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Posted on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:41 a.m.

Ann Arbor's new pedestrian safety ordinance seeks to prevent 'playing Frogger' to cross city streets

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Ann Arbor City Council unanimously approved a new pedestrian safety ordinance Monday night that gives walkers the upper hand when trying to brave traffic to cross city streets.


Pedestrians cross Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.

It's a new kind of share-the-road philosophy, and city officials acknowledge it will take time and education to change the current culture. In the words of Police Chief Barnett Jones, it's an effort to stop pedestrians from "playing Frogger trying to cross our roadways."

The ordinance change, brought forward by Council Member Carsten Hohnke and Mayor John Hieftje, clarifies the obligation of motorists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

According to the new ordinance, when traffic control signals aren't in place or aren't in operation, the driver of a vehicle must stop and yield the right-of-way to every pedestrian not only within a crosswalk, but also pedestrians approaching a crosswalk.

"The major change is that you're not required to risk one of your limbs to claim the right to the crosswalk," Hohnke said. "So that if you're intending to enter the crosswalk, if you're about to enter the crosswalk, it now gives police officers the discretion to say (to motorists), 'Hey, you know that person wanted to get into the crosswalk, and I'm going to ask you to provide them the right of way to do that.'"

Under the previous ordinance, Hohnke said, even if a pedestrian was waiting several minutes to enter a crosswalk, police had no opportunity to help them.

"Because of that, they're waiting and waiting and waiting, and what you get is kids that start dashing across the road and that's not good for anybody," Hohnke said. "And so this is a way that a lot of communities across the country have helped address that to say, 'Look, you don't have to leave a position of safety just to cross.'"

Erica Briggs, membership chairwoman for the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, said her group worked with Hohnke and the mayor over the last nine months to bring forward the ordinance revisions. She said the previous ordinance lacked the clarity and strength to protect pedestrians trying to cross at marked crosswalks.

The WBWC is circulating a YouTube video right now that its members say demonstrates the need for the ordinance revisions. Watch it here:

The new ordinance includes safeguards for drivers, too. It states a pedestrian can't suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into a path of a vehicle that is so close it is impossible for the driver to yield.

Also, every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than a marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles.

Jones said the city and police department need to hit the community "very hard" with education about the new ordinance. He called the ordinance a "great foundation" for improving pedestrian safety in Ann Arbor, but he said he's concerned how the city is going to convince drivers that they need to stop when they see pedestrians.


Carsten Hohnke

"I believe we need to find a way to signal the operators of the vehicle that the pedestrian is going to own the roadway," Jones said, noting that in parts of Canada, the culture is such that pedestrians point to the intersection and vehicles stop.

Jones said other communities use a "flag system." When pedestrians walk up to a crosswalk, they pick a flag out of a small canister and hold the flag out.

"That means that 'I'm going to occupy the crosswalk,'" Jones said. "When they cross the walk, they put the flag back in another canister on the other side of the crosswalk."

Jones said signal systems are in place in other communities where a pedestrian walks up, pushes a button, and lights come on to indicate to drivers that the crosswalk is going to be occupied by a pedestrian, and vehicles must stop.

"These are the type of things I believe that we need to consider," he said. "I believe a lot of great work has been done on this ordinance, and I believe that we're going to be moving in the right direction so that our citizens are not playing frogger trying to cross our roadways."

Hohnke called it an exciting step forward.

"It's a big improvement for our pedestrian safety as well as the pleasantness of walking and biking in our community," he said. "And it really brings us up to speed with what a number of communities across the country are doing. This is very similar to an ordinance that's been in place in Boulder, Colo., for over 20 years and that they've had a lot of success with."

But Hohnke said it's only one step in continuing efforts to make Ann Arbor more pedestrian friendly. "We're looking forward to taking on the next ones," he said.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:07 p.m.

Establishing yellow blinking lights at these pedestrian crosswalks AND SIGNS that say pedestrians have the right of way would be helpful as well(as they do in Boulder, Colorado) would go a long way in emphasizing that pedestrians have the right of way. My concern is that as I, as a driver, when slowing to a stop for the pedestrian in the crosswalk that some idiot in the car behind me will plow into the back of me........


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:29 a.m.

I used to live in Olympia, WA and they had a common system of they "light up" crosswalk that had a sensor when a pedestrian was about to cross, and lights in the road aimed toward drivers blinked to alert them. I've seen them in Detroit of all places too, and they always seemed to work well. Perhaps this would have been a better investment than those ridiculous and unnecessary parking meters downtown.


Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 11:24 p.m.

What ever happened to "I BRAKE FOR JAKE"? The new clarification to the law is great. New traffic control devices on Plymouth rd. and the other various pedestrian crossings shown in the video would be even greater! I couldn't help but notice a lot of the crossings in the video looked new and possibly even unfinished, perhaps signals will be installed in the future? -db

Jason Plowman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

I just wanted to clear up one misconception many of you are making about the new ordinance. According to the article: "According to the new ordinance, WHEN TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNALS AREN'T IN PLACE or aren't in operation, the driver of a vehicle must stop and yield the right-of-way to every pedestrian not only within a crosswalk, but also pedestrians approaching a crosswalk." So those who think this will have any effect on downtown corners with crosswalk signals or after U-of-M games at Main and Stadium are clearly mistaken. This new ordinance is out there to make it safer for our children in places where a signal is is not placed and not just to make your lives more difficult as many of you feel.


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 12:47 p.m.

OHHH, I am so excited for this law to go into effect! Anyone who is against it has not been to Massachusetts. We visited that fine state a few years back and were duly impressed by the level of respect, civility and safety afforded to their pedestrians. Some people do not like change....this is for the better. All we need to put it into action is education, education, education. I am also intrigued by how we will prevent the pedestrians in four lane crosswalks from being harmed when one car stops but the others do not.

Riin Gill

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 3:26 p.m.

Every morning I cross the street at a mid-block marked crosswalk to get to my bus stop. There are multiple signs marking the crosswalk, including an illuminated yellow CROSSWALK sign suspended overhead. Some mornings it's easy to cross. Other mornings I've waited while 20 cars pass before I can cross to the island where I wait for more cars to pass from the other direction. It's clear that I'm trying to cross the street, but on the extremely rare occasion that a motorist actually yields to me, I figure they must not be from around here. I've been waiting for this change for years. Thank you, city council!

Linda Diane Feldt

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 10:52 a.m.

I appreciate this revision to the existing ordinance. People aren't going to be consulting the letter of the law as they drive and walk. But there is a cultural shift going on here, and I welcome it. We are encouraging walking. We are putting in small measures to make Ann Arbor more pedestrian friendly, and safe. Watching 7th and Washington has been a fascinating example of how that shift is happening. I've lived in that immediate area for more than 30 years. What has happened in the last year is fascinating, and marvelous. Cars are slowing down, expecting and watching for pedestrians, and stopping to let them cross. What has been a difficult and dangerous intersection for decades has become a friendlier place to be, interact between cars and pedestrians, and a calmer more pleasant place to cross. And apparently safer as well. Ann Arbor, the mayor and city council, the DDA, AATA, The Washtenaw Bicycle and Walking Coalition, Get Downtown,and so many other entities are changing the way we view transportation. Every time a driver stops for a pedestrian, you are reinforcing this concept. I hope more and more people will understand and appreciate the larger vision and goal here and welcome the chance to reinforce it - as a pedestrian and as a driver. And yes, with this new ordinance I as a pedestrian now have two reasons to walk the extra distance to a crosswalk. To have a friendly positive interaction with a driver, and to cross more easily. And when I'm driving, it is a pleasure to surprise a pedestrian with courteous positive behavior. I hope that in a few months that won't be such a surprise, but something we eventually take for granted. A city with lots of walkers is healthy in so many ways, and opportunities to be kind are one of the more important benefits as we appreciate our fellow travelers in life. This ordinance is nothing new, it is the law in many other cities and states. We're just now catching up.

Peter Baker

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 10:39 a.m.

I think everyone is blowing the "mind reading" stuff way out of proportion. We put ordinances in place to give police the legal justification to use their judgement in cases like this. If a cop sees a particularly egregious violation of a motorist not allowing a pedestrian the right of way, then they have city law behind them to do something about it. If it seems iffy, it's a judgement call on the police officer's part to decide whether or not it's worth doing something about. Just like speeding, legally no one is EVER allowed to be going 5 miles over the speed limit, but it's up to the police to make the call, and if that 5 miles over happens to be particularly dangerous in some given situation, then I want the police to have the legal justification to make it stop. The letter of the law is a world away from how it actually gets implemented day to day; all the more reason to have informed, judicious, smart police that exercise good judgement and make the streets safer for everybody.


Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

Repeal the ordinance............before its to late....... oops is it already to late? probably. What you have here is similar to a drunk at a bar. People in power are just like drunks.......when its time to leave they dont listen and would rather fight. To me this is a adequate description of the current mayor and most of city council.


Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 4:52 a.m.

This plan is poorly thought out. Approaching the crosswalk??? You've got to be kidding me! The mix of problematic jaywalkers, poorly timed lights, distracted drivers, under-skilled bicyclists, insufficient maintenance and repairs, will eventually drive more and more people away from A2. Crosswalk reform is simply bureaucratic busywork which gives only one or two people significance. If we're going to continue with this then the issues should be crack down on jaywalking, educate walkers and bikers in a way that they can protect themselves, and develop an intelligent plan (FOR ONCE) which allows motorists to flow in and out of the city with ease!


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 9:08 p.m.

I see most people believe this is foolish. I love the "pedestrian and driver education" comments. Just how on earth are you going to educate every person in Ann Arbor? Every visitor? When I was a lad, I was instructed by my parents upon approaching a street to stop, look both ways and wait for traffic to clear before crossing. A big issue here is a rogue city putting a local ordinance on the books that does not exist elsewhere in most cities. This is a heavily visited city and you cannot expect everyone to know about this silly requirement. I do not think cities should be allowed to enact an ordinance that does not exist in neighboring areas since its impossible for drivers to know what nonsense is on the books in different cities. Still do not see any proof this is necessary.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 9:10 a.m.

Pedestrians should be required to come to a stop at the crosswalk before crossing (you know that rule we're taught as kids, "stop and look both ways!), and then cars should be required to stop when there is a ped standing at the cross walk. This makes it easier for the car to spot the pedestrian and to be more certain about the ped's intent to cross. Otherwise a ped approaching a crosswalk is a confusing signal because they could keep walking down the sidewalk, and cars who stop for them create an unnecessary stop in the flow of traffic and the suddenly stop-go-stop-go of cars uncertain about what peds are doing increases the chance of accidents.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 7:57 a.m.

"... Mind reading is not a required skill for driving a m.v. This places an incredible burden on motorists...." Then why has this procedure, passed unanimously by council, worked so well in so many places for so long? Are Michigan drivers really that dense?


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 10:41 p.m.

Um. I'm a lawyer and I don't understand this. How is a driver supposed to know if a pedestrian, who has not yet even reached a crosswalk, wants to cross a road? Mind reading is not a required skill for driving a m.v. This places an incredible burden on motorists. Yet another stupid act of the Ann Arbor city council.

Left is Right

Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 10:26 p.m.

Hmmm... smoking a little too much utopium? I've probably walked more than 20,000 miles over the years in this town, and yes, there have been a few close calls (especially from drivers turning left from Huron onto Division) but I think this ordinance is primarily a feelgood measure and revenue generator. Pedestrians should *always* be on the lookout for two tons of fast moving steel. I'm not trading my "visceral sense of fear" (which is well overplayed in any case) for a city ordinance--especially when many out-of-town drivers may not be familiar with the local customs. In certain western states it (sort of) works because it's statewide. But here? Maybe we can have Barnett's boys educate the barbarians at our gates. Pedestrian safety is a big issue but be practical, put in plenty of crosswalks with pedestrian activated signals that are linked to other signals (maybe we can bring in Dingell and show him the need for federal funding). Heck, they even have these in East Germany. As for "intent"? Come again? Will they pass out mind-readers to drivers? I relish the opportunity to test this in court. Poorly thought out ordinances cheapen the law. They reduce our respect for even the important laws. BTW, what are the car-pedestrian accident rates and how do they compare with similar communities that have such laws? I didn't see any mention of that in the article. It surely must have been part of the debate.


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 1:38 p.m.

The proposal is lacking one vital stipulation: Pedestrians should not use cell phones while in the crosswalk.


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 12:28 p.m.

@ ktalley:  Per your comments on the opening paragraph, I earlier copied relevant text from the ordinance revision and pasted it here: -------------------- Up further above and largely throughout, sadly, a number of commenters — who have opposed the mayor and Hohnke in other discussions — continue to come here to post various red herring and ad hominem arguments against a very simple, logical ordinance revision that appropriately clarifies rights & responsibilities for pedestrians and drivers at crosswalks. Per the hostile nature of these particular critical comments, might we all go ahead, then, and assume that the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition has fallen headlong into some terrifying, swirling axis of political evil led by council member Hohnke and the mayor? That the only way in which the righteous political opposition can lead the community out of such an ethical morass is by proudly raising the banner of narcissism and championing "astonishingly aggressive" driving on local streets and roads? Should there be any upsets in the primary, I'd prefer that elected challengers cause city council to lean more leftward. However, if this discussion offers an indication, they will instead help it lurch toward the right, since in this thread their supporters belittle a helpful pedestrian safety measure while offering no comment on Arizona-style logic put forth by a few other ordinance critics. -------------------- In sharp contrast to the above critics, I'd like to thank 'safeman' and Susan Montgomery, to name two, for offering genuinely constructive criticism of the ordinance revision. Complementing the revision with funding for a driver/pedestrian education program, as well as installing blinking yellow lights at all crosswalks, are among ideas well worthy of city council's consideration.


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

During a brief visit to Juneau Alaska, my sisters and I were amazed to find drivers stopping and allowing us to cross the street. I was told that the law (don't know if this applied to all of Alaska or just Juneau city limits) required vehicles to stop and permit pedestrians who were at street corners to cross. Having grown up in Ann Arbor we remained skeptical and wary.


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 10:06 a.m.

A recent comment reminds me that there's a major error in the first para of this article, which says this ordinance change "gives walkers and bicyclists the upper hand when trying to brave traffic to cross city streets." The language in fact only applies to pedestrians; it would only apply to a cyclist who has dismounted in order to use a crosswalk to get across the street. People are reading enough into this pretty straightforward change that it would be nice to eliminate at least this misconception. That first para also promotes another misconception: that this is a new ordinance rather than a revision of an existing one. The only thing "new" is that it makes clear that motorists must yield to pedestrians who are approaching a crosswalk to use it. The rest of the changes were simply rewordings to make the previous language more direct and understandable by the public and police officers alike. It would have been nice if the article had included or linked to both the former and revised ordinances to make that clear - you have to be pretty determined to find the ordinance language in the link provided.


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 9:32 a.m.

I am all for not hitting pedestrians or cyclists (or, for that matter, other cars), and I always give pedestrians the right-of-way, even when they are not using common sense. I'm not sure we need additional legislation to do what we are already supposed to be doing. I once worked with an undergraduate who stated the student attitude like this, "I'm a University of Michigan student. The world is my crosswalk." That has certainly been my impression (at least in my area of town, near central campus and downtown) - that pedestrians, especially college students, around here are very aggressive. They cross against lights, they cross at places other than crosswalks, and they don't always take the shortest route (my husband once honked at a student who was walking down the very middle of the road, rather than crossing - the student simply shot him a bird and continued to walk in the street). Maybe in other parts of town, pedestrians feel like they can't get across the road, but near campus I feel like our town is far more pedestrian-friendly than car-friendly. I am fine with that, but I do wish pedestrians would follow the rules of the road as well. I also wish that cyclists would either be treated as motorists or as pedestrians, but not as both. As a pedestrian, I have almost been mowed down by a cyclist on a downtown sidewalk. As a driver, I have had cyclists cross walks against the light as I have been trying to turn.

Peter Baker

Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 8:17 a.m.

I think it's a great idea. More enforcement on both sides is needed; ticket pedestrians that jaywalk, ticket motorists that don't yield to pedestrians; win win. If you're supposed to wait for traffic to clear, why have a crosswalk at all? We might as well cross wherever we want as long as there's a break in traffic. And it's a total red herring to point to downtown as the example of why we don't need this ordinance; every corner down there has a stop light, so of course you're going to wait. But what about Plymouth Road, or Beaks, where there are no stop signs or lights for nearly a mile, and the city has spent a bunch of money putting in big hanging "CROSSWALK" signs that every body ignores? "Frogger" is as apt a metaphor as there can be. I lived in California for a few years before moving back to Michigan. It's completely taken for granted that crosswalks are THE safe place to cross the street, and I don't think anyone sees it as some imposition on the freedoms of drivers, it's simply the only safe way to have accelerated heavy metal vehicles mixing with slow fleshy bodies on foot. Don't worry everybody, you'll get used to it, eventually take it for granted, and end up loving it.


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

This law is a perfect example of the lack of priorities within the city goverment. And in my opinion shows a lack of common sense. Why not do something usefull like make a ordinance that forces the A2 "CFO Tom Crawford" Stop all the overspending and wasting of taxpayers money. Hmmmmmmmm?


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

As for Councilman Hohnke's reference to Boulder, have a look at how Boulder does it: Yes, we have a similar ordinance. No argument. But note how the CITY of Boulder has invested considerably more MONEY in improving compliance!


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 7:22 a.m.

Another non-problem solved. Meanwhile as we turn off streetlights in our neighborhoods...


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 7 a.m.

Maybe "For" vs "Against" this "new" ordinance is an unfortunate casting of this discussion. This article says, "The Ann Arbor City Council unanimously approved a new pedestrian safety ordinance Monday night that gives walkers and bicyclists the upper hand when trying to brave traffic to cross city streets." "Gives walkers and bicyclists the upper hand..." And my question is: How so? What has changed? What WILL change? What will that change look like, that is: What will be the practical, measurable effect? And: "The new ordinance includes safeguards for drivers, too. It states a pedestrian can't suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into a path of a vehicle that is so close it is impossible for the driver to yield. "Also, every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than a marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles." I'm asking how this will be enforced. It's not enough to revise an ordinance. It has to have a practical effect, and I simply would like to know how that's going to be realized. PS There's a crosswalk by Allmendinger Park on Pauline. It gets a lot of usage by folks walking dogs, joggers, families crossing to enjoy the park. I'd like to see an "educational outreach" there like the big lite-brite sign at the pedestrian median at Seventh and Washington.


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 12:10 a.m.

Another opportunity for the armed tax collectors to collect more money. Who gets to decide when a "pedestrians [is] approaching a crosswalk"? Such stupidity - throw out the entire council.

Louise Chang

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 9:18 p.m.

I am alright with the new law. But how about all those college students who blatantly cross the road while talking on their cell phones and the light is clearly green for the oncoming traffic. In Calif., it is a moving violation to jaywalk - so both drivers and pedestrians respect each other's safety and right of way.

Brian Kuehn

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:40 p.m.

Hans: Thanks for a moment of levity among all the gnashing of teeth.

Hans Masing

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 5:34 p.m.

On Plymouth Road, the bus stops are at the same location as the pedestrian crossings. On many occasions driving on Plymouth, I will stop for a pedestrian standing in the crosswalk entrance who then just stares at me like I'm an idiot - turns out that (1) they were waiting for the bus and (2) I am an idiot.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 4:54 p.m.

I'll bet Arizona doesn't have a silly ordinance like this one. Hey... look both ways before you cross the street.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 4:54 p.m.

@ktalley That is correct and the comfortably seated drivers in their air-conditioned cars should never have to stop for those scofflaw not in cars. Pedestrians and bikers that are hit by cars end up in the hospital or dead. The driver, in his or her little rolling living room, continues on with a dent in the car but no other injuries. Come on, how hard is it to allow a pedestrian or biker to cross a road?


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 4:12 p.m.

They need to do what I saw in Canada. Pedestrians go first then the cars. But I agree with one poster here, we need to educate the UM students about pedestrian safety as well. Some do walk right in front of a car as it is trying to leave the stop sign. I have some walk right in front of me as I am moving expecting me to stop. I find driving State street an extreme challenge. It is not the driver that needs an education, but the pedestrian as well. I have seen police ticket for jay walking. But not lately. Good luck with this new ordinance.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 3:57 p.m.

Drive carefully Cross streets carefully


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 2:59 p.m.

I'm still finding it hard to get handle on the arguments against this ordinance change. They seem to favor this scenario: 1. Pedestrians should always,always, always cross streets at crosswalks and nowhere else, whether that means walking a few extra steps or eight blocks. 2. Having arrived at the crosswalk, pedestrians should stand and wait until traffic clears before crossing. Exactly as they're required to do at locations without crosswalks. Have I got that right? (Except for the part about motorists having to be mindreaders, of course.)


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 2:48 p.m.

I think we're all agreed that it is pedestrian safety we want to enhance. The complaint here is that this ordinance adds another layer of UNenforcement to normal traffic laws which are themselves NOT BEING ENFORCED. If people obeyed speed limits, pedestrians would be safer (and cyclists, and other drivers). Etc. The spirit of the New Jersey law, frankly, as evidenced by the article I cited, is that pedestrians THEMSELVES have to obey responsibilities that either legal ("jaywalking" ordinances) or commonsensical. Consider this: From the Journal of Community Health, "The association of distraction and caution displayed by pedestrians at a lighted crosswalk" "Abstract The rates of deaths and injuries among pedestrians have fallen in recent years, but still remain public health problems as about 5000 pedestrians die each year. Because pedestrians have been shown to be responsible or partially responsible for many of the crashes in which they are involved, we sought to assess the relationship of distracted walking and performing routine cautionary behaviors of pedestrians crossing a busy street in a southwestern city at an intersection, adjacent a university. The behavior of 866 individuals was recorded by trained observers as pedestrians walked across a 105-foot wide street served by a stop light and zebra painted crosswalk. We defined distracted pedestrians as those wearing headphones, talking on a cell phone, eating, drinking, smoking or talking as they crossed the street. Caution was measured by looking left and right, and entering the crosswalk only when the white proceed light was illuminated. We found that only 13.5% of walkers looked left and right and entered the crosswalk while the white light was flashing. Approximately 20% of walkers were distracted as they crossed the street. Regression analysis indicated that distraction was negatively, but weakly associated with displaying cautious pedestrian behaviors. Because traffic lights were routinely ignored and lack of caution was predicted by distraction, we suggest that inexpensive education efforts target pedestrians near college campuses." Courteous and safe drivers need no ordinance to "enforce" courteous and safe driving behavior. HOW will this revision make anything safer? Enforce the speed limits, educate pedestrians. It's so easy to pass laws, but ultimately, does the passage of a law (or a revision of one already on the books) necessarily result in changes in behavior? And it's behavioral change we want.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

It won't work UNLESS the city council comes up with money to put flashing yellow lights at every pedestrian crosswalk that's at a non-intersection. Many Michigan towns have these but you really need the flashing light to create a yield situation to bring it to the driver's attention as just a yellow sign isn't enough.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 12:50 p.m.

"... Does this say it is legal to jaywalk?" No.  That section of the revised ordinance to which you refer appears completely unchanged from the previous version. Again, the only change is that drivers are now clearly told they must yield to a pedestrian near the edge of a curb who waits to enter a crosswalk where no traffic signal exists. "... It's not sociopathic, as one commentator termed it, to expect give and take on the roadways...." Yes, it is sociopathic when some demand that pedestrians relinquish their rights under the law for the convenience of impatient, me-first drivers. Legal rights are legal rights — they do not function as a bargaining chips for daily "give and take" negotiations on the streets between moving vehicles and walkers. It is also irrational when some writers demand that the city never clarify pedestrian rights and never enforce them just because local police do not prioritize trying to catch all pedestrian law-breakers in all places at all hours of the day and night. Also, the mayor's and Hohnke's political opponents should feel deeply embarrassed that a few of their supporters wrote here to condemn this ordinance revision, sometimes in the name of the challengers. After all, the revision passed unanimously, supported by all sides on city council. Lastly, the New Jersey changes appear to have been approved earlier this year in a spirit similar to Monday night's council vote.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 12:22 p.m.

Consider this story from New Jersey: N.J. law now requires drivers stop for pedestrians in crosswalks" Note this: "Pedestrians may also be cited under state law for failing to use due care when crossing. The law requires them to obey pedestrian signals and use crosswalks at signalized intersections as well as yield the right of way to traffic if they are not crossing within a crosswalk or at an intersection. Failure to comply with the law carries a $54 fine, plus court costs." What we're discussing is equal enforcement and the legal responsibilities of ALL "road-sharers." The article then describes the educational outreach accompanying the implementation. Finally, safety tips for pedestrians are included, such as: "Do not attempt to cross while talking or texting on a cell phone. Pedestrian inattention is a common cause of pedestrian-motor vehicle conflicts." I suggest we consider a similar "anti-texting ordinance" for pedestrians in A2.

Karen St John

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 11:48 a.m.

It's not sociopathic, as one commentator termed it, to expect give and take on the roadways. If drivers submit to this law, will pedestrians conform to the traffic laws concerning them? The ordinance, in and of itself, does address some potential problems. Ann Arbor drivers needn't worry too much about many pedestrians downtown won't even come near the legal intersections and crosswalks.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

(c) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. Does this say it is legal to jaywalk? I thought pedestrians always had to cross at an intersection or at a crosswalk. This says they can cross anywhere, as long as they yield to traffic.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

The city council passes too many proscriptive ordinances, just because they can. Not everything needs to be messed with.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

There are sooooo many flaws and lack of common sense inherent in this issue!! Why do AA City officials cut back on police and fire department budgets and this stuff at the same time? Let this one go people and anticipate which roads, bridges and utilities are gong to need repair BEFORE they are unsafe and broken.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 11:14 a.m.

Repeating the last sentence by the visitor and letter writer from Berkeley: "...Good luck in changing the attitudes of your astonishingly aggressive drivers." As an FYI, below is relevant text from the revised ordinance, as copied from the document supplied on the city web site (via Ryan's link at top): ------------------------------ 10:148. Pedestrians crossing streets. (a) When traffic-control signals are not in place or are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to every pedestrian approaching or within a crosswalk. (b) A pedestrian shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into a path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. (c) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. ------------------------------ Based on the above text, this is the bottom line: • When a pedestrian has entered a designated public crosswalk — or stands on the curbside in front of a crosswalk, facing the street and waiting to enter — drivers must yield the right of way. • Where there are no traffic lights, and even when using a designated crosswalk, pedestrians must not simply leap out into the street right in front of moving traffic just a short distance away. • When not using crosswalks, pedestrians must always yield. This even includes UM students who leave the curb at random locations. The ONLY substantive change is that drivers must now yield to a pedestrian who steps up in front of a crosswalk (where no traffic signal exists) and waits to enter. The pedestrian is no longer effectively required to play a game of "chicken" by entering the street FIRST and hoping (against hope) to shame drivers into legally sharing the roadway, as is already required. This is consistent with Connecticut law, as linked elsewhere today on this site. ------------------------------ To oppose this modest alteration in existing civil procedure is to reveal a positively sociopathic, me-first outlook on how we interact in public space.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 10:01 a.m.

The video shows a woman with a white cane unable to cross the street. Somehow, this ordinance is supposed to eliminate that problem. Yet, there already is a state law that makes it a criminal misdemeanor to not take any and all precautions necessary to avoid acident or injury to that person. In general, that means they must stop if the person is ready to enter the crosswalk. So how does this ordinance work where the state law doesn't? Further, the ordinance seems to give a right-of-way to cyclists. But, as I understand it, AA's cycling ordinance normally requires cyclists to ride in the road and they must obey the rules of the road. So, why are cyclists now treated as pedestrians? That's going to be confusing for sure. Does a cyclist in the road have to stop for a cyclist approaching a crosswalk from the sidewalk? It seems to me that the best approach is to identify those crosswalk areas that need stop signs or traffic signals and install them. Wasn't this the solution the city opted for after that tragic accident some years back near the Islamic center on Plymouth Road? I agree that this is an unnecessary ordinance where other rules or solutions are already available.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.

It would also help if those crossing the steet on foot (ie students) would actually LOOK BOTH WAYS before moving! Seriously, no matter what ordinance is in place we ALL need to pay attention and communicate somehow. I agree with most of these comments. I also think it's much safer to cross mid block as long as it's clear!


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 9:02 a.m.

Even with the law people won't stop. I've lived on Liberty/stadium for years, drivers don't care.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:59 a.m.

@ KJMClark sting operations?... because Michigan motorists don't know the laws they're supposed to obey. There are SO many driving laws that go ignored by BOTH drivers and police. Lets see if I can think of a few I have noticed just this week (and its only Wednesday): Tailgating Texting / emailing while driving Blocking an intersection Turning or changing lanes without using a directional (Wes Craven aside) Turning from a middle lane Shaving while driving (I kid you not yesterday, 8:15 am Main Street driving south, tan Toyota) KJMClark I challenge you to quiz the police and ask them to compare and contrast the number of tickets they issue for speeding, compared to every other infraction they cite.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

8:30 am, two women are walking east on Jefferson toward Division; they are on the south side of the road. The west side of Division is tree-lined so when they get to Division they are in shadow and obscured by the trees. The traffic, of course, is one-way driving north, so these women are coming from the drivers left on the near side of the intersection. There is no traffic light at this intersection but there is a painted crosswalk. Apparently these two women are up on local ordinances and wanted to see for themselves how much havoc they could cause. They did not pause for one second at the curb to allow a driver to adjust and yield them the right of way. They never broke stride or even bother to look down the road and make eye contact with a driver. Only looking forward they just kept on walking, as if they had a green light. Not one, but two, cars needed to take evasive maneuvers and nearly crashed and / or hit these women. A third car almost rear-ended one of the first two. This is not the spirit of the law and these women should be ashamed of themselves. Mr. Stanton, it is not the autocentric culture it is just plain and simple arrogance and rudeness towards others. I have little doubt that the same people who dont yield to pedestrians (or allow left turns in front of them, or dont leave street crossings open when the road ahead is stopped, or dont merge politely, or do tailgate, etc.) as drivers, will be walking off the curb in front t of cars as pedestrians. Because the law now seems to say they can.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

Stupid solution to a non-problem. Way to go, Ann Arbor City Council. Glad you spent nine months working on this one.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:28 a.m.

I just watched the video it proves absolutley nothing. So folks have to wait a few mintes to cross.... Big deal! And, you should hurry up and get to the other side. That is what I was walways told as a kid.

Duane Collicott

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

This is maybe a useful law for pedestrians with less-than-average intelligence. However, how are we supposed to handle a situation where pedestrian with average or better intelligence approaches a street at a crosswalk and wisely waits until traffic has cleared? Do both the car and the pedestrian sit and wait until the other has gone? Sounds like gridlock to me.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:16 a.m.

dont't drivers already have enough to worry about? Like not being rearened by the moron with his head down texting on her cell phone? Or, the idiot in front of you who slams on his breks because he was too busy talking on his cell phone or reading the paper too pay attention to what is going on in front of him. This ordinance is stupid.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:12 a.m.

It seems odd that a city that wants to be green would ask a motor vehicle (engine running) to stop every time a pedestrian approaches a crosswalk. We may end up having cars in virtual parkinglots wasting gas in high pedestrian areas. Pedestrians need to think about the energy being expended by a bus, truck, or car that stops for them to pass. Imagine a fully loaded bus moving at 35 MPH stopping for a single person to cross, it doesn't make much sense to me at this point. It seems like the pedestrian should get a ticket for the energy they wasted to bring the bus to a full stop when they could have crossed after it passed. Good luck w this one A2.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

Same Roads. Same Rules. Equal access, according to law. EQUAL ENFORCEMENT, ACCORDING TO LAW.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

This is so unrealistic (think S. University and State--continuous gridlock) that I will vote against Mayor Heiftje solely on the basis of this statute. Put in lights at these crosswalks to balance the needs of both, or expect rear end collisions and injured pedestrians who confuse and then step in front of cars. Cars at the crosswalk on Plymouth road are going 35-40 mph. They're going to stop suddenly to let a lone pedestrian--who might be only thinking about crossing-- to cross?? Wham! Idiocy. Need new leaders, instead of pinhead ideologues.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 7:48 a.m.

Pedestrians have it pretty good in Ann Arbor. I am one and a driver too. The law does address pedestrians outside of the crosswalks but too many ignore this and think they have the "right to cross when they where they please. Sadly if a car cannot stop the price of arrogance is very high. Also many pedestrians cross against the light in crosswalks holding up traffic. Hopefully alert officers will "educate" them to that folly too. Now why do pedestrians in AA have it so good? Just go for a walk in Las Vegas and try to cross the street legally in crosswalks etc. If have been there you know what I mean. If not,take a trip out there and watch for awhile to make it part of an educational experience.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 7:14 a.m.

This is really pretty simple, long overdue, and already in place in much of the country. There's usually a small ramp, going from the sidewalk to the crosswalk. If a person is in that sidewalk/crosswalk ramp, and heading toward the road, this change applies. It doesn't require mind-reading. Also, if you are in a line of cars, and the first one or two are so close that they couldn't yield, but you could, you have to yield. You don't get to blow through the crosswalk because you were just following everyone else. This is what yield means. If you approach a yield sign as part of a line of cars and there's another car approaching, it's the same thing. Just because the first few get to go through, that doesn't mean you get to ignore the yield sign. I agree that this will require police enforcement, including sting operations, because Michigan motorists don't know the laws they're supposed to obey, and have ignored them for so long. Driving is a privilege. Pedestrians have always had the right of way. You may not be able to bully pedestrians quite as much, but we'll all live.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 6:42 a.m.

I hate to add to all this, but one extra point: I drive (for a living) on campus. Mind-reading is a job requirement. But, I can't tell you how irritating to me it is to witness the University's official Orientation teams deliberately leading large groups of incoming students into busy streets, away from crosswalks, and holding up traffic that has just started up from an intersection. It's as if the University is training the students to ignore the crosswalks and common sense. I agree with a previous comment that central campus should be vehicle-free. Let commuters walk from outlying bus stops.

Susan Montgomery

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 6:15 a.m.

In other states and Canada everyone stops for pedestrians on crosswalks. The issue on Plymouth Rd is that if I try to stop my car for a pedestrian, and I have tried, two things happen 1) I get close to being rear-ended by the car behind me, and 2) the cars in the other lane don't stop, so I'm almost setting up the pedestrian to get run over by the other car. If ALL of us agreed to do it, great, but I won't do it around here. Farmington had a great educational campaign a little while ago downtown, but it involved police standing at many intersections and making sure that everyone stopped, lots of signage, etc. If this passes it's going to have to include such a level of driver education.

Karen St John

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 12:41 a.m.

I have very mixed feelings about this sort of ordinance. The safety of children, and those who are impeded in their crossing abilities, certainly should have some relief from traffic congestion and having to play "Frogger" as it were. I have serious apprehensions as to the dent the law will put into pedestrian-motorist accidents. By no means does the entirety of pedestrian safety rest on the shoulders of motorists. Pedestrians MUST behave themselves! Pedestrians who jaywalk, walk around with an iThingy in one's ear, or dart amidst traffic on foot or on a bicycle with no regard to traffic laws, are recklessly endangering their own lives. This is distracting to drivers. Very distracting! Conceivably, a motorist could run over someone crossing legally because a pedestrian acting illegally forced their attentions onto avoiding collision with them. Will there be concurrent efforts to enforce traffic safety behaviors amongst pedestrians? I do not buy the notion that students should somehow be exempt...they are learning to survive in this world, to care of themselves, and being prudent is absolutely part of this. One commenter noted that Ann Arborites over-think many things. I would posit that this ordinance is not an example of over-thinking; rather, it is an example of too quickly proposing an under-thought out ordinance.

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 12:21 a.m.

A reader wrote me an e-mail that I thought worth sharing here: My husband and I spent last semester in Ann Arbor, while he was on leave from the University of California, Berkeley. We found many things to love in Ann Arbor, but being pedestrians in your autocentric culture was not among them, and we are pleased that you are attempting to decrease the pedestrians' handicap. That said, we don't recommend the flag system. Berkeley tried it at a few dangerous intersections several years ago. The flags very soon ended up in the hands of delighted toddlers who couldn't bear to put them back in the canisters after their parents or nannies had allowed the tykes to carry them across the streets. The money to replace them ran out much sooner than anticipated, and the pilot program was judged a failure. Blinking cats-eyes outlining crosswalks work a whole lot better, being much easier for drivers to see and harder for souvenir- seekers to run off with, however attractive they might be. Good luck in changing the attitudes of your astonishingly aggressive drivers.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 10:41 p.m.

I'd very much like to thank the WBWC, council member Hohnke, and the mayor for their initiative to make it safer and more functional to move around town on foot. Many Michigan drivers badly need to be retrained to act more like Canadians and Western Europeans in regard to showing basic courtesy and consideration for pedestrians. And it's sad, though, that a few seem to attack a worthwhile new ordinance mainly as a way to score political points against the mayor and city council ahead of the August primary. But it's even sadder when many righteously argue that drivers, in effect, should hold a nearly unfettered right to carry out daily displays of disrespect toward people who quite legally cross the street. While I've never been "run into," it is unfortunately rather routine for those behind the wheel to challenge pedestrians who use crosswalks or cross at intersections with the light. It's as if drivers say to walkers, "Do you seriously insist on asserting your legal right to cross? We dare you to try!" Getting to the other side of the road too often becomes a game of chicken. A car will go right ahead and start its right turn just as you enter the crossing with the "Walk" light in your favor. Meanwhile, at well-traveled intersections managed by stop signs (such as Fourth and Catherine), a percentage of drivers will view compliance with pedestrian rights as optional during rush hour — and walkers have to correctly guess which ones. Lastly, as seen in the video above, using a mid-block crosswalk in a busy area often calls for careful, judicious negotiation in order to assure your continued existence. Ultimately, this ordinance revision is a moderate clarification telling people to clean up their act when driving along city streets. Is it really so 'wrong' for someone to get a ticket for bullying the foot traffic with motored weaponry?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 10:26 p.m.

I have never seen so many "intelligent" people with a propensity to make something so "simple" so complicated as to render it completely unmanageable. The tendency for Ann Arbor residents to over think that which is simple seems to be a local pastime. The arrogance of drivers who are arguing over pedestrian rights is just mind boggling. Here's a clue to obeying this don't have a right to run down pedestrians. It doesn't really matter where they are. It is your obligation to be "looking" for potential road hazards when driving and "avoiding" them. It's called "driving" a vehicle which indicates active participation in 'not' hitting things or people. Is that simple enough for you? Maybe we need a law that says hit a person, go to jail, period.

Elizabeth Nelson

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 10:17 p.m.

This city is supposed to be an educated town, but reading the comments here, you would never know it. I've heard people say that many of the folks commenting on this website are from outside the city and I would enter this comment page into evidence as Exhibit A. Come on down to Pauline and try using the crosswalk at Redeemer (without police assistance). I've seen cars blow past the CROSSING GUARD when schoolchildren are present. The crowd of "SHEESH! Only in Ann Arbor!" should probably be posting comments on a website related to the town they actually live in, not it's embarrassing that anyone might look at these comment pages and assume that they reflect the thoughts/opinions/logic/intelligence of actual residents.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 10:06 p.m.

"There is no excusse for not taking the time to walk down to a crosswalk, and wait for the road to be clear. " @joco: How about the fact that the nearest crosswalk might be 4-8 blocks away? Which is the case on many stretches of Huron, to name just one. And why bother walking *any* distance to a crosswalk if you just have to stand there and wait for traffic to clear anyway? Might the utter meaninglessness of crosswalks under the old ordinance be one reason people just choose to cross wherever it's convenient? Odd how so many seem are focused exclusively on crowded downtown and campus areas, as if these are the only places that people walk. As someone has already pointed out, this ordinance applies only to non-signalized crosswalks, which aren't all that prevalent in those areas. It's unclear yet whether "traffic control signals" includes stop signs as well, which would mean that, for example, South U/ State would not be affected.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:38 p.m.

How about an ordinance requiring pedestrians to actually cross at marked crosswalks instead of in the middle of the road, as is very common on campus? Nothing irritates me more than those who walk out in the middle of the street, without looking mind you, and when you beep your horn because you've almost hit them, they give you the evil eye.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:19 p.m.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. It WILL impede traffic and at certain times, like class changes, being on campus, or anywhere near it, will be something to avoid. I think I'll spend my money elsewhere.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:07 p.m.

"Since 1929 [in Connecticut], pedestrians have had the right of way in crosswalks. If a pedestrian is at the curb of or in a crosswalk all vehicles must slow down or stop to allow him to reach either the opposite side of the street or a "safety and other vehicle traffic (buses, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, etc. ) must slow down or stop in front of a crosswalk when a pedestrian is using or is about to use a crosswalk. " Huh. So much for the wacko liberal Ann Arbor theory. Perhaps Connecticut is populated primarily by mindreaders?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 8:50 p.m.

"Because the fact will remain that people in Ann Arbor have no idea what a cross walk is for in the first place!" @joco: OK, enlighten us. What is a crosswalk for?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 8:20 p.m.

If there is already state laws that address this issue and the city of Ann Arbor passes it's own because the state police are not enforcing the law. Isn't these the same as the state of Arizonia passing an immigration law because the federal government is not enforcing it's own laws. Maybe the State of Arizona should pass a resolution in protest of the new Ann Arbor oridance.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 6:55 p.m.

@kathryn I in no way would discourage those who choose to walk from doing so but with every choice comes responsibility. As you so noted -- cars weigh a ton and more -- so why challenge a car? Even if you have the right of way and the law is on your side -- why would you every take such a risk? That is where common sense should take hold. You can be dead wrong or dead right -- in either case you're dead. It is somehow presented that if you are walking you need not apply common sense. If you have the light and the ok to cross that is fine. For me to have to watch other cars, bikes, cross traffic and now the need to read minds is just shifting the pedestrian' responsibility to the driver. If the council wanted to make the city safer, then directing the Chief of police to enforce jaywalking laws as well as to enforce the traffic laws with bicyclists -- not a law that is arbitrary and capricious with the standard of intent and its enforcement. Maybe Arizona should pass a resolution condemning this law.....


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

Heardoc..."The roads were built with money from gas taxes yet the ones who pay for the roads are the ones most severely restricted on these roads." That's because we drivers are the people in control of 2000-pound vehicles that kill people. I can only assume that you haven't tried walking around town (especially away from campus) lately. Cars rule the road simply because they are bigger, faster, and dangerous. Everybody else takes their life in their hands every time they step out near a road. Walkers have the right to travel, also. They are given sidewalks so they don't have to walk IN the road, but they have to be able to cross roads safely...and that's what the city is trying to make possible.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 5:38 p.m.

So funny! HMMM bikes can ride were and how they want and walkers can now have the right o way and drivers need to be able to read their minds. Why is common sense absent here? The roads were built with money from gas taxes yet the ones who pay for the roads are the ones most severely restricted on these roads. Bicycle riders are not responsible and nor are the walkers. Where is the enforcement of jaywalking? Why is there no emphasis on the erratic riding of bicyclists? Such leftists agendas is very out of step here. Common sense should be paramount but then again we have what we have..... and we get foolish ordinances passed by out of touch individuals.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 5:24 p.m.

Oh, what a very, very bad idea. What does "approaching" mean?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

Question for the "OMG OMG -- dumbest thing ever -- we aren't mindreaders -- traffic will come to a halt everywhere" crowd: how is it that this kind of ordinance and the motorist/pedestrian interactions that result from it work just fine in other places? Motorists slow down ro stop, allow pedestrians who are trying to use the crosswalk to do so, then drive on. No hysteria required.

Val Losse

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 4:20 p.m.

This ordinance is unlawful in that out of town people will not know about the law and will be ticketed. This law should be at the State level so that all communities are the same throughout Michigan. The City cannot pass a law that effects everyone in the State of Michigan coming to Ann Arbor.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

Mmmm! I like the "survival of the fittest" theory. Rescind all traffic laws within the city limits for six months. By that time all the stupid, incautious people will be dead or on their way to prison. And the gene pool will have been cleansed!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 4:13 p.m.

Someone above questioned the need for enforcement of the crosswalks, but I think it is necessary. I've seen lots of people struggling to get across Stadium, Plymouth, Liberty, and other streets. Mostly, we drivers have forgotten that we are supposed to stop once a pedestrian steps into the crosswalk. It may be the law, but almost nobody does it. That's the challenge...changing the 'norm' for driving behavior. Having said that, something MUST be done about S. University and State. I've been stuck there in my car for minutes waiting for the crosswalks to clear. It may be time for a light.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 3:52 p.m.

So Mr Hohnke, are you going to authorize the hiring of more officers to enforce this pedestrian right of way law? How are 6 officers going to have time to take enforcement action on this? According to Hohnke, speaking as a police officer: "Hey, you know that person wanted to get into the crosswalk, and I'm going to ask you to provide them the right of way to do that." What a joke, no police officer is going to say that. A politician that is clearly out of touch with reality. Flags to warn drivers???? Chief Jones, they are making your brain numb. It's the pedestrians that need educating and tickets for interfering with traffic not the other way around. Drivers apparently need to be mind readers in Ann Arbor now. Unbelievable!!!!!!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 3:27 p.m.

State law mandates that drivers must yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk at an intersection but did not identify crosswalks at non-intersection locations. This is a good change to allow pedestrians the ability to cross busy streets. I question how close does someone have to be to the crosswalk before the driver must stop. 1', 5', 10', 20', 50', 1/4 mile? This leaves a lot of interpretation to the police with no clearly defined limit for drivers to follow. As with other laws such as stopping prior to entering an intersection, there is no measurable distance identified in which to stop before violating the law.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 3:15 p.m.

correction: rites=rights and lites=lights I went to Safety Town and was taught the proper way to cross a road. Those who endanger themselves by not paying attention to their surroundings are flirting with "Survival of the Fittest".


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 3 p.m.

This seems unconstitutional! I have a rite to drive on the road, and noone is able to read minds! Ticket the bikers who run red lites and drive dangerously. Share the road people. Tax payers pay for the rite to drive on the roads! Yes, as a driver I have to yield to pedestrians, this is state law. Though in Ann Arbor, it is pedestrians and bikers against drivers. What about equal rights for all? When and where was the last jaywalker ticketed in Ann Arbor? This City Council has to go away! First the texting ban and now this! Who do the council think they are or where we live, communist china?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:56 p.m.

This is needed, no doubt, and so is better transporation planning which is sorely needed in A2. But there should be an informative video for pedestrians too, particularly around the campus -- you know the ones. The doodle-heads that walk on a red, the ones who feel rose petals should be scattered forth for them as they cut across State Street, the ones oblivious to traffic as they jay walk while texting with the iPod going and who are oblivious of the outside world. But as usual, it's the drivers who are perceived as evil, look at the cyclist controversy. I have no problem sharing the road as long as we're all following the rules. And A2 needs to step it up a notch and work on a more comprehensive transportation plan, this would make it all a lot more managable.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:52 p.m.

My favorite line from the story: Jones said the city and police department need to hit the community "very hard" with education about the new ordinance. This is cop-speak for "We'll be ticketing the stuffing out of any driver that approaches a crosswalk in this city between 6:00 AM and midnight." I hope Chief Jones is just as intent on hitting the community very hard with "education" about the jaywalking ordinance. (It would also be nice if Chief Jones "educated' bicyclists about the need to follow the exact same laws that motor vehicle operators do.)


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:30 p.m.

It's really too bad we have to legislate common sense. As a previous post said, "be careful out there"!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:29 p.m.

There are places in this city that are going to need traffic lights in place for this to be implemented. As others have stated the intersection of State St and S University is one intersection that will be near impossible to get through, especially when the students return in the fall. In the video there were people that were jay-walking. Is this law now going to be enforced? Or is it open season on 'the brightest and best' that cannot seem to find a cross walk? I have stopped at crosswalks and the cars behind me were honking. Are we sure that drivers know that the crosswalks in the middle of the street or block are to have the right of way? At corners where there is a stop sign or a light most know, but in the middle of the block they may not realize that they must stop. They have put some of these cross walks in the middle of fairly busy streets (some without crosswalk signs above them) with islands (of relative safety) in the middle. At what point do we stop creating legislation for those without common sense? Should we teach our children that these cross walks are safe? How many other cities, towns and/or states have the same laws? Or are we setting them up for getting killed when they leave the city?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:27 p.m.

Just back from Northeastern Pennsylvania where these kinds of laws have been in effect for many years AND the drivers are trained to yeild to pedestrians. Just put a toe in a Pennsylvania crosswalk and the traffic in both directions comes to a halt. Why? Because the enforcement is fierce. And the tickets are huge! "When you've got them by the wallet, their hearts and minds will follow!"

Frank Martin-Buck

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:24 p.m.

I don't have time to read all the comments so I apologize if I'm repeating what's already been said. I have lived in Ann Arbor my whole life and the video you showed is pretty accurate. I went to high school at Community and we would often cross 5th to go to Kerrytown for lunch. There is a crosswalk there, but every student knew that cars were never going to stop for you if you went out in it, so you just had to stand there and wait for a big enough gap for you to run across. As a student at U of M it was the exact same thing. On N. University there are crosswalks, but I have seen students almost get hit by cars as they tried to cross them. The solution is easy, do something like the law in Maine, if there is a pedestrian in a crosswalk or coming up to one you have to stop for them or you can get a ticket. For those who complain about pedestrians jaywalking in front of cars outside of crosswalks, from what I understand, obstructing traffic while jaywalking if an offense in Ann Arbor, it just needs to be enforced. I'm not saying prohibit all jaywalking, but make it so you can't just cross in the middle of the street and make cars wait for you.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:24 p.m.

All people who work on this could have spent the time having a bake sale for the bridge.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

Its too bad Hohnke and Mayor Hieftje didn't take a minute of their time to see what Ann Arborites had to say about this ordinance. What a bunch of foolishness. But then this council seems to be best at passing foolish ordinances and resolutions! Pedestrians in this town have NO respect for drivers and are just as bad as cyclist when it comes to showing common sense! Just when you think council can't get any less relevant.

Atticus F.

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

KB, children shouldn't be crossing the street without an adult. And it's your resposability as a parent to teach your child about safely crossing the road!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

Ah, but... "enforcement" is the key here. When was the last time you saw patrol cars on Seventh, ticketing drivers coasting downhill between Pauline and Liberty going over the 30 mph limit? And how about the stepped-up enforcement on traffic-law-violating cyclists that received such attention two years ago? When did you last see a Stop-sign run-through bicycle rider with a cop on his/her tail? More's the pity: it probably won't have any effect at all. It's low-hanging fruit during election season. And maybe that's a good thing: there's the pedestrian crosswalk on Stadium between CVS and the Arbor Farms mall. God help us if one car decides to stop for a pedestrian, braking from 40 mph (in the 35 mph zone), and the drivers behind aren't paying attention.

Atticus F.

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:11 p.m.

Just another attempt to by the mayor and city council to "punish drivers" by creating a traffic nightmare for people who live and work in Ann arbor. It's like the other day when a saw an article on about people paying for parking meters, and putting bikes there simply to spite drivers. It's about forcing everybody to believe your views on global warming.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

1 sec ago I hate standing on those little islands in the middle of the road with my children as cars whiz by on both sides of us--especially since you regularly see the fallout of a car running over the island and knocking down the sign! Education about the new ordinance will be key. I think the highest level of danger, especially for children (who simply developmentally lack good judgment), comes during the transition to a new ordinance--when kids and cars are just not sure what one another about to do.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 2:03 p.m.

@Atticus FWIW, I am a very frequent pedestrian downtown. I have been nearly hit a few times when crossing at a signaled intersection with a walk light. Sometimes drivers are completely unused to driving in areas with pedestrians so they don't look for them when they make turns. I myself nearly ran over a pedestrian once when I was turning. It scared me enough that I always look out for pedestrians these days (this happened over 20 years ago). Now that I think of it, a better approach would have been to educate drivers about pedestrians crossing at signaled crosswalks.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:55 p.m.

Blerg, It is much easier on Farmers Market day to stand and wait for cars to stop for you, I have never waited more than a full minute. The trick is you have to wait for three lanes to stop for you.

Trevor Staples

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:54 p.m.

This is a real issue in Ann Arbor. If you think it's not, you don't walk around town enough to realize it. Huge thanks to Carsten, mayor Hieftje, and the WBWC for pushing this forward and making Ann Arbor more pedestrian friendly. They thought hard about it, and worked hard to make it happen. Those of you who think this hasn't been thought out just haven't been paying attention over the past year.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:53 p.m.

Okay it is safe to assume that if you are DRIVING in Ann Arbor whether for business or pleasure, at some point you will be parking and exiting your vehicle hence becoming a PEDESTRIAN. We all know how it feels to be in both situations all it really requires is common courtesy from both parties. Can we start there first?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

I saw this video on the Chronicle a couple months ago, and I think of it every time I try to cross from the parking lot at Community to the Farmers Market. Last week a car honked at me and yelled as I slowly entered the crosswalk by Kerrytown. I'm grateful that something is being done about this, and I look forward to the city doing a thorough job educating the public, in and around Ann Arbor, about the improved ordinance.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

The building is on fire and the A2 City Council is looking for marshmallows! Just take a good look at the medians and easements around Ann Arbor. Unabated "native grasses" (we called them weeds back in the day) over a foot tall. Weeds growing in cement cracks. On the eve of Art Fair, frankly, the city looks like it is going to pun intended!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:29 p.m.

If you enforce this law, it seems like you would have to enforce jaywalking as well. And what happens at the corner of State and South U where students are ALWAYS in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

Where did this come from all of a sudden?! Another crackpot loser idea from the biggest crackpot loser city administration since the dippy hippies in the seventies. Instead of doing that which facilitates the flow of traffic and eases congestion, like modern traffic computer control systems, and common sense rules for bicyclists and pedestrians (which we already have, but don't enforce) - the crackpot loser administration wants to wage war on automobiles and drivers. The last thing we need is a law that encourages more bad behavior on the part of pedestrians around motor vehicles, and snarls traffic even further. What more can we possibly do to discourage residents and visitors to AVOID downtown Ann Arbor like the plague? I know I never go near it except at night for drinks - and I walk. Why not just close all the streets in the downtown and campus area and just make it a big pedestrian mall?! That almost makes sense, under the circumstances. Only in Ann Arbor! Down with Crackpots!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:21 p.m.

I like how we now have to legislate what was once common courtesy.

Rabid Wolverine

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:21 p.m.

Pedestrian safety starts with the pedestrian. As a motorcyclist, I am rarely seen or respected on the road. I take it upon myself to ride in a highly defensive manner. Perhaps if pedestrians used the same tactic they might not have so many issues which compromise thier safety. it really is as easy as looking both ways and actually crossing in a crosswalk. On the first day of classes at UofM each student should have to watch a "how to use a crosswalk" video as they seem to be the biggest offenders of jaywalking.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:19 p.m.

@atticus in both cases I was walking through the intersection with the walk signal activated. The drivers must have been looking toward their left for oncoming cars and not seeing any, then proceeded to begin to turn right, bumping right into me. I wasn't hurt or anything since they had stopped originally, but I was very shaken up and the drivers had clearly not been paying attention to any possible pedestrians. Please explain to me what I did wrong. It is quite clear to me that many people fail to realize they are commanding deadly weapons. Regardless of how you feel about this particular ordinance (which seems to have been drafted poorly), the existing traffic laws are not enforced to protect the safety of law abiding citizens who simply walk through the city each day.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

It was always safe 4 walklers at the intersection of State and Liberty until they put in all the lights and made it both ways.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

If you go out as a pedestrian and try to test this system on Huron, Plymouth, Packard, Jackson, Washtenaw, South Main, Stadium, or any other main thoroughfare coming in or out of the city, you will either get run over, or cause accidents as cars start stopping in uncommon places on fast busy roads. Are there rules about line-of-sight for crosswalks near hills? Sorry to keep harping on this, but the shroud of idealism simply astounds me. Go ahead and try to "educate the public" with hopes that more people will learn and obey these rules - there will still be hundreds to thousands of people coming from everywhere else in the region driving in to our city every day, who have never been here before. This system simply bets people's lives on the idealistic notion that all newcomers will learn and follow these rules as soon as they enter the city (while they're looking at their map, or for hospital signs, or the street they may have missed). If you want pedestrians to have right of way in new places, we need to install buttons and lights. Until that is done, don't be foolish and tell people they have the right to do anything stupid.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

"intending to enter the crosswalk." Absolutely absurd. Anyone who has navigated, or attempted to navigate Ann Arbor streets (and I have been doing it since 1963) knows that as to many pedestrians, it is impossible to ascertain their "intent" as they approach or stand by or congregate near intersections. My suggestion to Ann Arbor residents: stay away from campus and downtown and take you business to the mall or to other communities.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

"intending to enter the crosswalk." Absolutely absurd. Anyone who has navigated, or attempted to navigate Ann Arbor streets (and I have been doing it since 1963) knows that as to many pedestrians, it is impossible to ascertain their "intent" as they approach or stand by or congregate near intersections. My suggestion to Ann Arbor residents: stay away from campus and downtown and take you business to the mall or to other communities.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:07 p.m.

I like how we now have to legislate what was once common courtesy.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1:01 p.m.

Another reason I will not be frequenting downtown Ann Arbor anymore.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 1 p.m.

Oh yeah, and don't forget that we'll have to require all pedestrians to wear flashing lights and reflectors after dark. Stupid, stupid, stupid...

Brian Kuehn

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

Pedestrian safety is a goal on which we can all agree. We also agree that efficient traffic flow is important. If the City directs the police to enforce this new ordinance (which presumably we will, otherwise what's the point?) the police should be further directed to only give warnings for an extended time period (e.g. 18 months). As the Chief correctly stated, this ordinance will require some education. While the education is ongoing, it would not be right to make this another source of revenue enhancement. At the same time, the police should be directed to enforce anti-jaywalking laws where pedestrians are seen to be impeding traffic. Again, as this is a learning process, warnings for these offenses would also be appropriate. The enforcement should be obvious and consistent to properly educate. Finally, there are a number of roads where this ordinance may create problems. A few years ago two pedestrians were killed running across Plymouth Road at dusk. Nobody disputes that this was a tragedy. Some in the community wanted a traffic control signal installed for pedestrians but this approach was not implemented because of the concern about interrupting the heavy traffic flow on this major road. In place of traffic control devices, lighted crosswalks were installed. The problem now is that rather than stopping traffic in an orderly and timed basis with a traffic control device, the four lanes of traffic going 35 to 50 MPH will be subject to random stoppages. There are undoubtedly other roads in Ann Arbor with similar issues.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:55 p.m.

This is one of the most foolish and dangerous laws I've ever heard. Maybe it could work if we put check points at every street entrance to Ann Arbor, and required anyone who wanted to drive in the city to show their license endorsement ensuring they have completed a complete a course on driving laws specific to Ann Arbor. Of course we would have to issue pedestrian training and licenses as well. Otherwise there is no reasonable way to expect every driver who enters this city to go to a store, to a concert, to the hospital, to the university, to be fully aware and in compliance of regulations like this. More likely this will create a false sense of security from this council-appointed sense of entitlement, but there is no way every driver passing through our streets to comply or even be aware of these rules. Even if 99% of drivers were aware of and complied to these rules, that's still going to lead to a lot of pedestrians getting hit because they think they should be safe. Here's how it works in the real world. If you're at cross walk and the crossing traffic has a stop sign, then you have the right of way. If you're direction has a stop sign and crossing traffic does not, then you yield to crossing traffic until there is a break in traffic. That's how it is, regardless of any stupid idealistic local regulations. So here's the plan - on Wednesday, the first day of the art fair, at 4:30PM, all those interested should meet down at the YMCA. We are going to walk across Huron street at the corner of Third, cross Chapin, and back across Huron to the YMCA. We will not look both ways, we will not stop for traffic. After all, it's apparently our right. We'll see how long traffic stays stopped before the police come by (who would they ticket?) or someone gets killed. FYI - don't actually do this, as you will get killed. I'm just making a point. I'm not teaching my daughter that she has the right to cross wherever there's a cross walk because drivers are required to and actually will stop. That would be terribly foolish and irresponsible of me as a father, just as it is terribly foolish and irresponsible of city council to do as a government. If you put in buttons and lights (real red ones, not constantly flashing yellows), then it would work. Short of that, this is just plain stupid. Pedestrians should yield according to the same traffic signs and signals as motorists and bicyclists. It's common sense, and rules luck this will do little more than to confuse, congest, and endanger.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

So with each city in this state passing their own traffic rules, how is a driver to know what is legal where? The state of Michigan already has its own codes- Do we really need cities passing laws that differ from state law? How will a driver know what cities have banned cell phones, or passed restrictive crossing zone laws? Not only are we no longer the "United" states, we are not even A united State.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:47 p.m.

@Huronbob, I'll explain to you what happens at the BIG HOUSE after home games, people walk back to their houses/cars and all is well. As for Ann Arbor never ceasing to amaze you, it must be the paved roads and citizens with teeth.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:47 p.m.

there is a crosswalk at Kerrytown half a block down from the intersection. On Saturday it is a zoo with people crossing from the Farmers Market to the Commie High lot. Traffic will not move in that area if cars are stopped for an endless stream of people. I have also sat in the coffee shop and witnessed the kids coming in for lunch from the highschool. Both these groups of people hardly use the crosswalk at all and just cross however. some crosswalks need lights people can push, some crosswalks gotten rid of altogether. city council seems to be a waste of time, passing silly ordinances (that of course will generate revenue with ticketing) while they spend money and aren't fixing the real issues. I bet part of the study was how much money this would generate, and we know as soon as they get that figure they will spend it before the chickens have hatched.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:44 p.m.

Now stop me if you think this is crazy, but how about people look both ways before the walk into the street. Just an hour ago I was walking up Madison as it intersects with 5th ave. This lady just walked right in front of a car coming down 5th (where there is no stop sign for them) and almost got hit. I'm all for cars watching out for pedestrians, but sometimes people are just stupid and it is no fault of the driver.

Atticus F.

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:41 p.m.

@nick, you must be doing somethijng wrong...I've been walking the streets of Ann Arbor for 20 years, and have never been "run into" by a car, as you claim to have been 2 times in the past month.

Tom Bourque

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:37 p.m.

If this only applies at crosswalks not controoled by lights it really does not change anything downtown and only affects the South U and campus crosswalks where the students typically ignore the cars and cross in front of them. Hard to believe this is a major problem as described in the comments from our elected leaders.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:26 p.m.

I feel more of a problem is cars making right turns (especially at red lights) and don't check for pedestrians approaching on their right. I've been run into at William & State and Madison & Main in the past month alone because of that and cars still seem to be swerving to avoid pedestrians turning right on to Division from Packard. Also, I have waited several minutes to get through the crosswalk and W Huron and Third/Chapin and know many others who have as well. On a side note, anybody know what the random crosswalk signs along 1st between Miller and Ann are for? Are they for the intesection at Ann?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

I've seen really bad behavior from all parties. That said, the person in the bigger conveyance -- bike, moped, Hummer -- has to be the bigger person and not blow a gasket if the other party acts stupidly. Be careful out there!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

I just want to know, how does a person know what a person intends to do in this kind of thing? Should I watch the roadway or the sidewalk? obvioulsy a government out of control!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

Why are there cross walks without traffic lights? I have to admit that I don't drive in Ann Arbor much during "rush hour", so I don't see this stuff. Why would anyone in their right mind try to cross a busy street at anyplace other an intersection with either a traffic light or a stop sign?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:20 p.m.

This is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. I can think of at least one place in Ann Arbor where cars are NEVER going to get through, because there is always someone either on or approaching the crosswalk, and that's State St. at South University. I used to come to Ann Arbor to do a little shopping and have a good meal. Lately, it's been a great hassle. With this law, it's not worth coming here after hours at all, because it's not worth the risk of maybe missing someone who intends to cross my path (which I'm evidently supposed to know telepathically). Evidently Ann Arbor doesn't need visitor dollars. It's become a town where practical common sense has no place.

Atticus F.

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:18 p.m.

I heard the mayor talking about this in a city council meeting a couple months ago...essentially whats going to happen, is if you dont stop as a pedestrian is heading to the crosswalk, you are going to get pulled over and ticketed. This will create huge traffic tie ups at places like the Michigan Union, and many places downtown. I swear, sometimes I think the mayor's intention is to create a traffic nightmare in the downtown area. After hearing Heiftje on his high horse talking about this, and how it was such a great idea to start passing out tickets, gives me just enough of a reminder as to why I will be voting for Lesko. It just seems like Heiftje Doesn't consider all of the angles before doing somthing like this, or something like Narrowing a 4 lane road into a 2 lane road. As was the case with Division, and Main Street south of Bushes.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

Regardless of human law, pedestrians should always follow the law of physics...


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

Has anyone on the city council ever driven in Ann Arbor? The city's big problem is pedestrians (often occupied with texting or a cell call) crossing against lights downtown. It's only a matter of time before there's a serious injury or death because of it. What most struck me in the video, especially the early segment, was that a traffic light was just one block down. Everyone taking the 'risky' crossing could have made it easy by going an extra block but people (myself included) rarely do that. As others have said this new law may cause rear-end accidents as people unexpectedly stop in the middle of moving traffic.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:10 p.m.

I'd also like to point out the crosswalk in the middle of main b/t william and liberty. As a pedestrian I have had to wait until the light halfway down the block changed so that I crossed when the cars were all stopped for the red light. I would be waiting with a group of other pedestrians and wouldn't have a problem with it. A few mins of waiting on a busy road is no biggie. Otherwise cars wouldn't be able to move freely and would be stuck there with a endless stream of people at or "intending" to enter the crosswalk.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:09 p.m.

It seems fairly simple WALK/DON'T WALK... This law gives pedestrians more rights than is warranted... The University students already seem to think they own the crosswalks... This gives them a foot to stand on - Put the power back in the motorists where it belongs... Cars are bigger than people and should be treated as such!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:02 p.m.

I gave up driving downtown and on campus along time ago...It's easier to take the bus, walk or call cab. I respect the rights of pedestrians and bicyclist's..I just wish they would follow the same traffic rules as motor vehicles.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

Seems like the Ann Arbor City Council could also pass an ordinance prohibiting basements from flooding in Ann Arbor after heavy rains....


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

this seems silly. You learn about pedestrian right of way in drivers ed. A pointing system also seems silly as does a flag system, those flags would be stolen by kids. What would make more sense is that people who want to cross would push a bottom and a light above a yield sign would flash on a timer, a driver would see the flash, stop if they could do so safely and the walker would wait for the car that came to a full stop before crossing. That way there is no mind reading from anyone involved. additionally, as a transient population town, there are plenty of college age kids that have no monkey since for self preservation. Yapping on phones, texting etc and not looking both ways even when you have a walk sign is nutso. I cannot count how many times I have been at a crossing with a walk light and had to grab the person in front of me b/c they didn't look to the person making a righthand turn, narrowly escaping injury. furthermore, I learned as a child you look both ways when you cross and whether or not you are told pedestrians have the right of way you wait it out regardless.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

Watching the video, I guess I'm missing something. The video repeatedly has the caption pertaining to "visceral sense of fear", as a former crossing guard, I would hope pedestrians have a "visceral sense of fear" at crossings. Why would you not, when vehicles weighing several thousand pounds are moving past you at some point. You better not rely on an ordinance to save you butt. Sound like existing laws still cover this issue. I do agree with "Woman in Ypsilanti" that near-campus travel will be an untenable situation as student/pedestrian will always be present. So when does the car get to go and not risk an easy ticket?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

When this goes into effect, i am going downtown and going to stand at the edge of a crosswalk, stand their and rock back and forth with a red bull in hand and play games with the cars. This could be the new cool thing to do. Mess with the evil cars and make them stop for an hour. This will be so much fun, all the kids are going to get into it. We could gridlock all of Ann Arbor with just a few well placed people.

David Frye

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

Thanks for the story. I used to be able to tell if a driver was from California, because they had them well trained out there to pay attention to pedestrians. They always (and automatically) stop for people in crosswalks. I haven't seen that lately, and I don't know if it's because we don't get many California drivers any more or if California road civility has diminished. In any case, I'll be more conscious of people waiting at the crosswalks on Liberty and West Stadium now. If nothing else, the new ordinance will empower the few conscientious drivers in A2 to stop on those busy avenues and wait for a few seconds while people are in the crosswalks. We'll see if it's a good law, but it's a good idea to try. And who knows, it might begin to chip away at the car-first mindset of Michiganders (though the bitter and resentful comments above make me doubtful of this...).


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:38 a.m.

Also, every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than a marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT POINT THAT... A: Should/Must be enforced and B: The entire student body of the U of M needs to be reminded of. It more important to note that jaywalking is dangerous then illegal but police will have to ticket some in order for that point to be driven home. I see this as a very difficult situation at certain intersections and predict that a lawsuit will happen within 3 months. It's difficult for a driver to "know" another persons "intent" without some sort of signal. (Think about turn signals) I also see this as creating additional problems at certain locations ie. State and S. University. How are vehicles ever going to get through that 3 way stop.... Surely a roundabout is in order along with an overhead crosswalk.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:38 a.m.

In Brighton they have the crosswalk lights, where when I person wants to cross the crosswalk they push the button, like the ones at stoplights, some lights come on and the cars stop to let the people go thru. I think if this is going to work the light system like the one in Brighton would be wonderful, the first place to test it out would be by the schools that have crosswalks but no stop signs or stop lights. I do not agree with the part that says if a person is coming towards the crosswalk maybe they are just turning the corner and not going thru the walk at all and you hit your breaks because you don't want a ticket for not letting the person thru but you end up getting hit because you put on your breaks. Some clear thinking on how to put this into place would be a good idea so there are not more accendents.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

brawwwwaaaahahahah... how absurd... someone explain to me what happens before or after a UM game at the Ugly House when there are 100,000+ pedestrians "approaching" the crosswalks, and you are, by law, obligated to stop and let all 100,000+ cross... Ann Arbor never ceases to amaze me!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:35 a.m.

Sounds like to me that Ann Arbor wants to make all of downtown a no drive zone. Just block the streets off and have only walking allowed in the downtown area. With UofM in session and all the students around you couldnt even move your car 5 feet. What about all the fuel being wasted and all the polution from said cars sitting at lights for 15 minutes before they are allowed to move. Dont drive downtown during lunch time, because their will be so much ped. traffic that it will be impossible to drive from one location to another. I sse a total outlaw of cars comming in the future, if your not taking the bus or walking or using a train your enemy of the state.

Saline Bob

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

Along with my definite concern and respect for pedestrians is my fear of doing the right thing as a driver and then getting rear-ended. It's a jungle out there on the roads. People routinely drive too fast and talk on their cell phones. I especially dislike seeing the one-handed turn. The bravest people in the world are bikers who are commuting to work on major roads. Any new laws are worth a try. And what do political comments have to do with this conversation?


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:25 a.m.

Yup I did watch the video. No one had to wait several minutes nor got nearly hit by a car. If it an issue supported by data, lets put up a light to stop traffic at the appropriate places.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:22 a.m.

While I'll probably vote for Carsten Hohnke in his re-election bid, I think this new ordinance is largely symbolic and difficult to enforce given our depleted police department. Most local understand full well that sharing the road, bike lanes, side wallks is necessary. Yet, we have a huge influx every fall of visitors, students, and the like who do not understand our values or our ordinances. I see chaos on our sidewalks every evening, when I drive my knuckles turn white because lanes are either congested or closed. Not to mention some of the speed racers out there. I'm all for sharing the road, but I'm afraid our infrastructure and population are now at odds permanently.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:21 a.m.

I don't like this one bit. There are certain places on campus where there are *always* people in the crosswalk or approaching it. If the city could put in signals there, it would make everyone's lives easier. With this ordinance, it pretty much means that a car can never travel down certain streets without risking a ticket. It is going to be a situation where one has to stop and look, not for pedestrians since they are always there but for cops, before proceeding. I also can't wait for accidents which are sure to happen when someone driving sees someone approaching the cross walk at the last minute and slams on their brakes. I am not sure this will improve pedestrian safety either since it encourages pedestrians to cross without looking. Students on campus already do that all of the time but at least a person can expect it there. Oh well. At least I don't have to worry about it too much since I usually take the bus into Ann Arbor.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:18 a.m.

At first look, I see this as a very bad law. I believe current state law already forces drivers to yield to pedestrians. But this law seems to imply that now a drive has to mind read every person approaching a street: "the driver of a vehicle must stop and yield the right-of-way to every pedestrian not only within a crosswalk, but also pedestrians approaching a crosswalk." That amounts to impeding traffic. You are required to stop if you see a person approaching a crosswalk. And if you decide you can pass without whacking the pedestrian, you can still get a ticket? That is ridiculous. "Well you Honor, I didn't see the pedestrian approaching the crosswalk because there was a car in front of me, a car in back of me and traffic was moving smoothly." Usually, a violation includes some sort of intent. How can the police prove intent if you do not see a pedestrian approaching a crosswalk? Its fairly obvious that Chief Jones has some apprehension on this. That's because its really a stupid ordinance. Its a step back from the anti-texting law. It forces drivers to look more closely at the sidewalks. For 35 years I have lived, worked biked and walking in A2 and I have never had to wait several minutes to cross any street. Where does that come from? Downtown all the streets have Walk/Don't Walk signs at intersections. Somebody tell me a street where I will have to wait several minutes to cross. This Hohnke guy has to be unelected. This is very poorly thought out.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 11:09 a.m.

That's actually a very informative video. I think we should be doing a better job of educating drivers, and I don't just mean the 16 year olds. Not sure ordinances are the way.