem. They said they would approach AATA about moving their bus stops! Can you imagine the cost to the taxpayer? This is the kind of craziness that comes about when an unneeded or poorly written law is implemented. I'm amazed the council continues to try and defend this law.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

The technology exists to allow pedestrians to push a button, causing large metal rods to suddenly spring up from the road, blocking the road and allowing pedestrians to cross safely. Unfortunately, laser turrets on towers that would destroy incoming vehicles still elude our best scientists -


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Are you suggesting train style crossing arms at every cross walk? Now that wouldn't mess up traffic at all!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

The changes still don't fix the problem for children. Kids are taught to stand or near the curb and wait for traffic to clear before crossing, but drivers are being told they must stop and wait for the children to cross before proceeding. City Council has not thought this through.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

As noted above (in a comment reply), Jim is comparing apples and oranges. See his reply to my comment for the details.

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

I laughed so hard!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

If the apple jaywalks in front of a car going 45 mph, Jim will be comparing oranges with applesauce.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

Unless my memory fails me ,back in the day crossing in the middle of the block was called &quot; jaywalking &quot; and you could be cited for it ...


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

...Except in a marked crosswalk...

Silly Sally

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

Where was the &quot;professional&quot; advice from the highly paid traffic engineers on staff at city hall. Did they support this nonsense? Or, as I suspect, the council turns a deaf ear to them. Inquiring minds want to know...


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

Basic Bob - I completely agree with your first paragraph, and I think Ann Arbor has some top-notch engineers. But we're trying to come up with the wording for an ordinance. Crafting laws is usually something you want law enforcement, legal experts, and politicians working. Jim, yes, but they're not designing a roadway or railroad crossing, they're writing an ordinance.

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Traffic engineers have studied and continue to keep abrest of what is safe and what is not. Before most changes are done, there are studies and improvements. For example, a new type of railroad crossing warnign is being studied in Michigan east of here. Ohio tried a Ohio Buckeye Crossbuck to replace the present hard-to-see gray crossbuck. Their knowledge of statistics and accident prevention assists lawmakers in drafting legislation everywere except Ann Arbor.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

An engineer would try to assess the problem and develop an optimal solution, based on studies done in many other places where cars and pedestrians interact. Traffic engineers have made substantial changes to road configurations in Ann Arbor in the last few years, removing lanes, putting in pedestrian islands and speed bumps. The police and attorney will try to determine who is fault after the accident occurs. People might die and they will still argue in court over the legal remedy. It's only a legal question because of an impractical set of laws.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

Why in the world would you expect engineers to give their opinion on an ordinance??? If it's an engineering question, sure, but this is a legal question. You'd want the police and attorney's office to give their opinion, but not the engineers, Silly Sally...


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

But ... but ... but ... what will Boulder think?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.

Probably, &quot;Ah well, more high-paying jobs for us!&quot; <a href=""></a> &quot;create the type of walkable, high-density neighborhoods that we desperately need.&quot; - Lou Glazer, talking about how to attract knowledge workers to Michigan.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

&quot;Many were just happy the council wasn't going to repeal the ordinance after recent accidents at crosswalks.&quot; This changes nothing. Kudos to Briere and Taylor for their attempts to fix the law and other than taking out the mind-reading word 'approaching', because of the Mayor's cabal on Council, we're exactly where we were before this dog and pony show. Let's just put traffic calming bump every ten feet on Plymouth--that should solve it. And one can only hope the rumors are true and my 4th ward Council member Margie Teall won't be running for reelection.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

Except that Margie is easily the better of the two 4th ward reps. Sad but true. And when did she become part of the &quot;change the ordinance&quot; bunch? She must've hopped on that train yesterday.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.

Is it just me or does anyone else feel a loss of common sense and freedom that our government has to protect us in every aspect of our lives including something as simple as walking across the street. It's amazing that we as a nation made it this far with all of the dangers we have faced as a country and the fact that there weren't laws to protect us from all of them..........


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

Actually, in most of the 50 states, there's been a law about yielding to pedestrians in mid-block crosswalks for decades. The state police have recommended that local jurisdictions in Michigan have an ordinance saying motorists should yield to pedestrians in mid-block crosswalks for decades as well. As to &quot;common sense&quot;: &quot;Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.&quot; - Einstein.

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:57 a.m.

The MUTCD, short for the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices defines the standards used by traffic engineers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices such as lights, intersection design, railroad crossings, etc. Each state modifies the national MUTCD, tweaking it a bit. It is not the job of cities such as Ann Arbor to further modify it, Instead, they should instruct theiur legislator to rewrite state law, changing the Michigan MUTCD. If Michigan has no requirement for stopping for pedesterians in crosswalks that are locarted midblock, then change the state MUTCD, don't allow each city to be different.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

OK... So maybe you could figure out where local ordinances fit into that picture? And what part of the MMUTCD do you think &quot;allows&quot; mid-block crosswalks? Keep going, you'll eventually get the full picture.

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

MUTCD is for all devices, pavement markings, signs, and such. Speed limits and driver laws are in the Michigan Vehicle Code. The MUTCD is what allows crosswalks to be mid-block, or pedestrian islands. The MVC is what requires traffic to stop, or not. No confusion, and there is no &quot;Uniform Vehicle Code&quot; for Michigan. As pointed out, this is a private group making suggestions with no legislative powers.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

Jim, see your reply to my comment. You're confused about how the MUTCD relates to our local ordinances.

Silly Sally

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

But we are Ann Arbor - we are &quot;special&quot; and deserve our own laws. Besides, we need to fine ill out-of-towners who are traveling to the UM hospital for treatment.

Jeff Gaynor

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

@Carol: In the old days we were also taught to drive at a safe speed and keep a safe distance behind the car ahead of us (a car length for every 10 mph). Of course we were not taught not to talk on the phone while driving. Who would have thunk it? Are you really blaming an ordinance for rear end collisions? Does it say you *have* to go too fast and crash into the car ahead of you?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

If you anticipate it, it isn't an emergency stop, is it? I can honestly say that if a pedestrian is in or at a crosswalk, I will stop for them, regardless of what traffic looks like around me. I can honestly say that I maintain a safe enough following distance and speed that I can stop for anything that happens in the road ahead of me. Especially in rain, ice, and snow, when I slow down more and increase my following distance. That *is* how it's supposed to work, after all. At least, that's what they *used* to teach in drivers' ed, and what &quot;What Every Driver Must Know&quot; says we should do. What would you do?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

Can you honestly say that if a pedestrian is in or at a crosswalk several cars ahead of you that you will anticipate an emergency stop? Especially in rain, ice and snow?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

How is this change any different than the current law? Motorists still need to be on the lookout for people near the curb and make a snap decision whether or not to stop. In wide four and five lane roads like Plymouth/Stadium/Washtenaw somebody is going to get killed in the near future.

Jeff Gaynor

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

In addition to Plymouth, add Nixon Rd., and [your street of choice], where drivers go well past the speed limit and ignore the clearly marked crosswalk, in this case near Clague School, with pedestrians - especially students - waiting to cross. Yes, and as our police chief says, also maybe too distracted to notice. Necessarily, there is a crossing guard there just before and after school - though cars have been known to speed by anyway. However children do arrive early and many stay late for clubs and sports.

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:40 a.m.

Flashing LED lights on poles at the edges of crosswalks would do more for safety than anything else. It would tell drivers, SOMEONE IS CROSSING, without much effort on anyone's part. This is especially needed at the new traffic circlesm, where drivers are intently watching traffic as they merge; tunnel vision on the cirl=cle and not on any crosswalk. A LED would change this. "and without regard to which portion of the roadway the pedestrian is using." This should require a pedestrian to pause at a pedestrian island on a divided roadway. Traffic should be free to travel until the pedestrian reaches the crosswalk on the other side of the island. &quot;Two U of M students had to die trying to cross Plymouth at Bishop in 2003 before a crosswalk was installed there,&quot; he said." While tragic, memories are short. These students were jaywalking at night (no crosswalk) wearing dark clothing, and then paused in the median. Then, they stepped BACKWARDS into the flow of traffic that did not see them.

Ann English

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : midnight

If most pedestrians aren't already pausing at the islands on Stadium Boulevard, they'd better start to, what with all the businesses and driveways close together; when motorists turn onto Stadium and want to turn onto a nearby road, there's enough motor traffic to watch on the multiple lanes without having to watch for careless pedestrians. I think the new roundabouts on Maple and Nixon roads are fine without any light emitting diodes; no pedestrians catch me off guard in those places; the impossibility of speeding through those intersections makes them safer for both motorists and pedestrians. If you're right about the U of M students, then what they did was even worse than I remember; I remember them doubling back after reaching the middle of the road, but never did I ever read that they stepped backwards into traffic. Just the fact that they doubled back after reaching the middle of the road made the story unforgettable.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

Then maybe you don't know what an intersection is. An intersection is where two public roads meet. In this case, the intersection of Plymouth Road and Beal Ave. Yes, they were at an intersection, and unmarked crosswalks exist at all intersections. Please find *anything*, at any official State of Michigan website, that agrees with you that unmarked crosswalks at intersections doesn't apply to wider roads. You're making that up.

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

KJMClark - No short memory at all. The road was dark, they were not at an intersection, being within sight of it doesn't count, and the driver would not and could not stop for jaywalking pedesterians who he could not see. It was dark, unlighted, and they wore dark clothing. Where was their responsibility for theur safety? State law should cover any crosswalk, since Ann Arbor has many visitors. Anything else is a false sense of safety. The impied crosswalk at an intersection is usually not associated with 4 lane roads intesecting with unlighted, low traffic T-intersection with no traffic control devices such as traffic lights. It lookes the same as many driveway such as Will Tree. Ann Arbor should have added blinking LED lights to their silly hanging signs so as a driver approachs this crossing, from a distance, they are told, 1) no pedestrians or 2) PEDESTRIAN -STOP!! Sadly, this location still does not have such a device. I had them as a child years ago in California, and I am grateful for them. (No, not LEDs, though)


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

Jim, memories are short. They were in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. State law does say that a crosswalk exists at every intersection even if it isn't marked. And the Michigan State Police recommended ordinances make it clear that you're supposed to stop for confused pedestrians, which they pretty clearly were. Unfortunately, we hadn't adopted UTC at the time, and Ann Arbor's crosswalk ordinance wasn't very clear about unmarked crosswalks. &quot;poor man who had his trck damaged by this tragic accident in 2003&quot; - poor man who had just killed two pedestrians? He didn't want to hit the girls, but he didn't exercise due care to prevent the collision either.

Silly Sally

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:27 p.m.

The silly Iman at the Mosque even pressed for manslaughter charges against the poor man who had his trck damaged by this tragic accident in 2003. He didn't want to hit these girls, Flashing lights at night would solve this problem for all.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

I strongly support @Jim Osborn''s excellent suggestion above!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

Why all the continued debate regarding the ordinance -- it has already proved to be unsafe all around -- several auto accidents and pesonal/auto injuries. Said it before what we were, at least in the old days were taught, when crossing the street, stop, look and listen before you cross the street. Automobiles are much larger that individuals.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:33 a.m.

The problem is that since Michigan doesn't have a state law about this, it's been a confusing, strange situation all along. It's never been completely clear to motorists in Michigan what mid-block crosswalks are supposed to mean, so people decided that those are the only places that pedestrians are allowed to cross. The idea that you're supposed to yield to them there - ie. stop and let them cross, wasn't in the law anywhere for mid-block crosswalks, so they decided that the crosswalks just meant that was the place you weren't allowed to hit them. is doing a real disservice here by not looking at the history. Motorists are only partly to blame for not knowing what to do, because Michigan is probably the only state that doesn't make it a state law to yield to pedestrians in mid-block crosswalks. Here we have to have local jurisdictions adopt an ordinance about yielding. That's why it's in UTC, the set of recommended ordinances. No, it's not a state law. It's recommended in Uniform Vehicle Code, but Michigan never got around to making it law here. Chief Jones has it right here - the crashes were due to bad driving. The only thing council needs to do is clarify what they meant by &quot;approaching&quot;, then enforce it. We should put up more warning signals on over-engineered Plymouth.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 6:23 a.m.

@Mick52 WHERE does that law &quot;REQUIRE vehicles to yield to pedestrians&quot;? MORE misrepresentation of state law!


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

KJMClark, I've seen you post here for awhile now and I know you don't actually drive through downtown Ann Arbor all that often. You ride your bike or walk (at least this is what you have stated in previous articles). You seem to be fighting hard against people driving cars. I know for a fact that many people down town either a) cross at lights that clearly say &quot;do not walk&quot; or b) jaywalk. I used to work downtown and I would have to deal with this unsafe behavior every day. I have never seen a cop stop anyone for doing this or give any citations. If we really want to improve safety, why don't we also enforce existing jaywalking laws? There are many more students and pedestrians crossing illegally than cars driving on the road. Yesterday, while passing through town, I saw a bicyclist drive right through a red light (this is another common occurrence downtown). Don't you think they should also obey traffic signs if they are going to share the road with motor vehicles? I also see bikes riding very slowly on 45MPH stretches of Jackson rd during the summer. I have this sneaky suspicion that if jaywalking laws were enforced, we would see protests in the streets from students and pedestrians. Also, we need to look at the facts. Before this law was passed there was not an abundance of pedestrians getting hit by cars, and now there is a definite increase in rear-end accidents. You and many others are ignoring these facts. How many people need to get hurt or killed before you finally agree that this law needs to be repealed? I just wish Ann Arbor actually cared a little more about safety. I suppose it shouldn't really surprise anyone. $700,000 was spent on an art installation and the police and fire departments have gotten cuts. This isn't my idea of smart government. It's laws like these that will make me eventually leave the city. I know I'm not alone.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

Mick, as I've pointed out to many other people, 257.612 applies to signalized intersections. That's why it starts with, &quot;When traffic is controlled by traffic control signals&quot;. As someone pointed out below, it also bans hitting someone using a wheelchair, cane, or walker in a crosswalk, but it doesn't say you have to yield to them. Try again. You're looking for the law that says where traffic signals are not in place or are not in operation... Here's another route - when they updated Michigan UTC in 2002, they struck all the recommended ordinances that were covered by, or conflicted with, state law. So why did they leave that ordinance in? I'm sure there are lots of places that say to yield to pedestrians. I've found a bunch in &quot;What Every Driver Must Know&quot;. It's state law in most other states, and local ordinance in one form or another in lots of Michigan localities. Ann Arbor's used to say you can't &quot;interfere&quot; with a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk. &quot;IMHO he who would suffer the most pain should bear the overall burden of safety.&quot; Wow. So the person with the gun pointed at them has the overall burden of not being shot??? You should run that theory by Riceburner.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

Here is the Michigan law that requires vehicles to yield to pedestrians <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;objectname=mcl-257-612&amp;query=on&amp;highlight=pedestrian%20AND%20yield%20AND%20yield%20AND%20to%20AND%20pedestrian</a> And here is a pamphlet published by the state that includes yielding to pedestrians: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Regardless of fault, a pedestrian has no business taking a chance with traffic. IMHO he who would suffer the most pain should bear the overall burden of safety. It is silly for a single city to try to assist pedestrians like this and give them a false sense of safety that traffic will stop for them.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

Jim - with due respect, you're comparing apples and oranges. Uniform Vehicle Code is a national set of recommended laws, written by the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances. NCUTLO is the national non-profit made up of traffic officials, NHTSA, and other members who write the national model for uniform traffic laws. The NCUTLO website is <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. However, UVC is only available to members, not free to the public. The Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices is a national manual of signs, signals, and markings written by the Federal Highway Administration. Michigan has always had its on MUTCD, but has 'kind of' adopted the Millennium edition of the federal MUTCD as the current Michigan MUTCD. The current federal MUTCD is available at the FHWA website: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. The current Michigan MUTCD is available here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Michigan Vehicle Code is part of Michigan Compiled laws, available here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Michigan Uniform Traffic Code is a set of ordinances recommended by the Michigan State Police for local jurisdictions to adopt. That's available here: <a href=",4643,7-123-1593_47093_25802-36795--,00.html" rel='nofollow'>,4643,7-123-1593_47093_25802-36795--,00.html</a>

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

There is no such thing as a Michigan &quot;Uniform Vehicle Code&quot; It is called the MUTCD, short for the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The MUTCD defines the standards used by traffic engineers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices such as lights, intersection design, railroad crossings, etc. Each state modifies the national MUTCD, tweaking it a bit. Few cities, save Ann Arbor modify it further. It

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

Why isn't there a poll option for &quot;Repeal the Ordnance because it's unsafe for Ann Arbor to have traffic rules materially different from the rest of the state&quot;?

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

The beauty of the flashing LEDs is that it is clear when to stop, when they flash. Then, as soon as the pedestrian has passed, traffic can resume, unlike a traffic light that will have cars waiting long after the person is gone. Then, a few sightings of the AA police lying-in-wait would up compliance to nearly 100%. Stephen Ranzini is correct when he states that our laws must be the same as th rest of the state. Anything else breeds confusion.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

Stephen, that is the option I was looking to vote for. So my &quot;None of the above&quot; votes is a vote for removing this ordinance. KJm there is a state law. It requires motorists to yield to pedestrians. In a cross walk or not, you must yield to he pedestrian. The problem wth A2's is it adds unreasonable, dangerous options.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.

@KJMClark: God forbid anyone should have to wait 2+ minutes to cross a street. That's like waiting to make a left turn from Huron onto 7th at 5pm. Oh wait, dozens of drivers do that every day, and no one's created a new ordinance to ease their suffering. Something must be done!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

@KJM Clark: Even minor differences are dangerous. We should look to a different solution entirely and ought to investigate the approach with pedestrian triggered lighting as suggested by @Jim Osborn. That would help fix the underlying issue. The solution to every problem is NOT a better written law.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

There is no state law, and the difference between Ann Arbor's ordinance and the state police recommended ordinance are minor. We'd be having this same argument if we adopted the UTC version and started enforcing it, except people wouldn't be trotting out this canard all the time, and pedestrians would be standing at curbs waiting 2+ minutes for someone to yield. My wife was crossing in the marked crosswalk near Arrowwood Hills this morning, when a motorist, who should have been able to see one or two hundred feet beforehand that she was *in* the marked crosswalk already, nearly hit her. That was illegal under the UTC ordinance too. Happens all the time.

Silly Sally

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

THis law has ruined traffic flow at State and South U. Cars used to be able to creepo thru at 3 MPH, students would then cross in front and then suddenly pass behind. Now there are traffic jams on State Street. OH $100,000 for a new traffic light!! THe city is rich


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

This is Ann Arbor after all. We do things like redesign roads to actually create traffic jams and more stop and go air pollution and call it traffic calming i.e. Stadium Boulevard

Jim Osborn

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

Other Michigan state legislators should change the Michigan MUTCD to do what Mr. Ranzini is suggesting, further restrict local yokels on a silly, misguided city council from trying to make traffic law.