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Posted on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

'Egregious idling' harmful to children, Ann Arbor City Council told as draft ordinance is presented

By Ryan J. Stanton

Matthew Naud, the city of Ann Arbor's environmental coordinator, told council members Monday night an ordinance banning "egregious idling" could improve the community's health.

"Recently there's been a lot of data about elevated levels of benzene and particulate matter, especially at elementary schools," he said. "So you have parents waiting and idling to pick up their kids, buses idling right in front of the air intakes at these schools."

Naud said that means "young lungs" are getting exposed to unnecessary vehicle emissions, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shares the same concerns.


Matthew Naud, the city of Ann Arbor's environmental coordinator, supports a ban on egregious vehicle idling.

File photo |

The Ann Arbor City Council didn't take any action on the issue at Monday's meeting, but it did receive a report and draft copy of an idling ordinance from the city's Environmental Commission, which is recommending the ban on idling vehicles.

The proposed ordinance would make a $100 ticket the minimum punishment for a driver who leaves a vehicle running while unoccupied for any amount of time or running for five minutes while occupied. For commercial vehicles, that minimum fine increases to $500.

"There's probably 50 to 100 cities that have idling ordinances. We're not the first," Naud said. "D.C., Denver, Chicago. There's a wide range of ways that communities have regulated idling."

Council Member Margie Teall, D-4th Ward and a member of the Environmental Commission, said she's glad the council and the public are beginning serious discussions on the topic. She explained to council members what was before them Monday night.

"What you have is the resolution that the Environmental Commission passed, recommending that it be brought to City Council, and we didn't intend to do that this week," she said. "But we will be doing that in the near future and would welcome comments and discussion about it."

Teall suggested the City Council might have a working session to discuss the idling ordinance in more detail sometime soon.

She recalled it was in 2004 when the City Council originally directed then City Administrator Roger Fraser to develop an ordinance to reduce idling in the city. She said the idea was taken back to the city's legal department, as well as Naud and the Environmental Commission.

"Yes, it did take a long time, but we actually have quite a bit of good data and local data to support the recommendation to you," Naud told council members Monday night.

Naud said a major driver of the discussion around an idling ordinance was a complaint the city received about school buses idling at the Hands-On Museum downtown.

"The Hands-On Museum is a great resource, but there's not a tool in the community for the kind of egregious idling that we know happens occasionally," Naud said. "And so the idea was how do you look at what's happening in the community and create a way to regulate it? The Environmental Protection Agency has a model idling ordinance. We've looked at that."

Naud also said the Environmental Commission is fortunate to have two national experts on local source emissions and car pollution: John German and John Koupal. He said they took a look at actual data from Ann Arbor where there's an estimated 440,000 vehicle trips per day.

"And even though cars are as clean as they've ever been, when you add that up across the city, even a small reduction in the idling — which is the dirtiest part of a new car's operating, especially under 50 degrees — makes a big difference in our community," Naud said.

Of nearly 2,000 readers who took an poll earlier this week, about 77 percent said they think a local idling ban is unnecessary.

Read's previous coverage: Not an idle threat: Ann Arbor considers ban on idling vehicles.

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



Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

Why do we have an environmental coordinator? He's not doing a very good job. I thought it was awfully hot last July. Eliminate the position and rehire a cop or a fire fighter or both.


Sat, Aug 20, 2011 : 4:59 a.m.

Are vehicles that are being worked on in an auto dealership exempt? Or in a repair facility? How about on one's own property? I have restored several cars over the last 30+ years and I need to work on the engine while it's idling and I am not sitting in it. How does this proposed ordinance deal with this. Plus, I can state that at no time in those years has any of the vehicles I have worked on idled egregiously! I would like to see any study that has been made on this subject and exactly how much cleaner the air would be if this is passed and enforced. Do the officers sit in their idling cars with a stop watch while timing how long someone's car idles? And this was brought about based on ONE complaint? How sad.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

I just moved here from CA (I know, "why?") and why not adopt some vehicle emission laws that CA had? I see so much black smoke coming from car exhausts here, something I almost never saw in CA due to the smog laws. Require emissions control and verification every year or every other year before vehicle registration is renewed. I'm not sure that this would necessarily help the bus that idles in front of the museum or fresh air intakes, a little common sense from the drivers would help. And why didn't the complainer simply talk to the bus drive about the issue? Anyway, CA also has wonderfully sensored and programmed intersections... no waiting for a full left turn, green arrow cycle when no vehicle is in that lane!!! So nice!! It seems that a2grateful understands this and is right on. I don't care how much money a2 has spent on their supposedly "world class" traffic system, it still needs improvement because it really blows. I sit at red lights nearly 4x as long as I did in CA. My commute to work would be 5 minutes instead of 15, guaranteed. ok, enough said.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

If you're after idle criminals, how about making every bus: city, school & UofM; turn off their engine when stopping to pick-up or drop off passengers?


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 3:09 a.m.

One can only shake there head in the loss of reality and say: VOTE PEOPLE!!!!! VOTE!!!!! Ann Arbor is being run down the drain between pushing for more public art, skidding cars to avoid someone who MIGHT walk into a cross walk, and dont run that engine too long even if your freezing. Forget about the rapes, home invasions, robberies. We don't need cops or firemen... Move along!!!! Nothing to see here except the pretty art, but don't stair too long or you may be idling!


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 2:04 a.m. is 2 degrees above 0 and very cold outside. I confess. I need to warm up my car before I drive it or the windshield fogs over with the damp warmth of my breathing. It's not safe for me to drive my car until it has warmed up. Now, I also confess that when it is 98 degrees outside I keep the car running with the air conditioning on so I don't faint from the heat or have to keep wiping the persperation from my eyes if I am outside in the car waiting for someone. Yes, I care about the environment. But, don't you think that hydrofracking and questionable energy extraction practices pose a greater risk of pollution? And, if you are really all that concerned, why not just enact a law requiring electric vehicles? Or, move away from Ann Arbor because Ypsilanti air will certainly mix with that of Ann Arbor and it won't matter what happens within our borders.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

Actually with the Jet Stream generally heading west to east, Ypsilanti will mostly reap the benefits of our "cleaner" Ann Arbor air.

Mike D.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

The Council already shelved this. It was a silly idea, expensive to enforce with no measurable benefit. Funny that can't be bothered to report the death of this inanity. I guess they figure it won't get the page views.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 1 a.m.

Folks, come on now. Unnecessary idling affects local air quality, period. Washtenaw County is only one of eight Michigan counties that is nonattainment for ground level ozone levels (<a href=",4561,7-135-3310_30151_31129_50579---,00.html)" rel='nofollow'>,4561,7-135-3310_30151_31129_50579---,00.html)</a>. A formal policy will encourage fleet owners - including the Ann Arbor Public Schools - to purchase aftermarket electrification devices that will heat or cool their cab without running the vehicle. In the long run it's the cheaper choice, but most fleets needs a push like this in order to implement it. For school bus idling, read what the EPA has to say about it: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> For individuals, there are very rare instances when someone needs to idle their vehicle. For legitimate medical reasons, most primary care physicians would be happy to provide information to a patient that s/he could show a police office if they are bring ticketed for idling. Perhaps the City of Detroit's anti-idling ordinance should be a model for the City of Ann Arbor. Only commercial vehicles over 8,500 gross lbs. are ticketed for 5 consecutive minutes of idling.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 4:18 a.m.

lonesco: The problem with the draft ordinance is that it is devoid of common sense or a rational argument. Although you make a fine argument for the AAPS, the ordinance is unnecessary in that regard. Likewise, the draft ordinance is making the argument (based on conjecture) that cars are a much larger problem than commercial vehicles or buses. In that regard, the writers of the draft would be opposed to enacting Detroit's anti-idling ordinance. The draft ordinance is devoid of any Ann Arbor based study identifying the scope of the problem or whether the proposed ordinance would have any significant effect on air quaility. It does little to differentiate necessary idling from unnecessary idling, let alone egregious idling. The draft also empowers many public employees, not just police officers, to write citations for the &quot;offense&quot;. I'm all for science guiding the discussion, but there is no good science presented in the draft ordinance. The document contradicts itself on the issue and is incomplete. I'd rather have no law than a poorly written one.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 1:57 a.m.

Bull! Fuhgeddaboudit!


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:38 p.m.

Kind of interesting that egregious idling is mentioned as harmful to children, but for Ozone Action Days, here are the remedies that are mentioned: Avoid refueling your vehicle. If you must refuel, fill up as late in the day as possible, preferably in the evening when the weather is cooler. Fumes released at the gas pump contribute to ozone formation. Delay mowing your lawn. Emissions from your lawn mower help form ozone. If you plan to barbeque, avoid using lighter fluid. Emissions from the fluid contribute to ozone formation. Take the bus, carpool, bike or walk. You'll reduce traffic congestion and air pollution as well as save money. For more information, contact: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

Why don't we put fume catchers, or whatever they are called, on gas pumps like CA has?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

Every day, when reading through articles about ridiculous ordinances, council decisions, and other nonsense, it makes me seriously consider more and more closing my business here in Ann Arbor and relocating it to Florida. The quality of living has decreased as a direct consequence of council meddling the last decade. This one goes into that same category. The only thing keeping me here right now is my dedication to my employees and customers. But that is getting really thin. This kind of stuff, wasting of time, council and monetary resources, and the just plain foolishness of it all grows ever more heavy on my mind....and a different clime is looking more and more attractive...

Ann English

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.

There's no mention of idling cars at bank or credit union drive-throughs in all of this discussion. What happens in those states that have already passed and enforced this kind of law? Or think of McDonald's drive-throughs. Are such laws hurting the fast-food business in those other states? I don't see children at the Drop Off Station, ever. Yet motorists may have to wait for the entrance booth to be accessible to them, what with other vehicles in front, waiting their turn too to get in; it's probable happening more often (vehicles idling) today than last year, since the Drop Off Station is now open only 3 days a week.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.

I think an ordinance issuing tickets to cars and trucks with visibly poor emissions would come off a lot more favorably. I wish the ordinance had a provision that allowed people who are tired to take a nap (fatigued driving is a leading road killer second only to distracted drivers). Instead it only allows it if it's federally mandated (truck drivers). In winter you wont be able to take a road break.

Scott Belanger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

Incredible. Simply prohibit idling at HOM and leave the rest of us alone. Impossible to enforce... unless you want to hire a large battalion of EEO's (Emission Enforcement Officers). Or, maybe that's the point? Revenue, anyone??


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

I used to work for an automotive emissions testing company. The highest emissions from a car are generated when the car is started, before the catalytic converter heats up. So it doesn't decrease the total emissions of a car to turn it off and then restart it 3 minutes later. During the down time the catalytic converter begins to cool down and is less effective when restarted. In addition my father, an automotive design engineer, always taught us that every time you start your car the battery needs 6 miles to fully recharge. So there is a time trade off between the effectiveness of stopping and starting your car and the emissions and electrical control systems. Three minutes is wasteful, but 30 minutes would not be. Most likely the break even time would be very vehicle dependent. Consequently making a law that has a fixed time would be ridiculous. And what about vehicles (trucks) that use the power for other things such as refrigeration/freezers?

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 3:54 a.m.

I'm sorry, swcornell, reason and facts cannot be considered by the Ministry of the Environment.

Ann English

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

That's another thing; if you stop and start your car a lot, you wreck the starter.

Robot Charles

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

Michigan has no vehicle emissions inspections as other states do, so we end up creating laws like this in an attempt to reduce pollution. Electric cars will eventually be common but until then we need to educate drivers on how to reduce the pollution output from a cars and trucks.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

At first this was billed as a way to enlighten people to the issue, now only egregious idlers, moving to protecting the school children...lots of rhetoric...I am thinking it is another revnue stream hidden in sheeps clothing. What if you are waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street, remember that one, would you get a ticket?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

Of course he is absolutely correct and it harms us all. Therefore change everything to stop signs or provide underground / over the street crossing for pedistrians. Certainly satisfys the last ordinance and the coming ordinance. Reduce police officer time enforcing &quot;I didn't know &quot; ordinances. Maybe a no car ban? What's practical here? A recall petition? OH, ya, that doesn't work either. The minutes I have not lost breathing un-burnt hydrocarbons will be lost on street corners &amp; stalled traffice do to re-start failures. Maybe it's time tp publish a handbook for everyone; so we can be knowledgable about the local, State, and Federal laws. What a better use of taxpayor money.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Finally a sensible decision. If any of you think this is not necessary, spend a few mornings outside of any elementary school in A2 and see for yourselves how &quot;egregious&quot; this idling is. Far too many parents shuttle their kids back and forth to schools, leaving the cars idling in front for all to breathe in their toxic fumes. If you really want to see a line-up of idling cars, go over to Greenhills school any morning or afternoon. It's pretty toxic stuff in that long long line of huge SUVs idling in the AM and PM, dropping off and picking up kids who don't take the buses. (It's also nearly impossible to get out of the parking lots at Greenhills at the end of the school day due to all the idling cars.) This has changed in recent years, with more and more cars in front of all the schools in A2. The buses should not idle next to buildings either. Turn off the engines!! Is this so hard?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

I am all for turning off vehicles that one is not occupying. From your statement, obviously you must be going every day to all the Ann Arbor schools and observing all the idling. Right?

Left is Right

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

I'm no fan of idling vehicles but an ordinance banning such? Doesn't seem well considered. In school pickup zones (if that is indeed the issue), education, signage, and peer pressure will likely be far more effective and won't breed nearly the resentment that a &quot;law&quot; would. In my opinion, these city commissions are guilty of too much group-think. They should vet their ideas better before taking them live. Might save them from looking egregiously foolish.

Bob W

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

So, why not start with designating some of the most sensitive areas a no idling zones rather than a city-wide, $100 sledge hammer approach? Try education first.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

&quot;Human rights coordinator&quot;. You were joking about this person being allowed to issue tickets under this law, aren't you? Yet more great public service from my 4th Ward Cartoon Council Rep Margie Teall!


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

To avoid a possible citation for &quot;egregious&quot; idling, perhaps I could ride my horse around town. ..After all, manure is green and compostable...a gift to the planet.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

AND people are willing to pay good money for horse manure, as horses are herbivores, free-rangers...and are not pumped full of antibiotics. It is a very effective addition to anyone's compost bin.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

I meant using horse manure to make compost for your garden is a &quot;green&quot; thing to do. LOL

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Green manure? I would suggest a visit to a veterinarian.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

My 88 year old Mother and 90 year old Mother-in-Law both love to go for a ride. We often take them with us when we go to the store or run a few errands. Getting them in and out of the car IS A BIG DEAL. Walking around the stores IS A BIG DEAL. So we often let them stay in the car while we do our errands. We leave the car idling so the heater or a/c can keep them comfortable while they &quot;People Watch&quot; and enjoy their outing. Guess that will all come to an end if this ordniance is enacted. Just another case of a few telling the many what to do without a thought to how it will affect anyone.

Mike D.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Selfish? Really? Should Arlene let them die of heat exposure to prevent emissions literally comparable to a burning cigarette? A little perspective is in order here. While some diesel trucks without emissions controls still spew soot, a modern passenger car's idling emissions are negligible. Sure, you don't want cars idling for no reason, but it's acceleration that really pollutes, not idling.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

Sallyxyz - I guess you didn't read the part about it being a BID DEAL. Perhaps you should try it yourself. Volunteer. A ten-minute errand turns into a 50 minute ordeal.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

Idling for long periods of time spews toxic fumes into the air for all who pass by, and is bad for car engines. Turn off the engine and take your mother and mother in law into the store and let them sit down and wait. Idling and spewing all that pollution into the air for everyone is selfish.

Brian M.

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

What if the district sent a letter to parents asking them to please shut off their engine while waiting for their child? And then they told the bus drivers to leave their engine off while waiting for the kids? BOOM, child problem solved, next problem.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

The Peoples Republic of Ann Arbor needs a pogram at Hieftje Hall to cleanse it of crackpots and their ideas! This would, ideally, include Chairman Hieftje, all his fellow-traveller Komissars on city council, and the legion boards and commissions he created to enforce his will on the rest of us!

L. C. Burgundy

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

The Ann Arbor city council would be experts on &quot;egregious idling&quot;, I will give them that much. Maybe they'll do something about the hilariously terrible traffic signal timing and coordination in the city to ACTUALLY decrease idling.....nah....that means actual work and it doesn't fine the peasantry either! What's the fun in that?

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

Fix the traffic lights. Then we can talk about measures that might have 1/100th the impact. Ann Arbor needs an Environmental Commission like a duck needs an umbrella.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6 p.m.

Just do what they do in London. Charge people a congestion charge of $x a day depending on the type of car you drive. Zone the city so that the further you go in the more you charge them. That'll sure stop everyone from driving and thus the pollution problem is solved. We all go and buy bikes and Segways. It'll be a utopia! Oh, wait. That never works. I'm all for education before tickets! A few billboards, signs in very public places like grocery stores and the library and word-of mouth. Give people a few warnings if you must but charging us $100 for idling is just...stupid. FIVE minutes? Really? Surely 10 won't kill anyone. Doesn't it cost more in gas to constantly turn your car on and off?

David Muzzatti

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

&quot;But after school you can take your children to McDonald's for butylhydroquinone &amp; dimethylpolysiloxane-induced chicken nuggets. Give me a break.&quot;


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Oh. Egregious idling. NOW I get it! Is anyone here old enough to remember the Sunday morning &quot;funnies&quot; that used to come with the newspaper? Well. We are SO lucky to have them return in the form of's daily posts on the doings of the City Council, etc. Thanks It doesn't get any better than this!

Grand Marquis de Sade

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

So are they going to fine a cab driver $500 for idling between fares on a 17 degree day?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

These are the jobs that will have the power to issue this citation What a joke Assistant land development coordinator. Building inspectors. Electrical inspectors. Inspection supervisors. Housing inspectors. Mechanical inspectors. Ordinance inspector. Plan examiner. Plumbing inspectors. Zoning coordinator. (b) Community television network - public information services unit (Chapter 32): Cable administrator. (2) Public services area. (a) Field operations services unit (Chapters 26, 27, 28, 33, 38, 39, 40, 47, 49, 82, 106 and 119): Field operations manager. City forester. Field operations supervisor. Draft Idling Reduction Ordinance 16 Prepared December 3, 2010 Field operations technician. Park ranger. Natural area preservation manager. Natural area preservation technician. Conservation worker. Outreach coordinator. Conservation crew leader. Field biologist. (b) Wastewater Treatment Services Unit : Wastewater treatment services manager. Administrative assistant to wastewater treatment services manager. (c) Systems planning unit : Environmental coordinator. Parking enforcement personnel Telecommunicator (4) Human Resources Services Unit Human resources manager. Human rights coordinator. Human rights investigator. Fertilizer program administrator. Land development coordinator. (3) Safety services area. (a) Fire services unit Fire chief. Assistant fire chief. Battalion chief. Captain. Lieutenant. Driver operator. Fire Fire chief. Assistant fire chief. Battalion chief. Captain. Lieutenant. Driver operator. Fire fighter. Draft Idling Reduction Ordinance 17 Prepared December 3, 2010 Fire marshal. Fire inspectors. (b) Police services unit. Community service assistants Community standards officers/safety services area


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:28 p.m.

Especially over there in Toumy Hills and Burns Park. lol


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

They should make it so the little old ladies who wear those big floppy straw gardening hats can give the tickets out. They are the ones who always yell at me when my work truck is idling. lol They can be pretty bold these little old ladies.

mike gatti

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

I think Arlo Guthrie was arrested for &quot;egrigious idling&quot; in the song Alice's Restaurant.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

I actually agree that idling is a problem, and most who have stood near a bus or a truck while idling downtown would probably share this view. I have many times seen drivers leave large vehicles idle - honestly to avoid having to sit in a chilly vehicle when they return to it. I do not treasure a lung full of exhaust and I certainly do not wish it for my children. However, I would not support any ordinance that isn't based in science. Though I do not have the source at hand, I have read that starting your vehicle and allowing it to idle for a few minutes before driving it -- particularly in cold weather -- actually lessens the negative environmental impact. I would also not support issuing tickets to anyone who uses a remote starter for their car on a chilly morning. I hope that our leaders will do their homework before making a decision.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 4:13 a.m.

&quot;Just get in the car . . . and start driving. Good idea. Never mind that there is 1/4&quot; of ice and 6 inches of show on my windshield. Just go. And never mind that it takes 20 minutes to defrost the ice. Just go. Whatever is left after 5 minutes. Just go. I will probably be able to see just fine out of the 1 square inch tht is defrosted. If only I can get my head cranked down sideways that far.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

Idling cars in cold weather to &quot;warm them up&quot; is bad for engines. Just get in the car, start it and start driving. Save the environment.

Buster W.

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

Just no end to the Dog &amp; Pony Show (aka A2 City Council meetings).


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

More proof that Ann Arbor is a reality-free zone.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

Ann Arbor is a shameful example of a city where the local government has run amok with indoctrination, control, and fear tactics. I have never personally dealt with a city so hell bent on micromanaging the lives of its people.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

If a car idles in a full structure or parking lot of non-idling cars does anybody here it?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

Since we are doing this to save the kids, why not also have a vechile free zone? Say 2 blocks from the school. Them the kids can also get some exercise walking to the car.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

Great. A five-year old walking two blocks to a vehicle by him/herself. Half of them would get lost on the way.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Since this ordanince would be administered by the police, Does this mean the police will required to turn their vechiles off also, or will we exempt them? Reminds me of Animal Farm.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

How would this law be enforced against hybrid or electric vehicles? When a Prius idles, it does so with the electric engine. What about the Chevy Volt? Would they be an exception? What about the police officer chilling on the freeway or a side street for hours a day? Will the cop write him/herself a ticket? This law will be enforced just as much as the no txting while driving law; it wouldn't be.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

I certainly don't disagree that reducing idling vehicle emissions is a good thing. But, I DO disagree that this is the right way to approach it. And the timing is really bad given all the more pressing problems Council could be spending their time on. Trying to enforce this ordinance (if it passes) would make it even harder for an already reduced police force. And as others have pointed out, it doesn't address the bulk of the problem - idling vehicles at traffic lights and crosswalks that constitute the vast majority of the emissions. And how about all the cars each day sitting in drive-thru lanes at fast food restaurants. Are you going to go into each business and fine these people? These are the kind of regulations and controls you can expect when you have a liberal city council AND a liberal Environmental Commission.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

If AAPS is concerned about significant vehicle idling in their drives and turnaround they can post &quot;No Idling&quot; signs - and then make sure the buses obey as well as parents cars. Just check with parents first to see if they are willing to abide by this posting. A city-wide ordinance simply isn't required to handle this issue.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

&quot;Millions?&quot; Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration?

Stephen Landes

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

Some people can't think without exaggerating and going way over the top. No Council action is needed to post a few signs and to insist that parents obey them -- IF that is what parents at a school agree they want to do. Better to have to conversation locally than to go through all this waste of time and money on an ordinance. Does anyone think enforcement will be free? Just wait until people take their tickets to court and police officers are forced to show up and defend their ticket or see the ticket dismissed. A few signs at school lots will seem cheap.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

Millions of dollars on signs? Where did you pull that number out of? There are probably 20 schools in the city that have 1 or 2 waiting areas...

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

So you think millions of dollars in signs will solve the problem? The signs are meaningless (and expensive) unless there is a law to back them up. That's why we need a law. It makes no sense to spend millions on signs, because we'd need them everywhere. We don't have signs everywhere to remind us &quot;no public urination&quot;..


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

No Idle Idling! Change the slogan. Forget &quot;egregious&quot; so everyone will understand. Other states have pollution laws for vehicles but since we do not and our economy is bad we have many old cars and trucks on the road spewing lots of exhaust. At least while standing still we can turn off the engines and cut down on some of that harmful pollution. Also we don't need to leave our empty cars or trucks with the air conditioning running while we are in the store. Stand next to the vehicle and feel the heat pouring out and multiply that times millions all over the country. Global what?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

(sigh) Is there going to be an exception for idling while forced to sit and wait for throngs of students to cross the street under the crosswalk ordinance? This ordinance will pass, because the City Council is all about passing those things that make them feel progressive, and not about representing the citizens of Ann Arbor on the issues those citizens care about.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

Yep, Councilwoman Teall, tearing down Argo Dam, delaying the Stadium Bridges repairs for years and buying the Giant Million Dollar Water Art was 'for the children' too huh? Lol.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

Ohhhh, the Children!

Christine Moellering

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

I think it's egregious how long I sit at traffic lights around town like the one at Carpenter/Hogback/Washtenaw (5 minutes) and how there are so few blinking left turn lights in this town. It's egregious how there is so little consideration to the amount of gas wasted while I sit at a light that could be blinking so I could turn instead. I am glad I live in Ypsilanti and not Ann Arbor. We've talked about moving but articles like this make it much less appealing.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:20 p.m.

That is perhaps the worst intersection in the area. (It's Pittsfiled Township - just). It's busy all day and at rush hour it is hideous. One often has to wait through two or three lights at that time to get through the interrsection, particularly the turn lanes. I always turn my ignition off while waiting for the lights to change. But your are right , it's bad. I don't know what could be done to change it (other than repaving the road, which is godawful). I don't get Mr. Granger's point. Idling at traffic lights would not be forbidden under the new ordinance and drivers have no control over traffic lights. So . . . ?

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

&quot;I think it's egregious how long I sit at traffic lights around town like the one at Carpenter/Hogback/Washtenaw&quot; Are you kidding? That isn't even in the city of Ann Arbor. But even if it was, so what? Just because the timing of the lights don't suit your preferences doesn't change the fact that there is too much unnecessary idling, and that idling diminishes our air quality and our quality of life. We don't have a &quot;right to pollute&quot;.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

That intersection is a good example though I have a feeling blinking left turn lights were removed to alleviate the danger posed by the uneducated and sometimes downright dangerous foreign drivers (the educational VISA holders that never drove until they came here) that should be relegated to a bus.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

Maybe we should put a hot air/CO2 meter on Margie Teall's mouth. You know for the children.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

I would likely bet that one single mowing of the average school yard (with a tractor with no catalytic converter) emits more harmful emissions than an entire season of emissions from the cars idling while waiting to pick up their kids. Why not trade in the football training equipment for a few dozen reel-type manual push mowers? You'd save money, have a bigger impact on clean air than this &quot;egregious idling&quot; ordinance, and have one heck of a tough football team if they had to sprint push mow entire school yards as part of their training. Sorry, but coming from a full-blooded socialist, this is too far in terms of &quot;nanny-state&quot; regulations (I think it's the first time I've willfully used that term). The logic behind this seems one step away from justifying a ban on barbecue cookouts and wood fireplaces except for emergencies. This is just too much. EDUCATE, don't regulate. If you feel that regulating and punitive fines are the best or only option to educate the public, then this is a sad state of leadership and government indeed. Has anyone considered traffic control simply carrying flyers with a brief summary of how much money one who idles average X minutes per day could save if they shut off their engine instead? Make it a nice, polite reminder that emphasizes thank you and have a nice day, but doesn't have to include a $100 fine? Has anyone with the city at least consider TRYING this to see how it works before jumping straight in to harsh fines? It wouldn't even require any new laws or ordinances - just print out some flyers for people to hand out (written in a non-accusatory tone, but rather helpful and neighborly), maybe put up some signs in school pick up lots asking drivers not to idle (with a big PLEASE or THANK YOU clearly emphasized). Come on Ann Arbor - there are better and arguably much simpler and more effective ways to affect a change in peoples habits than regulations and fines. I hope you read this and honestly consider it as an a


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

One more thing for the Ann Arbor Nanny Council to hassle and fine us for. Sheesh. Are they gonna fine me cause my dogs pass wind too much next? Methane is a greenhouse gas they tell me.

Southern Michigan Railroad Society

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

Sounds to me like the city environmental coordinator is idle -- too much time on his hands to come up with this one. Then you have the city council idling with their mouths flapping that this is important when all it appears to be is that the manager told the coordinators to come up with more ideas to make money for the city. That is &quot;egregious&quot; folks! Guess the police cars will have to turn off their engines when they stop you for &quot;egregious idling&quot; otherwise, throw them a curve and charge them!


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.

Do we really need an idling ordinance??? How about if the City decides to raise awareness rather than spending our time and money on the legal ramifications, etc? This seems like an incredible overreach.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

This certainly has to be the plot for the new Dumb and Dumber movie.

Jeff Renner

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Diesel truck engines can be stopped and started. UPS has a no-idling policy. Considering how short many of their stops are, it's surely a temptation to idle, but from what I've seen, they kill their engines every time. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

yes they can but they pollute the most at start up when engine temps and combustion are below optimum.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

If a vehicle can hold more than 16 passengers it will take longer than 5 minutes to cool the cabin down to a safe temp in the heat of summer. Will this ignorant ordinance apply to law enforcement who will leave their vehicle idling while they are taking statements or on personal business such as stopping at the convenience store or eating at a restaurant? Not only are they contributing to pollution they are wasting our money and endangering public safety by making their vehicle an easy target for theft. How about the various commercial vehicles that require their engines run to power hydraulic equipment such as the boom trucks employed by DTE or the road commission. Ignorance and tyranny in government is far greater issue than idling vehicles. We need to save ourselves if there is any hope for the children.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

Wow.......just wow.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

So, is AATA going to be exempt from this?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

G2, even the fact that you would bring up an ambulance as a violator is ridiculous. You ever been in an ambulance good, bad or otherwise? If you have, you wouldn't even make a statement such as you did. They can idle as long as they want.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

Or HVA--I was at the UM ER yesterday waiting for my car to be returned when at least two ambulances were idling in the bays with no one around them--go figure.

Tony Livingston

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

Better to address the traffic lights. It is maddening to idle at red lights when no cars are moving in any direction. Most of these left hand turn signals around town are not needed. There is usually plenty of opportunity to turn left when there are openings. Lots of pollution is coming from traffic lights forcing people to idle.

Aaron Bragman Bragman

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Seriously? We don't have enough law enforcement to protect a half a dozen women on South State from being sexually assaulted, but we're going to send out cops to hand out tickets for parents who let their cars idle more than 5 minutes in the middle of winter while waiting for their kids? Get real. Having a &quot;no idling&quot; section in a city is like having a &quot;no pissing&quot; section in a swimming pool.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2 p.m.

Laws like these just breed stupidity. If you own a Prius, commute 10 miles a week, but let your car idle, you're bad. If you own a Hummer, commute 100 miles a week, but don't let your car idle, you're good. Laws like these just make people less responsible for their actions. &quot;Hey, I'm following the law, I must be doing right.&quot;


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

So actually, you support the law because idling cars annoy you? Well, if that were cause for more laws...

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

Oh, it will feel good... When someone idles their stinky, noisy truck early in the morning for thirty minutes, seeing them cited will feel good indeed.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.

Education. Not &quot;feel good&quot; laws.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

So you propose we do Nothing then. And just let people continue to pollute, continue to idle their cars at parks, beaches, day care centers....


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

What's going to be next on the City Council agenda, no cars allowed in Ann Arbor. Can any council member seriously consider this outrageous intrusion on the driving habits of the people of Ann Arbor?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

I agree with Thinker on here. While we really need to educate the public about the damage to the environment (and thus our health) from needless idling, we've already cut our police force and crime is indeed up. So this really leaves me wondering, with the cut police force, who IS going to be out enforcing this new crime? I would hate to read on here about the number of homes broken into or businesses robbed at gunpoint or yet another rape or assault case and then wonder how many tickets were written for egregious idling. With the cuts to the AAPD, wouldn't it be cheaper and a better use of resources to simply put up billboards and signs to remind citizens and visitors to turn their cars off when not in use? And while you're at it, remind them they're wasting their expensive gas. As we as a community become more aware of it, less people will do it. I also agree with the parents who pull up to elementary schools to pick up their children especially in winter. Schools can remind the parents not to come too early or shut off their cars. We do need to turn the cars off. But I'm really concerned about the resources that would be used in enforcing this.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

Yet another unenforceable law. These council members need to focus on things that really matter. In theory this is a good idea but not something that needs to be legislated. What's next a law that says all people must eat 2 servings of fruit and veggies a day or risk a $100 fine?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

The city needs to ban AATA from idling on Fourth Ave, when a bus pulls in it should be shut off. Have you ever walked down Fourth Ave with all those buses idling? Worst street in town. Better yet just ban all cars, trucks &amp; buses from the city; that's where we are going with this ordinance aren't we?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

A brief summary of the comments: 1) All city functions should grind to a halt until the cops and firefighters are happy. 2) City council members and our administrators are morons. 3) A law banning excessive idling is socialist. 4) I don't like stop lights and traffic. Did I get everything?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

You forgot one thing. Vote the liberals out and restore reasonable local government. Of course it will never happen.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

The sky is not falling - but, hopefully, pollution levels will. And that will further improve our quality of life. I find it odd that people say stuff like &quot;this is the most important thing we have to worry about?&quot; - as if we can't improve the City in multiple ways simultaneously. Or, as if City workers can only all work on the *same thing*. By that flawed logic, we would *never* have parks in Ann Arbor because there is *always* some crisis that is &quot;more important&quot; than parks.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

I think the problem here is that the things many people consider most important do not appear as being worked on, such as our perfectly lousy streets.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

I hate to say it; but A2 council is helping Michigan small business opportunities. Combine the new pedistrian and Idling ordinaces with signs on the major freeways leading to A2 and visitors could park out of town and be bussed in. Saving them hassle of laws more stringent then expected. Cheaper then the possible ticket. Shuttle busses would be the new business. With Federal tax credits and such the shuttle busses could be electric thus saving our children from further harm. Never thought politicians could create jobs; but A2 council has changed my mind. Now if the major cities adopted such .. .


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

I got a better idea city council, could you first do something about the &quot;egregious rapes&quot; happening around our town? Who voted for these people?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

Given the ever growing issue surrounding air quality, there is no surprise in this new ordinance proposal. True are the statements regarding other cities having similar idling laws. However, our local &quot;Governments&quot; approach of addressing the issue by imposing laws and fines on the people as the initial action taken is the egregious matter here. The attitude being voiced seems to say its our fault. Our local &quot;Government&quot; officials are pointing their collective fingers at individuals whom for example want their windshield's free of ice before driving in to work, to drop of the kids, pick up relatives or engage in any other type of driving activity where windshield visibility may be hampered by ice and snow. Claiming that these types of actions are at the root of our air quality issues and proposing fines to enforce change is offensive to the local population. Better our local governing party take a look at our city's infrastructure first. Changes in Traffic Light timing, removing unnecessary Traffic Lights where Four way Stop sings would suffice, constructing Round A-bouts. These type's of changes would far surpass engine idling ordinances in terms of overall reduction of unwanted particulates in the air. As well, working from this angle would show parity on the behalf of their part. FYI, these types of changes would also be in line with the types of changes that cities including Washington DC, Denver CO. and Chicago IL. have long since put into place, prior to putting in to place any idling ordinances. If our local &quot;Government&quot; would like to begin emulating these places, then let us first try to catch up to these cities by following all of the examples that those cities have already set forth.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Ron Granger: &quot;Have you considered Dearborn? They *love* the car in Dearborn. They don't even have many sidewalks, they like cars so much.&quot; I love how some people, when disagreed with, want the people with whom they disagree to move away. And Dearborn has tons of sidewalks. I know not where you got the idea they didn't. I think you just made that up.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

So you propose spending millions on traffic improvements.. But none of that will solve the problem of the person sitting in a park, with their engine running for 30 minutes, as they immerse themselves in their text messaging world.. Or the neighbor who runs his diesel for 30 minutes at 6AM.. Etc. Have you considered Dearborn? They *love* the car in Dearborn. They don't even have many sidewalks, they like cars so much. It is always possible to point to some greater crisis as an excuse for not moving forward with quality of life improvements. Fortunately, our elected A2 representatives are not so myopic.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Really? Now it is 'save the children'? How do these buffoons look themselves in the mirror in the morning?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

&quot;Egregious governing&quot; is more like it. Remember in November...write-in if necessary.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

Well I support the idea, Common Sense is ineligible to hold office.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

WHAT!?!?!?!?! This is the story they are going with? &quot;It's for the children&quot; Oh how many horrendous enactments start that way... Lest we forget in just the previous article: &quot;Exceptions to the proposed ordinance: Motor vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers can idle to maintain a comfortable cabin temperatures for up to five minutes before departure &quot; So not only is the stated reason here exempt BUT I highly doubt the police will be citing City vehicles in the first place. So who is the intended target and what do they hope to accomplish? YOU and MORE REVENUE VOTE THESE GUYS OUT!

mike gatti

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3 p.m.

I saw that you are right it is shameful


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

The only thing &quot;egregious&quot; here is council's complete waste of time on a huge non-issue while there are actually REAL issues facing the city. Egregious cluelessness. Remember that in November, people.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

I've witnessed some dumb moves on the part of Ann Arbor government, but this one truly absurd. Perhaps the energy conservation gorup and the historic preservaton gorups breath the same flatulence. It might be time to shut the enigneoff on both groups. This nanny government overeach is enough to make a liberal move to the right


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:25 p.m.



Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

And who is going to enforce this anti &quot;egregious idling&quot; ordinance? Our laid-off police officers? Are you going to ticket a bus driver? An idling fire engine driver? An Ambulance on a 911 call? A diesel car driver (they get BETTER gas mileage). Think, council! This is ridiculous! Educate not legislate!


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 3:45 a.m.

We really have a fertilizer program administrator? I don't know what's worse, the fact that they could issue $100 citations for idling your car, or the notion that such a position actually exists.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

this makes me think this may be a money grab


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

and: Parking enforcement personnel (Chapters 30, 59 and 126). Telecommunicator (Chapter 93). (4) Human Resources Services Unit (Chapters 23 and 112): Human resources manager. Human rights coordinator. Human rights investigator.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

just read the ordinance and apparently almost every city employee, what a joke. Here is the list of those they want to have the power to citate Assistant land development coordinator. Building inspectors. Electrical inspectors. Inspection supervisors. Housing inspectors. Mechanical inspectors. Ordinance inspector. Plan examiner. Plumbing inspectors. Zoning coordinator. (b) Community television network - public information services unit (Chapter 32): Cable administrator. (2) Public services area. (a) Field operations services unit (Chapters 26, 27, 28, 33, 38, 39, 40, 47, 49, 82, 106 and 119): Field operations manager. City forester. Field operations supervisor. Draft Idling Reduction Ordinance 16 Prepared December 3, 2010 Field operations technician. Park ranger. Natural area preservation manager. Natural area preservation technician. Conservation worker. Outreach coordinator. Conservation crew leader. Field biologist. (b) Wastewater Treatment Services Unit (Chapters 27, 28 and 33): Wastewater treatment services manager. Administrative assistant to wastewater treatment services manager. (c) Systems planning unit (Chapters 33, 47, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 62, 63, 70, 98, 100, 104, 106, 116 and 119): Environmental coordinator. Fertilizer program administrator. Land development coordinator. (3) Safety services area. (a) Fire services unit (Chapters 27, 93, 98, 99, 100, 101, 105, 111, 115, 116 and 126): Fire chief. Assistant fire chief. Battalion chief. Captain. Lieutenant. Driver operator. Fire Fire chief. Assistant fire chief. Battalion chief. Captain. Lieutenant. Driver operator. Fire fighter. Draft Idling Reduction Ordinance 17 Prepared December 3, 2010 Fire marshal. Fire inspectors. (b) Police services unit. Community service assistants (Chapters 38, 39, 47, 49, 70, 71, 82, 85, 106, 107, 111, 114, 115, 119, 126 and 127) Community standards officers/safety services area (Chapters 26, 30, 40, 47, 49, 56, 59, 61, 70, 71, 79, 82, 105, etc.

mike gatti

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:18 p.m.

Ok, this is a good idea. I don't think that telling people to turn off their car when they are parked is really a step toward a Soviet type state. It is just the timing that lends an air of frivolity to the issue. Please City Counsel deal with the larger issues. 100 cops is not as good as 175. Same goes with fire, etc. Take steps toward adjusting city revenue to meet needs rather than adjusting your view of what the city needs to reflect revenue.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

This is the most important thing they have to worry about??? Seriously? I can just see it when they send a cop to every local school in the morning and afternoon to ticket all the moms idling at pickup and dropoff time. Oh wait, this is about buses at the Hands On Museum? Or is it at stoplights, or.... Please City Council, put your mouths in idle and get a grip on what is important.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

First off, with the high cost of gas, most folks shut their car off while waiting for their children as do the buses. At any given school, nobody parks near an intake unit. Most idling as mentioned before occurs at stop lights. I believe the council has more important matter to attend to such as improving the quality of the streets, safety of the citizens such as increasing the AAFD and AAPD staffing. I sure hope that when the election comes around, folks will be changing.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

I agree with Barb. And sometimes the buses idle as well, especially the special wheelchair-lift bus. When the school doors open, all those gases are flowing into the school, and all the kids and parents outside the school are exposed as well.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Well, not a my school. Parents at mine leave cars idling all the time in the lot.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

agreed. the parents i see (including myself) always turn off their cars while waiting to pick up kids. the buses as well.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:11 p.m.

School buses are an issue, yes, and the district could make policies about them. But what about buses from other districts? That's who is usually at the Hands' On Museum. And what about all the parents that let their cars run for 20 minutes or more when waiting in the pickup lines at schools? My kids' school has signs posted asking parents to turn off their cars, yet at least half the cars in line are idling. Parents may arrive quite early for pickup, and some of them run their cars the entire time. Then the school day ends and children come out into this cloud of chemicals these cars have been spewing. The schools have been trying to educate parents, but it's obviously not working - something more, like this ordinance, is needed. I live in Pittsfield Twp. and I wish they would consider this ordinance as well - nothing like the sound and smell of my neighbor running his diesel truck in the driveway for 15 minutes every morning.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.

More bread and circus. &quot;Egregious idling&quot;? Please.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

I support a ban on the City Council from driving cars period. Put your money where your mouths are, and start taking the bus.

Terrence Brennan

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.


Mark Wilson

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

&quot;And so the idea was how do you look at what's happening in the community and create a way to regulate it.&quot; Really? the first idea? Our first idea should be education, not new laws. I would prefer to see information sent to home with students the first day of class plus good signage near schools plus polite reminders when necessary. Far too often we react to problems by passing laws that make ordinary behavior illegal. This problem is caused largely by two groups of people, parents and school bus drivers, who if properly informed would eagerly reduce the amount of &quot;egregious idling&quot;. Please, let's do that and let our police catch serious criminals.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

When someone is sitting their car, windows rolled up, engine and a/c cranked, texting, I'd love to see you &quot;educate&quot; them by knocking on their window and asking them to shut it off. Let us know how that works.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

The EPA has tried education about idling for years. I guess you weren't paying attention. See how well that education effort worked?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:36 a.m.

Of course idling at the excessive traffic lights and stop sign contributes to pollution, but that's part of driving, at least until more efficient methods can be employed. What's not part of driving is &quot;warming up&quot; vehicles, having someone wait in a vehicle with the A/C on, drive throughs and pretty much anything else that doesn't involve getting folks from point A to B. Good luck with the statute, though. We lazy Americans don't want to give up our soft lives, as foolish as that may be.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:36 a.m.

Remember, comrade citizen. It is not just idling. It is &quot;egregious idling.&quot; There is a big difference. How lucky we are, comrade citizen, to live in the glorious People's Democratic Republic of Ann Arbor, where our leaders are so concerned with our welfare.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

I will pay a fine for egregious idling when pedestrians pay a fine for egregioius walking in front of cars when they don't have the right of way and making me stop, or when bicyclists pay fines for running stop signs, lights, pulling out in front of cars, etc. Ann Arbor, get a grip.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

You can always move out of A2 if you don't like it here.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

I suggest, Dog Comrade, that Egregious Idlers be forced to paint a yellow stripe on their cars. So we can easily identify these offensive people.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:26 a.m.

Educate don't legislate. it's illegal to turn your car off at an intersection. Keep traffic flowing by planning the city lights more efficiently. Have all bus drivers and diesel drivers be subject to stricter laws.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

What law says it's illegal to turn your engine off at an intersection? I think you made that up. It *is* illegal to park a vehicle *in* an intersection, but I can't find a MI state law that says you can't turn off the engine at an intersection. Go to <a href="http://www.michigan legislature" rel='nofollow'>www.michigan legislature</a> and do a search for &quot;intersection&quot;. On the first set of hits, search for &quot;engine&quot; - this searches within the first results - 0 hits. I tried &quot;vehicle&quot; after intersection, and the only one that looked like it could be it was parking. But that's not the same thing.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

But it's not illegal to turn your brain off..........


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

That's what I was thinking while I waited in traffic, because Main St was closed for some lightly attended affair, during rush hour, again. &quot;Suffer the little children.&quot;


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:19 a.m.

City Council can easily mandate that the School District not allow the buses to idle, and also require AATA do the sane, no?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

Actually the school bus policy is no idling at any of the schools. Although one can tell you there were a few who didn't get the message. At the lot you could, but not anywhere else there were children. The buses needed to idle in the bus lot so that the diesel warms up and gets the buses moving faster in very cold weather.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

Cold bus rides for everyone..................


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

Like that's going to happen


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:09 a.m.

So the city council wants to take quick action on this and enforce it throughout the entire city all due to a single complaint that was received outside the Hands On Museum, but when the citizens object to the cutting of public safety services while council whines that the city needs to invest more in art, council covers their ears and pretends that they don't hear us. Nice.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:05 a.m.

The largest percentage of idling vehicles likely occurs at city a2 stoplights. Look at a sample of some a2 traffic counts in this article: <a href=""></a> Traffic counts are for 24 hours. Now, think about annual traffic counts along these roads and intersections. Then, think about idling at intersections with antiquated and poor traffic coordination: poorly sensored and programmed, or unsensored and unprogrammed: Millions of idling vehicles. Upgrade a2's traffic flow at intersections, and increase travel efficiencies. Less idling means happier citizens and less pollution. No need for new traffic enforcement and tickets, just better traffic engineering. Automakers are tackling the issue with engines that automatically stop and start at certain idle conditions. Individual drivers can perform the same practice manually: turn your car off at long stoplights. Certain hybrids already do this. It's not an issue for pure electrics. The irony: our collective body of mayor, council, and commissions are gifted, intelligent, and educated people, some, individually. With legislation like this in our current realm of challenges and problems, it seems like the most damaging idling occurs in our city government.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:05 p.m.

a2grateful is spot on, there are plenty of ill-timed, or sensorless lights/intersections in Ann Arbor. In addition to a2grateful's suggestions, more intersections allowing left turns on green or right turns on red would be beneficial in reducing idling and traffic congestion. South bound Huron parkway at Washtenaw is a prime example where a turn on red would be great. Oklahoma City has one of the best 'sensored' downtown grids I have driven through; at least it did a few years ago.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

Traffic signal timing is a proven way to reduce fuel consumption and resulting emissions. One study cites examples: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Page 9, section 3.3 Surely, all of the traffic and emissions engineers will show their studies and data. Hmm. We have seen no data in these discussions. Curious? No, typical.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

So basically, Ann Arbor spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year improving the traffic signal system, but that's not good enough. They've been improving the system for decades, to reduce idling at lights. OTOH, there are people sitting in vehicles idling them for no particular reason except they're too lazy to turn the engine off. (Remember, idling for health, safety, or necessary climate control will be exempted.) What signal system is going to get them to turn off the engine? Why does it make sense for us to try to reduce idling through improving the signal system, but not by putting an ordinance in place that says you're polluting everyone's air by leaving the motor running while standing or parking?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

So basically, you can't admit that you were spouting about something that you don't know about? Here's a SEMCOG website discussing the interconnect between Ann Arbor's SCOOT system and MDOT's TOC system: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. The SCOOT system is in place, it's the interface that's planned. Here's an A2gov page discussing the SCOOT system: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. Do you really think you understand traffic flow better than Ann Arbor's experienced and highly skilled traffic engineers? So I assume you're a certified traffic engineer? Why don't you just stop putting your foot in your mouth?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

Actually, one problem is evident while sitting at red lights at various intersections in the city. Traffic is at a standstill in every direction. All lights are red, and the light system appears to be locked on red. This persists for minutes, while all cars idle. The result is (mis) engineered traffic light gridlock Another of my favorite scenarios. Traffic is backed up on a busy thoroughfare, while a totally vacant side street has a persistent green light. No pedestrians. No cars. So, my comments are not about one problem. And, there are many more than these. Also, being fuel conscious, I turn my ignition off at long red lights. Should the city should ticket motorists that leave their cars running at red lights? Think of the ticket revenue and environmental savings! Finally: I give pedestrians right of way, in or out of crosswalks, regardless of traffic signal status, law, or ordinance.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

You are complaining about a different problem. Just because you feel the traffic lights aren't timed to provide optimal motoring bliss and speed for you, does not mean we should stop solving all other problems, or stop looking at ways to improve the city. You also should consider that in Ann Arbor, pedestrians have priority. A lot of motorists may not like it, but that is the way we like it here.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

Assuming that you are correct: buying software does not equal implementing well-engineered traffic plans . . . In my experience it appears that these activities are disparate in a2. This is also apparent to anyone that commutes here. In the meantime, we'll continue to idle away until we see the (green) light.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

Man, people are dense. Look up SCOOT - better yet, here's the link: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. This is a software system produced by Siemens - probably the best adaptive traffic control system in the world. It's already in place on the major arterials heading into downtown. They couldn't put in for the downtown grid because you generally don't need adaptive control systems in grids, and even SCOOT doesn't work well on downtown grids. So you're complaining that Ann Arbor put in the world's best traffic signal system, but it's not good enough for you. Get a grip.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:30 a.m.

Anyone who thinks idling is no big deal hasn't been around a stinking diesel truck or bus. Newer trucks aren't so bad, but older ones make a cloud of noxious exhaust. Old cars that aren't working right aren't much better. That exhaust doesn't just smell bad, it's damaging the heart and lungs of everyone who breathes it. It's probably about as bad as second-hand smoke. We can't make them clean up their engines - that's a federal/state/regional decision. But we can at least make them shut their engines off if they're just going to sit there for a while.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.

It's quite sad that you should think this KJMClark. Really, you don't think friendly reminders have any chance of changing habits or educating the public? You think the first approach to any problem is going straight toward creating new laws and fines? If you really can only see this as a joke, then you have a very sad view of others indeed. Let me ask you Clark - what reasons do you think people have for idling their cars. Do you truly think it's just to be malicious, to pollute our air and poison our children, just for personal satisfaction? I sincerely hope you would answer no. Why then? Maybe a habit carried over from old carbureted engines that they never unlearned, or followed example from parents without thinking about it? Maybe just something they never thought about in terms of how much it costs them or it's potential effect on the air in an area? Maybe because when they are waiting in a no parking zone they feel that if they shut off the car they are illegally parking, but if they leave it running then somehow it's okay? Though intentions of the last scenario are arguably selfish and illegal, in most cases where people leave their cars idling I would say it is simply old bad habits and perhaps ignorance, but a far cry from a crime worthy of steep fines. You really think that making a law punishable by heavy fines will be more effective or beneficial to our community? You don't think that most idlers are just doing so out of bad habits that they probably haven't given much conscious thought to, and that signs in common idling areas asking motorists not to let their engines idle has no chance of having an equal or better effect than the fines? To believe that the only way to encourage changing people's bad habits is to spank them, and that &quot;No Idling&quot; signs, or issuing a friendly reminder rather than a ticket has no hope of educating people and affecting a real change, this is simply sad.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 12:53 a.m.

A bad solution to a non-existent problem. I drive around town quite a bit, and I can't remember the last time I saw a car or truck or bus emitting anything visible at all. The only smell the buses emit is the aroma of french fries, probably because they use some form of biodiesel, and the big-rigs mostly use some form of low-sulphur diesel so they don't smell much at all. The last thing this town needs is more micromanaging rules from the &quot;egregiously idle&quot; minds of piss-ant local politicians like the current crop in city hall.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:50 p.m.

&quot;Has anyone tried the friendly reminder approach first, or perhaps asking nicely?&quot; This is a joke right? That's a really long post for a gag, though. You aren't serious, are you?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

cont... It's just very wrong, and a very sad comment on our society to see us ready to pick up the paddle before first considering saying &quot;please&quot;.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

&quot;Make them clean up their engines&quot;, &quot;make them shut off their engines&quot;, us, them, make make make. The problem I have with this ordinance isn't about trying to get people to turn off their engines. It's about the idea of &quot;making them&quot; under threat of harsh fines. Has anyone tried the friendly reminder approach first, or perhaps asking nicely? Maybe signs placed at areas common to idling cars asking people to please turn off their engine, with a big please and thank you? Anyone thought of even trying this approach first? If you want a micromanaging nanny to watch your kids, would you prefer one who opens each dialogue with &quot;do it or else&quot;, or do you think that just maybe starting with a please and thank you might be worth a try first? Most people who idle too much do so not out of maliciousness, but simply thoughtlessness, or old habits from the days of carburetors and chokes when starting up a car could actually waste more fuel than idling a few minutes. There's something seriously wrong with out government and society when they never even consider the possibility of a friendly reminder to citizens who would probably gladly comply and say &quot;sorry, I didn't realize&quot; if reminded politely, but instead jumps straight to formal regulations and threat of punitive fines. Sad sad sad. City administrators, I ask you kindly, let's please consider honey before vinegar. Yes, asking nicely relies somewhat on good intentions and mindfulness of people, but do you really believe we are so far devolved that this does not exist? Please delay any further consideration of this ordinance, at least until we have TRIED asking nicely first. If we try this with signs, flyer handouts, maybe one of those main street banners as a friendly reminder, and it doesn't seem to have any effect, then maybe an ordinance could be worthy of consideration. It's just very wrong, and a very sad comment on our society to see us ready to pick up the paddle before


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

I think big 18-wheelers don't have the luxury of turning on and off their engines. They have to leave them on. And surely you wouldn't want to ban those, and all the goods they ship, out of Ann Arbor?