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Posted on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Pedestrian crosswalk, other safety measures on the table for stretch of Ann Arbor-Saline Road where woman died

By Kyle Feldscher


The intersection at Oakbrook Drive and Ann Arbor-Saline Road could be in line for safety improvements, according to city officials.

Daniel Brenner |

Ann Arbor city officials are considering safety improvements to the stretch of Ann Arbor-Saline Road where a 70-year-old woman was struck by a car and killed Friday night.

However, solutions may not come right away, one official cautioned.

City Transportation Manager Eli Cooper said the area was definitely going to be in the city’s plans after the woman, whose name has not been released, was struck by a pickup truck while crossing Ann Arbor-Saline Road at Oakbrook Drive at 6 p.m. Friday.

Cooper said he hadn’t been aware of citizen requests for a pedestrian crosswalk on Ann Arbor-Saline Road between Eisenhower Parkway and South Main Street, but such a crossing would make sense with the increase in residential properties in the area in recent years.

“Make no mistake about it, the city takes pedestrian safety seriously,” Cooper said. “This is a very unfortunate circumstance and it clearly has brought to our eyes the fact there are people who are attempting to cross there.

“We’re going to have to take a look at what’s the best way to proceed with an appropriate crossing.”

Property owners and city government officials have expressed their concerns about the area in the days following the crash, which took place in an area with no pedestrian crosswalk. The speed limit in the area is 45 miles per hour and there are either four or five lanes of traffic on the stretch of Ann Arbor-Saline Road between Eisenhower and South Main.


The intersection of Oakbrook and Ann Arbor-Saline Road on Monday.

Daniel Brenner |

Although Cooper believes something should be done to make the road safer for pedestrians, he urged patience.

“There’s a right way to do it,” he said. “It’d be premature (to do something) without having analysis and getting data about traffic patterns and pedestrians' activity. We’re not just jumping out and saying we need to do something. We need to do what’s right; there’s no timeline.”

A pedestrian crosswalk across Ann Arbor-Saline Road was proposed in the city’s Non-Motorized Transportation Plan from 2007. That plan called for a crosswalk northeast of the Oakbrook Drive intersection. However, the crosswalk was never installed.

City Traffic Engineer Les Sipowski said the crosswalk was never put in because there was no good way to slow traffic on a four-to-five-lane road for pedestrians in 2007. However, recent developments such as the High-Intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) systems have made it safer and more feasible. Those systems are activated by pedestrians and remain dormant when no one is trying to cross.

“Doing a pedestrian crosswalk on a roadway like that requires more than just striping bars,” Sipowski said. “When the Non-Motorized Plan was prepared, we didn’t have any devices that would help pedestrians cross roadways with four or five lanes of traffic moving.”

He added, “right now, with these new tools, it’s probably feasible to provide a better pedestrian crossing opportunity.”

While many officials have said the area on Ann Arbor-Saline Road between Eisenhower and South Main wasn’t being talked about as a safety concern, one resident of the area said she had been contacting city officials with her worries.

Sabine Gabaron, who lives on Northbrook Drive, said she’d been exchanging emails with Sipowski since the fall of 2011. Gabaron said she’d told Sipowski she was worried an accident would happen due to heavy traffic coming to and from Whole Foods in Cranbrook Plaza and the increasing amount of pedestrian traffic crossing at the Northbrook Drive intersection.

Northbrook Drive is directly across Ann Arbor-Saline Road from Oakbrook Drive.

Gabaron said a walk from her home to Whole Foods or Busch’s, near South Main Street and Ann Arbor-Saline Road, might only take five minutes but she refuses to make the trek because she finds the area too dangerous.

“There should be a way to get to the other side of that road and more and more people are just doing it without realizing how dangerous it is,” she said.

Cars coming over a hill in the northbound lanes add to the danger of the area, Gabaron said. She said she had contacted Sipowski and was told there would be work done to make the intersection more clear by the end of the construction season, typically mid-November.

She said it’s important for the city to revisit how people come in and out of Cranbrook Plaza. She would like to see more street lights added to the area to improve the lighting at night and some sort of crosswalk installed.

“Something needs to be done. They have to allow people to go to the other side of the road,” she said.

Carolyn Grawi, a board member for the Washtenaw Biking & Walking Coalition in addition to director of education and advocacy for the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, said one solution could be Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons — or RRFBs — similar to those on Plymouth Road.

Grawi said Friday’s accident, the accident that killed a pedestrian on Golfside Drive in Pittsfield Township Thursday and a very serious crash involving a bicyclist on Washtenaw Avenue on Aug. 13 all had one thing in common: Pedestrians were struck by vehicles while they tried to cross a five-lane road. Having a crosswalk with the RRFBs, along with a pedestrian refuge, would improve safety considerably, Grawi said.

“It’s impossible to cross a five-lane road with no safe crossing,” she said.

She urged city officials to take up a Complete Streets Policy. Complete streets are defined as “roadways planned, designed, and constructed to provide appropriate access to all legal users ... whether by car, truck, transit, assistive device, foot or bicycle” by state legislation, enacted in 2010. State roads throughout Michigan are designed, or being designed, to be complete streets that are safe for all users.

“It’s really important we consider all users when we talk about this,” she said.

Grawi said the fact there are two parks in the area of Northbrook Drive, as well as grocery stores and residential neighborhoods — among other things — suggests that it would be more useful to have a crosswalk there instead of forcing pedestrians to walk to the corner of Ann Arbor-Saline Road and Eisenhower Parkway or Ann Arbor-Saline and South Main Street.

Sipowski said many things need to be studied before any changes can be made to the road.

“We have to see what is the best location and what the best financing for the project would be,” he said.

View Pedestrian accident in a larger map

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Cendra Lynn

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:04 a.m.

We have to study... It will take time... "We're not just jumping out and saying we need to do something. We need to do what's right; there's no timeline." Wouldn't it be nice to have City officials and staff who say, "This is terrible! It must be looked into immediately! We will study what is best for this particular area and also will begin looking at the rest of the city. We must protect our pedestrians!! Instead we have people backing up, ducking, saying what they cannot do. YES THERE IS A TIMELINE! The time is NOW. Get Going!!

Joe Hood

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

I think there is something curious here, how the city says no one complained about the situation, yet someone stated the opposite. (any possibility of a story on the follow-up of what happened, who was contacted, what was promised, or not?). How do we know what the city knows, other than through a FOIA request? Can the city provide a Google map that shows where citizens have complained about different intersections and safety concerns? It certainly seems the police reports are vague in their descriptions of exact intersections but instead refer to whole blocks (can't the city change to using GPS coordinates? They have computers in their cars already). I suppose an endearing individual might create a map of all the unsafe places around town and plot it on a map for all to see.

Ann English

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

Carolyn's "pedestrian refuge" must mean "pedestrian island".


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

You could put ten thousand RRFBs all over this city and people will still find the one stretch of road without one to jaywalk across multiple lanes of high speed traffic. We are doing plenty to address the problem of unsafe drivers in this city, but absolutely nothing about unsafe pedestrians.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Why not build car bridges so bikes and pedestrians can safely pass. The AA road and safety engineers are failing by not providing sound engineered road solutions that take into account car traffic patterns, bike travel patterns and pedestrian needs. They seem to wait until someone gets killed to do their job. Very sad!


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

I think the solution is to lower traffic speeds to 20 mph and disallow driving at dusk and after. But seriously, not all roadways are pedestrian friendly or can be made that way without going to great expense. The only way to safely cross a 4 or 5 lane road is by pedestrian bridge or a regular traffic light. Pedestrian crossings that consist or a simple sign and some lines painted on the road are not only impractical but dangerous if the speed limit is about 20 or 25 miles per hour. These are fine for downtown and residential areas but on a road with speed limits above that it invites disaster. At 45 mph by the time you see some stripes on the pavement and a smallish sign it's too late to stop in a safe manner. It doesn't take a genius or even a traffic/civil engineer to figure that out. It's just common sense. If you want to run out in traffic traveling at 45 - 50 mph, during rush hour, at dusk or after dark at anything other than a regular traffic light you are taking your life in your hands. I'll do whatever I can to avoid hitting you but under those circumstances there can be no guarantees.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

Yes! Lower car speeds in every place where a pedestrian might cross. This means, cars cannot drive any where in AA which is the goal of the mayor and most of city council.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

OF a simple sign That should say ABOVE 20 - 25 miles per hour I should proof read before I post ;-)

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

Two points: 1) Ann Arbor has to decide whether this is going to be a pedestrian-friendly downtown-type area or a strip-mall-like suburban shopping area right next to a busy highway. There is no in-between. Trying to do both will result in gridlock. 2) Many areas have pedestrian-activated crossing lights, and islands in the middle. The problem is that, unlike with hawk lights, the pedestrian may have to wait a couple of minutes for the light to change. This avoids gridlock and helps a road-planning department time lights properly. But I don't see any sign that Ann Arbor pedestrians are willing to wait more than a few seconds before crossing.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

As usual the response to this problem is the same as most other city/engineer responses- to spend time and therefore money on a study. If there was supposed to be something in 2007, there should have been something installed closer to 2007. A couple of hundred years of traffic control management history to look back on with no solutions, and yet just in the last 5 years there has been a miraculous amount of innovation? This is a terrible argument for not acting sooner. However, just like one cannot sue the city for damage to ones vehicle from improperly maintained, pothole-strewn roads, one cannot sue the city for not acting sooner to address what was commonly known to be a problem area. But I encourage everyone to continue to petition for action if there is something that you know to be wrong, and no one at City Hall seems to be doing anything about it.

An Arborigine

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Last time I checked, A2 Saline Rd was a thoroughfare intended for automobiles. The trip from Oak Valley to Stadium includes the following: traffic light at Oak Valley/A2 Saline (long light cycle) traffic light at Lohr/A2 Saline (very long light cycle) traffic light at I94 (E. ramp)/A2 Saline traffic light at I94 (W. ramp)/A2 Saline traffic light at Eisenhower/A2 Saline Proposed Light, HAWK or other stop at Oakbrook traffic light at Main/A2 Saline traffic light at Scio Church/A2 Saline traffic light at Stadium/A2 Saline I can drive to Chelsea in the same amount of time as to Meijer here in AA and without the annoying stop/go all the way. Maybe I should spend my money in Chelsea?

An Arborigine

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 12:33 a.m.

If you plan to be a career pedestrian, you should choose your living quarters accordingly, not legislate and impede the progress of the 99% who rely on a motorized form of transport. We cannot afford to accomodate every "walker" who has moved to the wrong side of the road from their provisions.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

It can take up to 10 min to drive from the exit at Meijer's to go north on AA-Saline to Stadium and Main, a distance of maybe 2.5 miles. The northbound AA-Saline at Lohr is extra long because of the long left turn signal for the southbound AA-Saline to EB Lohr. That leaves a shorter time for the NB AA-Saline Rd traffice to get through. The I-94 traffic lights are often mistimed and allow the first exit traffic to trip the light in their favor. I only get a green light pulling out of Meijer's to go NS on AA-Saline at Lohr maybe a few times per year on a weekly basis. That means, maybe once or twice this whole year, thus far.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

One of the reasons why it's getting more dangerous to bike in the area is that there's a lot more traffic on the outskirts of town from people trying to avoid our horribly mistimed lights and unpredictable pedestrians. This crosswalk talk seems like a knee-jerk reaction to one person's tragedy. It needs a lot more study before any action should be taken.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

And the roads are in better condition.....if people choose to walk for what ever reason then they should be made to obey the law just as the drivers are expected to do....and when I stated school many years ago the first thing I learned was "cross at the corner" or you might get a ticket for J-walking....what happened to that law....maybe if it was enforced people would make it to their destinations. Sounds like a much cheaper and effective solution to me!


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Yes, we have some density and dense development and a number of destinations for you to access on your way from Oak Valley to Stadium. This means that there are a number of people here, and we all have to get along and take our turns at stop lights. It may surprise you, but a large number of these neighbors of yours can't afford, can't operate, or don't want a vehicle, and therefore use other modes like walking on the streets, which are meant for all users (per state law). If you would rather jump on an interstate, that's your choice. I prefer the less costly, slower, route with far more destinations along the way.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

I like the idea of HAWK but have seen people get confused at the on by YMCA on Huron (and the speed limit is 35 there). I saw someone blow right through it, and another time first car stopped quick when it turned to blinking yellow, the car behind them was about 2 inches from rear-ending them. After a while, locals seem to get used to it, and watch for it -- but these "sometimes on, sometimes off" lights are not without their own problems.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

The standard stoplight pattern is universal for all drivers.. If you are colorblind and allowed to drive then you know what the one for stop is either by its position or embedded offset color - if any. Red is a standard waveform frequency that is universal for all beings - colorblind or not.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

I'm color blind....have no clue what color those lights are.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Bingo! The standard signal with a steady green provides a clue telling drivers there is something at that place subject to change. The whole range of flashing"pop-up" windows fawned over by City Hall and company are about as welcomed and attention-getting as the ones on a browser. At least the HAWKs include a universally understood road color - red.

not a billy

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

Another knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy. We need to spend money on education and enforcement of pedestrians that are oblivious to common sense when crossing the street. We ticket drivers for not yeilding the right-of-way to walkers (last time I checked streets wer built for vehicles, not pedestrians) because they seem to have some perceived right of way. We will study, we will debate, and we will pay for an elaborate, computerized system to let somebody cross the street. And still we will have many people that lack common sense and become statistics. Why don't we have the foresight to have developers include crosswalks when their plans are approved? We require them to put in trees and other aesthetics, but don't always look at the big picture. Seems like the municipal planners and engineers are the real problem. Coulda shoulda woulda.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

"Make no mistake about it, the city takes pedestrian safety seriously," Cooper said. "Pedestrians were struck by vehicles while they tried to cross a five-lane road. Having a crosswalk with the RRFBs, along with a pedestrian refuge, would improve safety considerably", Grawi said. Who are these people? How about removing the very core problem for starters ? - the local crosswalk ordinance trying (unsuccessfully) to make pedestrians clueless wards of the road warriors while protecting them with some magic A2 City Hall super sidewalk bubble ? Revoke the law already. Does Grawi get a commission for every RRFB installed? Anyone who has traversed Plymouth Road recently knows that those units are extreme hazards themselves. Who concerned with safety would push to install more? The simple red light has worked for 100 years. The logical road rules used in the rest of the country have worked optimally as well. Why is this such a difficult concept for City Hall and their BFFs to get? 1. The ordinance does not work because the strictly separate domains of road and sidewalk have been twisted together by a few dogooder mortals who obviously don't know why they are separate domains to begin with. But can't we all just get along as one living organism? NO ! People, bikes, and cars are different species. Just opening up all their cages is a very bad idea. 2. Once the ordinance is revoked, and pedestrians understand the difference between their safe domain and their life's responsibility upon leaving it, then help pedestrians by erecting RED stoplights at crosswalks or build more bridges and tunnels. 3.Maybe actually think about how a plan-less mass development heralded by bubbletown leaders is the root cause of the overpopulation and congestion problem..


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

Yes. Exactly what I mean. Pedestrians will only love them for as long as they are able to cross the road with impunity. As soon as those migraine blasters lose their originality it will be yet another tragedy on Plymouth Road. If I remember right, the tragedy happened there near the Mosque at night. Two women perhaps not visibly dressed on a ill-lit curve not paying close enough attention to the possibly speeding vehicle or distracted driver - lots of variables - the single-most important one being pedestrians must be responsible for staying on hight alert within the territory of those massive machines. People have wider views and more time to assess their situation than moving vehicles. They also have a lot more at stake. The RRFBs do nothing to encourage safety and actually put the oenus of responsibility for intruder actions on the overloaded drivers instead - that is the root of the problem RRFBs just add random stress that is naturally going to be tuned out like so many computer pop-up screens rather than welcomed signals. The tried-and-true traffic lights with the universal red color are very familiar forms of traffic management. I find it hard to believe the RRFBs are more effective in either cost or function than a standard traffic light with its well-understood and most likely to be obeyed simple light pattern.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

Do you mean that RRFBs are a hazard to drivers? Because pedestrians love them. They were installed partly in response to 2 pedestrian deaths on Plymouth Road several years ago, and they serve to hopefully prevent that from ever happening again by illuminating and protecting pedestrians. These are separate from the crosswalk ordinance; if those lights are flashing, drivers are to stop. I appreciate the safety emphasis of ped tunnels or bridges, but they are extremely expensive, especially compared to the RRFBs.

Katherine Griswold

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

We need to remove politics from this area and many other pedestrian safety issues before we have more deaths and injuries. Transportation engineering is based on designing infrastructure to encourage the desired behavior, not the current political gamesmanship. Ann Arbor does not have the infrastructure for the current pedestrian crosswalk ordinance. We have been funding questionable transportation planning projects (trains, monorails, county bus system) while neglecting to adequately fund critical infrastructure projects.

Ron Granger

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Ann Arbor needs to get rid of the culture that says people in cars are somehow more important and entitled than people outside of cars. Hopefully, this tragedy will encourage drivers to be more alert and pay attention to the task of driving safely, and will encourage the police to start cracking down on drivers who refuse to yield and those who drive distracted.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:14 a.m.

You're right, pedestrians aren't operating heavy machinery, yet they think it's reasonable to cross an unlit 5 lane road on one of the busiest days of of the week at one of the busiest times of that day of the week as the sun is going down and expect not to get hit. That's an absurd expectation, but one brought about by absurd practices, like the acceptance of jaywalking. People are dying, and they are dying because the city council refuses to acknowledge that cars are heavy machinery and that pedestrians aren't, and they choose politics over safety.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

OK, then make it illegal and THEN crack down on them :)

Ron Granger

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

@steven: pedestrians aren't the ones operating the heavy machinery. And pedestrians legally crossing in crosswalks are still getting hit. @Brad: "jaywalking" is legal in Ann Arbor.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

Drivers of cars (not cars) are expected to obey the rules of the road ... and they routinely do not. Pedestrians and cyclists are expected to obey the rules of the road ... and they routinely do not. Claiming "the other group" needs to do a better job is tilting at windmills and ineffective. We need to design our roadways for how people actually behave. If studies show a pedestrian will only walk so far to a crosswalk rather than jaywalk, then we need to design for that. If studies show that wide lanes encourage drivers to feel comfortable speeding, we need to design for that. Traffic calming, good lighting, signalized crossings, road diets, lane narrowings, and many other traffic engineering techniques are all tools in creating an environment where drivers are encouraged to slow down, making it safer for everyone. Thoughtful placement of pedestrian and cyclist amenities that match pedestrian and cyclist traffic patterns encourage pedestrians and cyclists to behave in a predictable fashion, making it safer for everyone.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Cars have to obey the rules of the road - why shouldn't pedestrians be expected to do the same?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Can they also crack down on those people jaywalking by not crossing at a crosswalk?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

It sounds like people want walkability for "healthier living styles", they just don't want to walk very far to do it. Hmmm.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Not everyone in that area lives right on Ann Arbor Saline between the two lights. Oakbrook and Northbrook are relatively long streets and walking from one end to the other is quite a walk.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

While I completely agree that an area like this should have a crosswalk available, the Staduim renovations (between Washtenaw and Packard) just added several (dare I say too many?) lighted crosswalks. Just the other evening, there was a young woman crossing the busy street a mere 30 feet from a crosswalk. Drivers need to be careful, but pedestrians also need to be careful (and smart).Two deaths in two days is too much.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

If you drive 45 on that stretch of road, you obviously don't care about your vehicle. It's like trying to drive on the surface of the moon.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

You're thinking of the part South of Eisenhower. North of Eisenhower, where the accident happened, it isn't anywhere near that bad.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

I absolutely agree that there needs to be a safer way to cross. This area is very unfriendly to pedestrians. With all the neighborhoods on one side and the shopping centers on the other, it's a very dangerous stretch of roadway. My concerns about crosswalks or flashing beacons are that they could cripple traffic flow and that drivers would simply not notice in time at 45 mph and with five lanes of traffic and all the headlights, tail lights and traffic lights associated. I feel pedestrian bridges are the way to go.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

At $1 million or $1.5 million? That's way too much money. You could put a stop light in for far less than that. Plus, we need to design pedestrian amenities for the way pedestrians actually behave, not because theoretically they should behave that way. Expecting them to walk up and down a bridge is unlikely to be effective.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

If we want to encourage healthier living styles, we need to consider making things easier for pedestrians. Another thing to consider: why isn't there a way to walk safely to Meijer or Target?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

That's what I am saying. If we want healthier living styles, then we go more often to the grocery stores, walk there, and go home with fewer items. Two or three bags full of groceries is really not that much to cary.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Meijer and Target aren't located in city limits - they're either in Pittsfield or Scio Townships. There isn't a dense population center nearby, and to get there from Ann Arbor, you have to cross over a freeway. Combine this with the fact that when you go to Meijer or Target, you're usually getting a cartfull of groceries and you'll see why they aren't pedestrian friendly stores.

K Thompson

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Dear pedestrians, Last Friday 2 people, dressed in dark clothes, after dark were crossing Carpenter where there was no crosswalk. Though drivers shoukd use caution, RESPONSIBILITY MUST be taken by walkers. Cross at corner, or crosswalk, wear sonething bright or reflective. You must be cautious and observant also. Dear Cities: how about lit crosswalks, as in, pedestrian pushes button to cross, and lights come on, stay on 5 minutes. Maybe even with yellow flashers also. That new fancy crosswalk on Carpenter by the seniors apts still is not well lit at night.

Jojo B

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Regardless of any bigger long-term solutions (like a pedestrian bridge, island, cross-walk, or even a full traffic light), that stretch of A2/Saline is TOO DARK. Overhead street lamps can be found along the side roads and the stripmalls, but this one stretch is severely lacking, especially considering that this is a major artery between the highway and downtown. Simply installing one or two standard street lamps at Oakbrook/Northbrook would really help. Note: I live in the area and drive through this intersection every single day. I have often thought that the lack of lights here was strange and given the recent daylight saving time switch, it now feels pitch black during the rush hour.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

Curiously Jojo B is spot on about the absence of street lights along side of that stretch of road. Additionally, the same stretch on South Main from Busch's to Eisenhower is also unlit. There are street lights on Oakbrook from Main to AA-Saline. City Managers/Engineers: why leave this urban and well traveled area in the dark??


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Jojo, It is very dark on this stretch of road. The traffic was also extemely heavy that night. There was an accident on westbound I-94, which made even more traffic in the area because traffic was being diverted off I-94. There was also traffic coming in town for the Saturday football game; lots of RV's driving to Pioneer to park for the night. There was also a basketball game at Chrisler Arena. All of that additional traffic, coupled with the usual Friday night traffic gridlock. I drove by this area just before the accident.

Jojo B

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

P.S. The accident took place between 5-6pm. The hour right after sunset is most dangerous because most people's eyes haven't quite adjusted to night driving yet.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

I happened to be on this route last night after knowing about the story. It is baffling why anyone would attempt to cross through traffic to Cranbook [even during daylight]. Furthermore, at night, a driver with oncoming headlights has inadequate stopping "visibility" for pedestrians, or anything without a powerful headlight for that matter. I disagree with a HAWK or any other confusing newfangled crosswalk concept. These add a false sense of security for the pedestrian, and put an unfair expectation on the driver. If there needs to be a crosswalk, it needs to be a full solution; make it a bridge. Dont even consider the crosswalk with a full stoplight option because it already takes 10 minutes to travel the 6 traffic signals on that 1/4 mile stretch.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

"Dont even consider the crosswalk with a full stoplight option because it already takes 10 minutes to travel the 6 traffic signals on that 1/4 mile stretch." It's entirely possible to have traffic flow with quite a few traffic signals within a small stretch as long as the lights are timed properly and non-controlled driveways entering/exiting businesses are limited. Ann Arbor is the only community in Metro Detroit I know of that systematically chooses not to time lights properly - my theory is that they want to make driving as irritating and inconvenient as possible to try to force people to use public transit or walk.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

Where was the lady walking from? Where was she walking to? If she was headed to the Cranbrook Plaza then there is a protected pedestrian crossing at Brookfield/Eisenhower. If she was headed to Woodland Plaza then there is a protected pedestrian crossing at S. Main/Ann Arbor-Saline.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

It could be very well be she was just walking from one neighborhood to the other - or one of the parks. A lot of people just walk through that area. Those shopping centers aren't the only destinations and those corners/crosswalks are as good deal out of the way if you're just walking down Oakbrook/Norhtbrook as many are.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

I don't think they've released that information yet, or if they will. A very tragic accident. Maybe she was just walking, for exercise. We live in the Landsdowne neighborhood, behind A2-Saline Road, and lots of people walk, run, and walk dogs in this area. We use A2-Saline Road as a way to extend our runs, or walks, using the sidewalks on the west side of the street. There are two walking paths that cut through to A2-Saline Road; one from Delaware, and one from Chaucer, which connects to Village Oaks Ct. Lots of neighbors, including myself, walk or run to Busch's or Whole Foods when the weather is nice. I'm a runner, but I still won't cross A2-Saline Road, unless I cross at Main Street by Busch's, with the pedestrian lights. It is very hard to find a break in traffic on that road.

Barb's Mom

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Exactly how far is it from this spot to the existing intersections of Eisenhower or Main along A2Saline road? Elementary School children including 5 year olds are required to live 1 1/2 miles from the school before a bus is offered. This is to far for healthy adults to walk? If some people had their own way, there would be a cross walk every 50 feet.

Richard Carter

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

What about all the elderly, not-so-healthy adults who also may not be able to drive but can still walk short distances, like to the nearest bus stop, which is now something on the order of 1/4 mile to the crosswalk and 1/4 mile back on the other side of the street? So many seem to think that what's right for a child is great for an 80-year-old.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

its 500 and 700 yards times two to come back to Oakbrook.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

500yds to Eisenhower, 700yds to Main.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

The distance might be about 6 tenths of a mile. The Oakbrook intersection is no more than a block to block and half to the Eisenhower intersection. Am in agreement with your comments.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

A very good and informative article. I really like the tie into the two other pedestrian accidents including the cyclist in August. Another thing that they ALL have in common; PM rush hour. One can conclude that any pedestian is at a higher risk during PM rush hour no matter what avenue they are at. More foot traffic is out in the afternoon compared to the morning for some reason thus the risk is higher. I am glad that any changes to be made will be well thought out regarding AA-Saline Rd and Oakbrook. The traffic lights at the Eisenhower intersection are a few hundred yards to the south and allow safer crossing, especially during PM rush hour.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Ann Arbor needs to get rid of the culture that says that you can cross the street anywhere, anytime and traffic will stop for you. It's not safe for pedestrians, it's not safe for drivers, and it doesn't facilitate traffic flow. Hopefully, this tragedy will encourage pedistrians to be more alert and use crosswalks, drivers will be more alert, and will encourage the police to start cracking down on jay-walking.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:07 a.m.

So basically what you are advocating for, a2cents, is an unsafe environment for pedestrians.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

The vehicle culture needs to change. Folks rolling along effortlessly with all the comforts of home need to consider the ped desire to simply get from A to B without having to march/slog 100's of yards out of their way (x4 = over & back + going & returning.) in all kinds of weather which is barely felt by drivers.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

There is a crosswalk as Eisenhower Pkwy.

John Q

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

Use crosswalks when none exists?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

I just want to clarify that this DOESN'T mean that I don't think HAWK signals shouldn't be installed, a 4-way traffic light with a crosswalk shouldn't be installed, or that the speed limit shouldn't be decreased, as long as the city also implements traffic calming techniques to make sure travel speed actually does decrease. These would be things a traffic engineer could determine whether they would be effective or appropriate.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.



Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

if you put a crosswalk. be sure to put a light on it. the ones they started early still do not have lights. like they did not finish the job. lights will either make it or break it. drivers will not stop unless they see a blinking light.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

This area presents a genuine challenge. HAWK or RRFB signaled crossings work fine, up to a certain level of vehicular traffic volume. This is a very high-volume route, and mistimed "red lights" for pedestrians to cross can have spil-back implications into the I94 interchange. Better to look at a full four-way red light with regular walk signals, and to coordinate that signal with the ones at the I-94 ramps and Eisenhower.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

If they coordinate lights like they do on Huron downtown, I would be ready for jam city on AASaline.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

You explained my thoughts on this much better, lol


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

Glad to hear that this is being discussed. I too believe a HAWK signal would be the best answer. The one on Huron seems to work very well.

Janet Neary

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

So the City Traffic Engineer says that the city did not put in a pedestrian crosswalk here on a four/five lane roadway because "Doing a crosswalk like that requires more than just striping bars." If the city knew that in 2007, why did they recently put in such a crosswalk across four/five lane Washtenaw near Platt Road? And when the woman crossing there on Washtenaw recently was hit by a car, I don't recall anyone from the city saying it was because there shouldn't be such a crosswalk there. Before these accidents (and all the citizen outcry about the new pedestrian ordinance), the city was happy to paint stripes and take a bow for being such a "pedestrian friendly" city.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

Washtenaw is a State road. MDOT makes the decisions there. That crosswalk has been there for at least 7 years, so I don't know what you mean by recent.

Urban Sombrero

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

I'll be curious to see what happens with this. Traffic is usually pretty heavy in this spot and I think, unless they go full HAWK route, put in a light with crosswalks or install an actual bridge, that just putting a crosswalk there may muck things up a bit. At the very least, the speed limit will have to be lowered. It's 45 now, I think, but I see people just racing down that stretch, obviously doing 50-plus. I agree that there should be a way for pedestrians to cross in that area, though. It's becoming too built up for there not to be.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

Thanks, Kyle, I stand corrected. I thought she was talking about the REI/Whole Foods plaza.

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

A2 Kim- Just wanted to jump in and let you know you actually can turn left from Woodland Plaza (Busch's, Domino's, Bruegger's, Espresso Royale, etc.) onto Ann Arbor-Saline Road. You might be thinking of the Cranbrook Plaza (Whole Foods, REI, etc.), where there is a sign stating drivers cannot make a left onto Ann Arbor-Saline Road.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

@Ann English You talk about making a left hand turn from Woodland Plaza, to A2-Saline Road. There are signs at that exit, that you can make a right hand turn only. Traffic is not supposed to turn left from Woodland Plaza onto Ann Arbor Saline Road. So, if you are waiting for lanes to clear to turn left, you are incorrect. There is also a sign at the exit of the Shell/Tim Horton's that you can only turn right onto A2-Saline Road from that exit. I live in this area, and these signs are ignored often, making the probability for an accident even higher.

Ann English

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Lowering the speed limit to 35 might also make it easier to turn left onto Ann Arbor-Saline Road from Woodland Plaza, make it possible to get into the lanes leading to I-94 WITHOUT having to wait for those lanes to clear. I've never had any reason to try doing it, but I imagine trying to go straight across Ann Arbor-Saline Road by car would be impossible; I know it's harder to go straight across Washtenaw Avenue near Kmart than turning left onto it, but it IS possible. I think I do see pedestrians safely crossing Washtenaw Avenue in that area, too. Making Ann Arbor-Saline Road safer for pedestrians to cross IS more feasible than making it easier for motorists to make left turns onto it from Woodland Plaza; there will never be a traffic signal there, with one so nearby, at Main and Ann Arbor-Saline Road, far from the freeway.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

I agree with your second paragraph, but I worry about the HAWK light thing. I think it either needs to be a light all the time or not at all. I think a "sometimes" light will cause more accidents on that stretch, unless as you said, they lower the speed limit. That is a pretty busy thoroughfare, especially with out of town people, and I also wonder about backups. Traffic can already get backed up by the light on Ann Arbor/Saline & Eisenhower going towards town. Maybe the bridge opening will divert some of the traffic?

Albert Howard

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Totally unacceptable.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

You're absolutely right, adding a crosswalk is completely unacceptable. Oh, wait...

Linda Peck

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Thank you, Kyle, for bringing this article to us. We need to know the city is working on this important issue. No one should lose their life crossing the street in this town because we can prevent it by being careful drivers and having structures in place for people to move about safely.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

Has there been any movement on building something on that long-empty lot on AA-Saline next to Whole Foods? If there's a plan for that lot, they should really look at it in the context of this as well. Maybe remove the the existing exit, tie it into Oakbrook, and then install a full light and crosswalks?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : noon

A few years ago a right turn lane was added north bound at A2 Saline Rd turning east onto Eisenhower at the Applebees's location. A sidewalk was added where there was none, from the exit ramp to Eisenhower.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

Actually I was working at City of A2 Transportation Dept. when It was constructed. Since then have retired so it has been at least 5 or 6 years. Point being, pedestrian crosswalk and safety issues could/should have been addressed then.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

I think that turn lane has been there for longer than a few years.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

I'd just like to point out that the woman that was killed on Golfside was crossing at the bus stop across from the Kmart. They recently changed the road from 4 lanes without crosswalks or bike lanes to 3 lanes with 3 island cross walks and bike lanes on both sides. The area that the woman was crossing at does not have a crosswalk, it is about half way between the Washtenaw & Golfside intersection and the first crosswalk. With the bus stop right there on the other side of the street from the Kmart, it's going to have pedestrians crossing there, even without a crosswalk. They really need to go back and install a crosswalk at that location too.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

Or how about move the bus stop - seems easier, quicker, cheaper.