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Posted on Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

Pedestrian struck on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor

By Kyle Feldscher

A pedestrian was hit by a vehicle on Plymouth Road near Traverwood Road in Ann Arbor Wednesday afternoon, a Huron Valley Ambulance official said.

The pedestrian was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital emergency room in unstable condition, said Huron Valley Ambulance spokeswoman Joyce Williams.

Paramedics were dispatched to the accident at 2:55 p.m., she said.

A damaged car was stopped on Plymouth Road east of a crosswalk in the area equipped with a flashing pedestrian-activated signal.

Witnesses who were in a white Ford Edge said a green Chevrolet Cavalier hit a young woman in the crosswalk. The driver did not appear to see the woman crossing the street, according to witnesses.

Police were still on scene investigating as of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and accident reconstruction crews were photographing and measuring skid marks near the crosswalk. Officials were not able to immediately comment on the crash.

A spray painted figure identified where the woman landed in the island in the middle of Plymouth Road. She was hit in the right lane and came to rest at least 10 feet from the crosswalk.

The Cavalier stopped about 30 feet east of the crosswalk and was positioned in both of the eastbound lanes. The front end of the car was damaged, with parts of the grill on the roadway along with other debris. The smashed windshield had a circular impact on the driver's side near the side mirror.

As of 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, police did not have an update on the injured pedestrian's condition. Officers at the scene said at least one sergeant had gone to U-M Hospital.

One witness who contacted Wednesday evening said the lights had been flashing at the intersection for at least 30 seconds before the crash. The witness told she was driving behind the Cavalier and had a clear view of the crash.

The Cavalier only braked after hitting the woman, who appeared to be about student age, according to the witness.

A woman who was interviewed by police at the scene declined to speak to

Police were still investigating and it's unknown if any citations had been made immediately after the crash.

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Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 4:04 a.m.

This is so sad! I am truly sorry for the loss of life, and sadly it does not surprise me. I love the cross walks but I am super defensive and will not cross until I am sure all cars have stopped. I will wait as long as it takes. So many people ignore the flashing lights and blow right through the intersection. It was only a matter of time before someone got hit. There have been many close calls that I have witnessed. I stop for a pedestrian but the car in the next lane does not! I have had to yell at pedestrians to wait, and have been pretty upset with drivers that do not seem to notice.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:52 a.m.

This girl was my best friend, unfortunately she did not make it. I thank you all for your prayers and I would really appreciate if you had anything to spare if you could send donations to help with funeral costs would be great. Here's the link:


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

The mid-block cross walks are a really bad idea on heavily traveled roads like Plymouth. I fail to understand why they exist at all - how lazy have we become that we can't walk to the designated cross walk that is designed to conduct foot and auto traffic? You plunk a cross walk in the middle of the block with really no warning - where drivers are used to progressing freely - add the hubris of the Ann Arbor pedestrian - of course someone is going to get hurt. What engineers and council members thought this was a good idea? Given the uptick in pedestrian vs auto incidents recently - I'd say this plan is failing.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

People keep saying that there has been an increase in pedestrians being hit by cars since the crosswalk ordinance has gone into effect but I am not sure that is true. Do you have any data to back up that claim?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6 a.m.

It's been confirmed that the young woman who was hit earlier today has passed away just after midnight. Please pray for Sharita Williams, and please leave her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Stuart Brown

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

Instead of letting bodies stack up, why not get the new council to spend some money on a stop light for the intersection (drivers respond to red lights.) Enforcement will more than likely not be very effective, but it will provide a nice big false sense of security.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

I am totally in agreement. How much more can a regular red/yellow/green signal cost?

John Q

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

Want to make a safe environment for pedestrians? Narrow the road and slow down the speeds. Of course, that will inconvenience drivers but it will save lives and reduce injuries. But I'm sure we'll see from the responses that anything that inconveniences drivers can't be considered.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:47 p.m.

Did the driver, who is alleged by the witness to have driven through the crosswalk lights after they had been flashing for 30 seconds, drive that route on a regular basis? Or was this their first time driving through that section of Plymouth?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

I don't feel it is asking too much to expect drivers to pay attention to these signaled cross walks. They are very noticeable. I travel on roads that have them regularly and I have had no problems seeing them or stopping when a pedestrian has activated the signal. No, they don't go to yellow immediately but pedestrians can be expected to wait a couple of seconds to give people time to stop. That is how I do it when I am a pedestrian and I have yet to see a pedestrian hit the button and then jump into the road immediately


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Looks like its time to build a pedestrian bridge at this location

Bertha Venation

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

All this arguing back and forth. Couldn't this be solved with two words for EVERYONE? "Pay Attention."

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

I'm trying to get an update on the woman's condition. Police have not told me the crash was fatal yet, so that leads me to believe that she is still in the hospital, but I'd like to confirm that. Please bear with me.

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Thank you, Kyle. I keep thinking about her. I pray she makes it with everything intact. God bless her.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Next step: Pop-up chain link fences. When the lights start flashing, up they come! That should do the trick.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Any crosswalk, no matter how equipped, requires the pedestrian to look both ways before crossing. You can't trust the signal, you need to see cars stop completely. Have no idea if there was an issue with this or not in this case - just responding to those who say that the signal should work. You can't trust it, drivers do what they want. Anyone that says a pedestrian should wait for all 4 lanes to stop hasn't driven on these roads - most people do NOT stop when they see a pedestrian on the other side of the road where there is a middle island, they just fly through. The way many of these are equipped, a pedestrian could safely stay in the middle of the island while ensuring that the last 2 lanes are clear of traffic. On Monday we were on Carpenter coming north from Meijer. Brand new crosswalk with signals installed recently right where a senior tower is. Senior citizen crossing the two southbound lanes, with NOTHING FLASHING. We stopped, other lane stopped, she looked and kept going. I don't think she ever pushed the button. I hope the woman recovers.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

The location of this accident is very near where 2 pedestrians (University of Michigan students) were killed several years ago.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

It seems like pedestrian/car accidents have gone up since Ann Arbor passed the pedestrian safety ordinance. I would like for the city counsel to look into that. Have they made things worse by giving pedestrians a false sense of security? Since the ordinance passed I have seen several brazen pedestrians making their way across crosswalks at lights where they had a clear stop signal. At Fuller and North Main I saw a young man walk right in front of cars turning left from North Main onto Fuller. The cars had the green arrow and the man walked across the crosswalk and stepped out into the middle of a line of cars turning!!!

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

You don't seem to be aware that *state law* requires drivers to stop for pedestrians within a crosswalk.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I was crossing in a cross walk on Monday, and a UM Safety Services (aka Police) didn't even stop for me!


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 4:07 a.m.

I hope you called and reported them! I am sure the location and time would be enough to locate the driver.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

How far away were they when you started to cross? If they were close could you have waited until they passed? That's how it always used to be done when crossing streets. Common sense.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

I am reminded of sailing a small boat in a channel surrounded by large freighters. The law was on our side, we could have insisted on the right-of-way. But I like living. Crosswalks give pedestrians the right of way. They too can insist on the right-of-way. Hopefully all the drivers are attentive and are listening.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7:01 p.m.

My recollection predates the change in maritime law to give the right-of-way to the "least maneuverable" law, which is what you refer to. At the time sailboats had absolute privilege. Now if we could extend the least maneuverable law to the roadways we'd have a whole other story, wouldn't we? And guess who would NEVER get the right-of-way... pedestrians.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

FWIW, freighters in the channel have the right of way. It is an exception to the power boats must yield to sail boats rule. But I get your point. :)

buvda fray

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

There is no consistency in the marking of crosswalks in Ann Arbor and around Washtenaw County. Some have signs, some have yellow lights, some have red lights, some beep, some have white lines, others have bricks inlaid in the street, etc. etc. The "hawk" one is particularly odd - the lights are kind of like a mix of a railroad crossing and a 4 way stop with a short in the wiring. Back in the day when we learned to drive, there were a few light signals that you had to learn and understand. Now with blinking lights, alternating lights, different color lights, flashing strobe lights, blinking arrows, etc., it's no wonder that the average driver wouldn't understand what is expected. Idealistic Ann Arborites may wish for safe crossings 100% of the time, but reality and physics play a part and people will get hurt once in a while. So, what was wrong with a few consistent signals that offered no surprises, room for wonder or reasonable expectation of misinterpretation?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

snark - I am not sure, but it's rare that a driver will blow a red light after it's been on for at least 10 seconds (in this case, a witness said the signal had been on for 30 seconds). Even most careless drivers brake for a red light, unless it just turned. Too many drivers are not braking for these pedestrian signals. It's fair to blame the drivers, but the signals are a problem too and our planners needs to recognize that.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

What makes you think any kind of a light would have made a difference? We don't know the circumstances of the accident but the driver didn't even hit the brakes until contact was made with the pedestrian. I doubt the driver was "confused".


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

Nic - ideally that's the way people should behave, but the point is that traffic signals need to be designed so that we are protected from the lowest common denominator. Yes, it sounds like the driver here was 100% at fault and driving carelessly, but that doesn't help the severely injured pedestrian when this almost certainly could have been prevented by installing a normal stop light at this busy pedestrian crossings.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

Anyone who finds driving so confusing needs to slow down. If the signals are still too confusing, then it is time they gave up their license.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

This locatation marks the very beginning and now hopefully the very end of Ann Arbor's criminal Crosswalk Ordinance. This should be the 2nd item on new Council's agenda. (The first ? - close downt the DDA). Suggestion - "Pedestrians entering a crosswalk legally under State Law must ensure that it is safe to do so." "Vehicles must avoid pedestrians legally crossing within a crosswalk.". "All of the former City crosswalk ordinances especially the criminal ones enacted by City Council members (names entered here permanantly into the record) are nullified."


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

For folks who say "there's nothing we can do ... people choosing to be pedestrians are taking their lives in their hands, so everyone should drive everywhere", that's insane. There are plenty of other states where drivers have no problems yielding to pedestrians. For example, here's a simple (if extreme fix): If you injure a pedestrian or cyclist with your car, 5 year minimum jail time. I guarantee you, people will drive like church mice. Obviously this is an extreme example that as a society we are probably unwilling to do, but it proves the point that yes, there are things we can do to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. The question is what is the right balance between being a safe driver, cyclist, and pedestrian and the need for people to reach their destinations. If a family member of yours was badly injured or killed by a driver, I guarantee you these are not reasons you'd be inclined to be forgiving of the driver ... 1) I didn't understand the signs or traffic signals or crosswalk. 2) I was texting or talking on my phone. 3) Everybody speeds in that stretch. 4) I'm from out-of-town. 5) It was a four-lane road. There is absolutely *nothing* in this article to indicate the pedestrian was at fault. There is something (specifically the quoted witness) to indicate the driver was at fault. Shows where people on this message board are coming from that almost all the posts implicitly blame the pedestrian.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

Amen. I'm amazed that everyone is full of suggestions for improved signs and lights, or removing crosswalks all together, but almost no one is addressing the simple fact that the driver wasn't paying attention. We need penalties, enforcement, and cultural change around that fact. It used to be considered funny when people would drink and drive. It used to be a common source of jokes on TV. We have culturally made that offensive. Likewise, this town needs to shame people into maintaining awareness while they drive and for stopping at crosswalks when a pedestrian has the right of way.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

Other Michigan cities have signs that say: "State law: Stop for pedestrian in crosswalk" In some cities temporary signs are placed in the middle of streets and removed at night. Ann Arbor has few major routes in and out of town. I have asked the question before - why don't we have large signs to remind people of this state law at the major entry points to the city. Put a sign at the state street overpass instead of that $350K art project. Put signs on Jackson, Arbor-saline, Plymouth and Main Street.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

State law doesn't add crosswalks in places where there isn't a traffic signal. State law only says if a person is already in the crosswalk. In Ann Arbor (and Boulder, CO), drivers are being asked to stop normal flow of traffic between stop lights in order to allow someone on the curb to enter the crosswalk and cross the street. I don't think anyone is blaming the victim, people are expressing that this ordinance is not safe. What is the price of being right about who has the right a way? In this case we are dealing with human life. To me it is much more precious to walk the distance. People mentioning UM students leaving Kroger and carrying bags, there is a crosswalk and stop light at the corner near McDonalds. If you look at it as a right triangle, it is marginal distance to walk to that cross walk versus taking the "diagonal" to get to the current crosswalk. People may want Ann Arbor to be a small town again for nostalgia but those days are gone. There is a huge University that brings people in from all over the world, there are business opportunities that continue to expand the population coming in and out. Ann Arbor is not the 1970s small town anymore.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

...because people that will ignore a bright flashing light will pay attention to a 9x18" sign? Please. BTW, we already have those signs. They don't seem to be effective.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Time for traffic calming devices on Plymouth? Lower speed limits in that area and add some speed bumps.

NE Steward

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

Well said Linda. Our homes and schools, and neighborhoods are precious to us. We value our neighborhoods and so does the city as a large tax base. I just want to add that we want to protect this side of town from being what Washtenaw was and now trying to be corrected!

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

Nicholas, I think the speed limit is 35 there. People rarely drive that speed. Just enforcing the laws in place would be good. We have free-for-all on our city streets, and in my opinion it is people from out of town just trying to get to work or somewhere to shop or eat, without regard to the fact that this is a place where people actually live. This attitude is reflected in the comments made here, like they should be able to fly through this place because it is not Greenfield Village. It is precious to me and it is my home. I would like Ann Arbor to have the respect it is due from out of towners.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Get real - that's a major thoroughfare into town. This isn't Greenfield Village.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Those who keep trying to shift the blame to the injured pedestrian by saying they just need to look should be ashamed. The disabled - including the blind, deaf, or mobility impaired - also have every right to cross the street at a crosswalk. The STATE law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Pedestrians need to look to make sure of their own safety before entering any lane of traffic. One would expect that this is a lesson that every parent drills into their kids head incessantly before ever allowing the child to walk on their own. To the extent that adults sometimes forget this lesson, or are lulled into a false sense of security such that they believe they can ignore it, then we should all help to remind them. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to undermine that.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

The crosswalks expose vulnerable pedestrians to fast moving traffic and are inherently unsafe. Their safe operation depends not on white lines and flashing lights, but, vitally, upon prudent behaviors on the part of drivers and pedestrians alike. We're defying human nature and exposing people to injury when we expect consistent compliance.

NE Steward

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

Last I heard from the city officials - the fine for violating the pedestrian safety ordinance in Ann Arbor is $100 plus $30 in court costs. There are no points added to a driver's license for violations of the ordinance - is this still correct?

NE Steward

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

We were informed at a recent "Town Hall Meeting" by Mr. Seeto that there were no additional funds to help monitor and control the automotive traffic conditions on this road. We have the same problem and perhaps even worse (because we are dealing with children attending elementary and middle schools) on Green and Nixon Roads. Commuters rushing in and out of Ann Arbor, all in a hurry and some really not paying attention!


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Perhaps there would be additional funds if the city was held liable for the medical bills, not to mention the other associated costs of these tragedies.

Jim Mulchay

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

For the civil libertarians to discuss - Why not put cameras on these pedestrian crossing lights (also the "hawk" lights) that are activated when the light is activated and run until the light turns off (or a little after). Then (1) if there is an incident it can be reviewed or (2) the file / video can be reviewed periodically to identify those sites that appear to have safety issues so those sites can be actively monitored on-site by the AAPD. Note that I am recommending the pictures for analysis, not punishment. A further step would be to ask the NSA for phone / text activity in moving vehicles in Ann Arbor, but that might make someone unhappy. Worst case is that an EMU or UM student can do a PHD thesis with the material gathered.

NE Steward

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

How would you suggest the U of M students get to school and go shopping? Do you not feel that the speed is excessive on this road and limits are not enforced? With U of M expanding operations on this road and building a huge garage how do you propose to manage the pedestrian and automotive commuter traffic


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

That's very easy, cross at the trafiic lights when cars have stopped for the red light.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

It would be interesting to report on the rate of serious pedestrian accidents on that street, or maybe within the entire city, comparing before and after the pedestrian ordinance went into effect. There may be an inconvenient truth in there someplace.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

I hate to say it but it was just a matter of time. Those crosswalks are a horribly dangerous idea for this road in particular. I drive it every day and I have seen people crossing that have almost been hit a number of times. I hope this woman has a full recovery and I hope they get rid of these type of crosswalks on plymouth before it happens again.

Tex Treeder

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

I hope the pedestrian recovers, and the driver, too. A terrible incident for all involved. Are you happy now, City Council? See what a nightmare you've created with your attempts to socially engineer driving habits.

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Amen to that, Tex. City Council needs to take responsibility for this place of danger on Plymouth, for sure, and other places of danger and potential danger. These crosswalks are not adequate for the job. Stop lights and enforcement need to be implemented.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

I'm not going to speculate on the root cause of the accident. However, I live in the area and know this particular stretch of Plymouth Rd. is INCREDIBLY busy between 4pm and 6pm, especially near the west entrance of the Plymouth Road Mall where the pedestrian crossing is located. It is difficult to turn left into the mall there, or even make a left turn onto Traverwood at the light. I agree with other posters that an added police presence during high traffic volume times might help to raise motorist awareness.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

Sorry Philly, made an assumption. However, the situation is only going to get worse in a couple of weeks when the students return full time. More traffic (both vehicle and pedestrian) and a fresh group of people not familiar with the area or the pedestrian laws.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

This accident occurred at approximately 2:55 pm, before the afternoon rush hour.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: These crosswalks need to be taken out. Cars have the right of way on the roads, not walking pedestrians. If you want to cross the street, walk down to the traffic light and cross there, after all cars have stopped! The crosswalks only give walking pedestrians a false sense of security, which produces accidents like we saw yesterday, which was tragic. Prayers for the victim.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

"Cars have the right of way on the roads, not walking pedestrians." Saying it doesn't make it true. The law is what it is, not what you imagine it to be.

Bill Sloan

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

One word: overpass.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

One word: 3milliondollars


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:55 a.m.

A flashing yellow light does not cut at these locations. People may not undertand the meaning or not seen the signs.A flashing red stop light like the one on west Washtenaw needs to be installed.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:37 a.m.

I feel like more accidents are happening with all the newer crosswalks. I am amazed at how many pedestrians cross on Stadium without making sure both on coming traffic lanes have stopped. I do not cross until all cars have stopped for me that should, I don't feel like it's safer to use a crosswalk now than in the past. Hope this pedestrian has a full recovery. Very sad.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:28 a.m.

Any updates on her condiion???


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:55 a.m.

Just stop with the overhead pedestrian crosswalk idea. It may sound like a good plan, but the reality is that...No One Would Use it! At the height it would need to be and length across 5 lanes, why, the required ramp system alone would be so cumbersome, we would have people darting across street level traffic to save time and effort. Now that the students cannot use the Kroger carts to haul groceries to North Campus, they won't want to carry bags up, across and down the bridge!


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

I disagree that no one would use an overpass here. This isn't downtown. The height would only need to be around 20 feet and its length wouldn't be much longer than the distance to cross the street anyway. There is plenty of room for entrance ramps that wouldn't add that much overall length to the overpass. Put in an overpass, take out the crosswalks, increase the traffic speeds back to where they were 10 years ago, and start ticketing jaywalkers. People use them in other places, they'll use them here.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Oh, you mean they can't STEAL the carts anymore?

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:53 a.m.

I am praying for the young person that he or she will have all of the fine medical care this city can provide. It is horrific to imagine what this person is going through right now. Ann Arbor City Council needs to step up and face facts about these experiments on our roads. That is what they are and I believe someone from City Hall has said as much. Attempting to turn Ann Arbor into a pedestrian/bicycle city is not successful. Bikes, people, cars, and trucks are not equals on the road. People and bicycles need their own paths. Intersections of those paths should be uniform and universal, not experimental. We need enforcement, as well, for the basic laws of our roads, which we have very little of right now, due to lack of proper spending on the part of City Council and DDA.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

The signals weren't designed in some lab under City Hall. They're in use in other municipalities around the country. Regardless of someone's comment, thousands of people successfully use them each day. The only requirement is awareness.

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Both the Plymouth crosswalk and the Hawk system on Huron have been described as experiments.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:57 a.m.

What's experimental about this crosswalk?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:09 a.m.

There are traffic environments all over this country and around the world that make Plymouth Road look like a rural country lane. Cars and pedestrians navigate them just fine. (And, in my experience, people in most US locations will stop for people in a crosswalk with no drama.) If you're saying the crosswalks and the signage are too confusing for you as a driver, then you might as well give up driving. Your responsibility behind the wheel is to be alert to changing situations, including the pretty obvious possibility that someone will try to cross the street at a crosswalk. Any attempt to blame this on the pedestrian is just ridiculous.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:44 a.m.

My experience in locations from LA to NYC to San Francisco to London to small towns in Pennsylvania and New Mexico is the opposite of what you say. And the law in many, many places is drivers must stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The only unusual thing about the Ann Arbor law (since amended) was that it said a driver had to stop for a pedestrian about to enter a crosswalk. As I said, that was changed and it also clearly wasnt operative in this case.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:35 a.m.

Ann Arbor is the only town that I have ever seen a car stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk without a signal on a busy street. Crosswalks are completely ignored everywhere else, unless there's a red light or it's a neighborhood street. Being unique in this way makes certain crosswalks in Ann Arbor more dangerous, not less. As I have said, the solution is to make the crosswalks (virtually) bad driver proof. The way to do that is to install standard red/yellow/green stop lights above the crosswalks. Hoping that bad drivers will go away is foolish.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:02 a.m.

This is another tragic accident due to that criminal law that has people thinking that if they push the button and walk into the street they will be safe. As it always has been, the roads are filled with poor, inattentive drivers. Only now we have a stupid law that has many pedestrians and cyclists thinking that they can walk out into traffic and everyone is paying attention. People run red lights accidentally too. Good lord people, pay attention.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

and you @peregrine are confused about the difference between a perfect world where everybody pays attention and follows the laws and the real world. It may not be PC or popular, but the reality is that every time you cross the street you are taking a risk and are responsible for ensuring your own safety. Is it the driver's fault? Based on the article it's safe to say it is. Would the pedestrian have made it safely across the road by being more aware of the fact that this driver (as it states in the police report) never even began slowing down? Absolutely. Come join us in the real world. It's not safe here and it never has been.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:57 a.m.

@matt1027: You are so confused. First, which law are you talking about? There is a somewhat new law that states when a pedestrian is waiting at the curb to enter a crosswalk, traffic that can safely stop must do so. The law also says that the pedestrian may not enter the crosswalk if cars cannot safely stop. But that's not the law that was violated in this case, apparently, allegedly. In this case the person was already in the crosswalk. And that's covered by a much older law that states vehicles must stop for pedestrian already in the crosswalk. And that applies to *all* crosswalks without signaling, those with the yellow flashing lights, and the HAWK lights. So is this the "criminal law" you refer to? Would you really prefer no requirement to stop for pedestrians already in the crosswalk?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:11 a.m.

No, the accident was caused because the driver ran into the person walking across the street.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:54 a.m.

This is a terrible tragedy caused by a terrible, irresponsible driver. Unfortunately, there are plenty of terrible drivers around, and we should not test them by installing different kinds of traffic signals at every pedestrian crossing. Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to invent this hawk traffic signal that no one seems 100% sure what blinking red is supposed to mean? Why was yellow used as the stop color in the Plymouth signal when it means caution everywhere else? Why did we get all creative instead of using standard Red/Yellow/Green signals that everyone recognizes?

Sweet Life

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:25 a.m.

For those saying, "Why can't people just walk a half block to the next intersection?", you must not be familiar with this part of town. The distance between the light at Murfin and the light at Traverwood is a half mile. There are two crosswalks in that space. Between Traverwood and Nixon is another quarter mile, with one crosswalk in between. For comparison, the distance between intersections in a typical city block in Ann Arbor is 0.06 miles - a much, much shorter distance. Now imagine that you are carrying multiple bags of groceries from Kroger to your apartment on north campus. How likely are you to want to walk an extra half mile to mile to get to the nearest intersection and back? The simple fact is that whether there are crosswalks in this area or not, people will be crossing between intersections. We should make those crossings as safe a possible.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

Actually it looks like the distance between Murfin and Traverwood is more like 1800' (.34 miles) on the Google map. But maybe well-timed stop lights at Bishop and Beal would help to slow traffic on Plymouth and allow more safe pedestrian crossings. I know that won't be a popular option for my fellow drivers, but maybe it is necessary now with more commercial development on the north side of Plymouth.

Sweet Life

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:09 a.m.

So many people seem to be blaming the victim. Look at the facts: - It was a clear day with no visibility issues. - There are very large, very obvious overhead signs visible a quite a distance indicating a crosswalk. A crosswalk sign means "Caution - there might be a pedestrian." Any driver should know that they should be looking for pedestrians and be prepared to stop. - The flashing strobe light is also very obvious, visible at quite a distance and clearly indicates the need to stop. People who drive on Plymouth, but don't notice these things or can't be bothered to stop, shouldn't be allowed to drive.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

I don't think they are blaming the victim as much as they are speaking out against the dangers these crosswalks are putting pedestrians in. Expecting 4 lanes of 40 MPH traffic to stop because of an amber flasher is a dangerous notion. Unfortunately, too many drivers are programmed to only stop for a red light and speed up to make it through a yellow light.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

And pedestrians should should look both ways before they step out into the road. Even the most well-intentioned driver can't cheat the laws of physics and stop on a dime. Trust, but verify.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:28 a.m.

"It's really awful Dillinger robbed all those banks. He was a bad man. But why did they put all that money in one place? They were just asking for trouble!" People can rationalize all they want, but the simple fact is the driver ran into a pedestrian in an extremely well marked crosswalk. Drivers need to accept responsibility for awareness of their surroundings. End of story.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:04 a.m.

So it sounds to me what people are saying is: 1. Get rid of the between intersection crosswalks totally. or 2. Install regular hawk signals there like on Huron St. or 3. Install overhead walkways on Plymouth. But mainly people think the system as it is now just doesn't work.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

Oh you mean like heavy enforcement of federal drug laws? Because that has been 100% effective right. People understand their responsibilities already. The reality is that people break the laws every day. In a perfect Utopia there would be no need for police because everyone would always do what they're supposed to do. But here in the land of reality the individual must take precautions for themselves.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

How about 4. Heavy enforcement of the law until drivers understand their responsibilities?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

I realize they cost more, but why not put in overhead crosswalks in areas like this? This section of Plymouth road is a perfect place for one because there's plenty of room for entrance ramps that ascend at a low angle that anyone can use. We live in a world with three dimensions. Why are we so intent on using only two of them?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

@Penz - ADA requires that new ramps have a minimum slope ratio of 1:12. For a fifteen foot high overhead crosswalk, the ramp would need to be 180 feet long to meet the minimum slope requirement. I guess there might be enough room for 180-foot-long ramps here, but it doesn't seem realistic.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

The crosswalks and medians were put in because too many people were crossing without bothering to walk down to the intersections in the first place. Think of the number who couldn't be bothered to go up and down to cross on a bridge. Many commenters seem to feel (wrongly in my opinion) that it's just a matter of pedestrians crossing when they shouldn't. Do you think the presence of an overhead crosswalk will change their behavior?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Eep -- Read the second sentence of my post. I address your concerns.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:47 a.m.

Overhead crosswalks require stairs. In order to comply with the ADA, the city would need to install elevators, escalators, or impossibly long ramps for people who can't use stairs.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

there have been progressively greater numbers of student-aged individuals crossing Plymouth Rd. In addition, they are predominately foreign students. In addition, the businesses across Plymouth Rd are increasing in numbers so attract foot traffic by these students as well as vehicular traffic. There is no solution with the demographic and the busy nature of Plymouth Rd, whether it be crosswalk X, Y, or Z. I believe these foreign students think that "push the button" means OK to cross. It may or may not be the case. Supervigilance is required due to vehicular speed which is not the same speed as around Central Campus. The focus should come from traffic/city engineers and staff to build an overpass for pedestrians on foot to cross Plymouth. The volume and speed of motorists is too discrepant with the other roadway stretches around central campus, and begs for an alternative for these young foreign students on foot,and to keep the typical driver free from burdensome worry,which in itself is a driving hazard.

Jan Tripp

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

I was detoured past the accident scene shortly apparently after the pedestrian was taken away. I am saddened to learn someone was hit today and I hope they recover fully. I'd like to see the City upgrade these crossing to the HAWK design at least for the two of the busiest crossings on Plymouth. It isn't very safe for pedestrians or drivers--I've personally seen the result of three rear-end collisions since the cross-walks were installed. At least fewer pedestrians getting hit. At the time it was reported there were about 8 rear-end collisions along Plymouth but nobody was keeping track. I wonder what the count is up to now? In a bit of irony, when you press the cross-walk button, a little voice reminds you that cars may not stop.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

Well I am glad that Ann Arbor city planners went ahead and made our city safer by putting in those crosswalks.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

It is a state law.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:06 a.m.

I support your point. People seem to think that because they push a button and it's a local law (which no one outside of ann arbor is aware of as they drive through) that they can meander out into traffic. People run red lights too, I never assume that I can even cross at an intersection until I see the cars stopping. I feel sorry for the driver.

Basic Bob

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

The miracle of government intervention is fully evident.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

It doesn't matter if we think people should notice the crosswalk. Obviously they have the right of way. But considering these accidents have been happening something must be changed. I don't think it's easy to notice a pedestrian waiting to cross, and I don't use a cell phone or other distractions while driving. And the consequences are too severe, for at least 2 people, to not make changes on busy streets.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Thank you. My point exactly. I drive this route several times a week and I can easily understand how someone new to the area would have no clue that those flashing white lights would indicate a person is lurking or hiding behind a car. Yes, pedestrians always have the right of way. But there is not point standing ground on this argument if people continue to die due to bad design.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:07 a.m.

Thank you! And what about the thousands of out-of-towners who have no knowledge of a law requiring you to stop where there is no stop sign. Idiotic law, and those who ushered it in are criminals.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

We can argue all day about what type of lights these are and whether or not its the drivers fault or not. Here's the bottom line: The system doesn't work. Get rid of those extra crosswalks. People in the crosswalk are getting hit, and people also continually cross Plymouth in the areas without a crosswalk.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

Red light stop, green light go. What is so complicated about that? People wandering into traffic thinking they are protected by a blinking yellow light is not a good system. We need to invest in pedestrian bridges over fuller road and Plymouth road. No need to stop traffic. We have two bridges over Washtenaw, let's get with the program here and make this a place where pedestrians and cyclists thrive.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

How about street elevators?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

I pray this pedestrian recovers fully. Prayers also to the driver - striking anyone is a memory they will live with forever. I sentiments echo what others have mentioned. While these pedestrian crossing lights are well intentioned - they give a false (and misplaced) sense of safety to the person trying to cross these busy roads. I've watched so many people hit the button and immediately step out into the roadway - traffic be damned. People MUST use common sense and not even step into the roadway until they see that ALL 4 LANES OF TRAFFIC HAVE COME TO A COMPLETE STOP. Personally I tell my family to take the time to walk the extra block or 2 to the next intersection with a real traffic signal to cross a street as busy as Plymouth Rd is. Instead of spending more $$ on installing more of these these "warning lights" - put the money to building pedestrian overpasses when the distance between true intersections with traffic signals is greater than 2 blocks.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

One major problem with these strobe light crosswalks is that they start up when cars are close to them traveling at 40-45 mph. There is no way to stop when the car is almost on top of the crosswalk and the lights start flashing. Very dangerous. This does not appear to be what happened in this case based on the article above, but these strobe lights mean drivers are to stop immediately and that can be a dangerous situation with cars traveling 40mph along 4 lanes of heavy traffic. Jumping on the brakes can create other problems, such as potential rear end collisions. So some cars go through these crosswalks with lights flashing and others stop. Very confusing and potentially dangerous.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

Actually I think JRW's comment has an idea in it. For the same reason normal stoplights go to yellow before red, perhaps a warning light would help. For example: a true HAWK signal.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

So many excuses and rationalizations. Just stop.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

Cars and pedestrians, Look both ways before you cross the street. Stopping distance for a car traveling 35 mph is at least 100 feet. Assuming the driver is watching the road, but I wouldn't assume anything.

Lynn Liston

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

I am saddened that a pedestrian was hit in the crosswalk, but not surprised. Just yesterday evening I stopped for the flashing lights and the car in the lane next to me did not stop. Fortunately, the pedestrian was wisely waiting for all traffic to stop crossing. I agree with the comments about those mid-block crossings- there are stoplights a short block away from each so why put crossings so close? Pedestrians would have to walk two short blocks which is no different than walking to/from a bus stop.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

Very unfortunate incident for all involved. I will say that those hawk crossings can be confusing. Sometimes they are flashing and no one is in the crosswalk, either they changed their mind or they already crossed. Some cars zoom through and some stop when lights are flashing even if no one is in the walk. Some cars do not stop completely when someone is in the crosswalk. Very dangerous all around. There needs to be more awareness of what the rules are for these crosswalks. Are cars supposed to stop if the lights are flashing and no one is in the crosswalk? It's also hard to see pedestrians on very busy Plymouth Rd. My wife and I hope the injured pedestrian has a full recovery.

Chuck Saltpeter

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:07 a.m.

I was crossing at the new and improved crosswalk on E Huron and Thayer last week and a car stopped for me, as I started to enter the road a Washtenaw County Sheriff's car blew by in the next lane. The headline flashed before my eyes.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

I've seen 2 near disasters at that spot in 2 days- 4 lanes of traffic need to stop. it's very dark at night- turning off streetlights has not helped either. Wait till the students are back, someone will get hurt.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

Seconding a pedestrian bridge or two, our taxes are sky high so our city should be able to afford it if spending on less urgent/less necessary projects is curtailed. And if we supposedly have enough money to pay train station consultants, we should have enough for something that would hopefully prevent further tragedy.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

There are a lot of problems with this system. Some drivers won't stop for the flashers even if the car in the next lane has stopped. Not all people crossing at the walk activate the flashers. Bike riders seem to do this the most. I have never seen a bike rider start the flashers. They rarely slow down before entering the crossing. I hope this person is all right. I don't think he/she will be the last.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

I agree about the bike riders not obeying the traffic rules regarding the hawk crosswalks. I had a close call today with 2 bike riders who totally ignored the stop light that had changed to green for me, and they blew through it on the red side. This happens frequently in A2.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

Given a large part of the drivers on Plymouth Rd are out-of-town, foreign, or in too much of a hurry while distracted by cell-phones, all this making the flashers confusing or missed altogether, your statement implying this won't be the last tragedy is guaranteed. One wonders what the planners consider the acceptable casualty rate to be for the current system.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

Why isn't there police enforcement present on that problem stretch of road every single day? Ticket violators, again and again.

G. Orwell

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

@Urfe With so many crosswalks, how are the limited number of police officers suppose to sit at all the crosswalks watching for violators. Get rid so the crosswalks and we won't have all the injuries and possible death. Prior to putting in the crosswalks, how many pedestrian/automobile accidents were there? I believe there have been more accidents since the crosswalks have been installed. If I am right, it sort of defeats the purpose of the crosswalks. Doesn't it.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

Maybe Ann Arbor should build the pedestrian bridges if there aren't enough safe places to actually cross a BUSY road.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

or pedestrians could walk to an intersection with a traffic light and cross there. For those that argue that it is too far to walk to the intersection, I thought every step that a pedestrian took was further evidence of their moral superiority over car drivers.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 6:54 a.m.

Hello!! And maybe this person would not be hit, seriously injured and no story would be in Ann


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

I am not a fan of crosswalks, but I do like the flashing light crosswalks very much. I live in this area, so they really come in handy as a driver at night. That being said, as a pedestrian, I would never cross until it was completely clear or all traffic had stopped. Just pushing the button does not ensure that.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

I love the signals. My biggest problem with the crosswalk ordinance was that it is sometimes difficult to see pedestrians on the side of the road and also sometimes hard to tell if they are intending to cross. The signals very effectively eliminate both of those issues. I stop for pedestrians all of the time because of those signals when before I would sometimes not see the pedestrian until I was already passing them. There is no excuse not to stop for these signals. They are very obvious.

Ryan Burns

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:02 a.m.

I do agree that everything that's considered a crosswalk should have the lights. I think recognizing one just by paint on the road, that is also used at lighted intersections, is too confusing.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:16 a.m.

My experience is the flashers work as a signal to the drivers to speed up so they don't have to wait for the pedestrian.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

"One witness said the lights had been flashing at the intersection for at least 30 seconds before the crash. The witness told she was driving behind the Cavalier and had a clear view of the crash. The Cavalier only braked after hitting the woman, who appeared to be about student age, according to the witness." How bright and how long must the crosswalk lights flash? How many signs must there be? What does it take to get more enforcement of drivers who do not stop at crosswalks?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

I wonder if the city can install cameras there which are activated when the pedestrians pushes the button. They can have a short grace period of 5-10 seconds and then write tickets to any cars which proceed through the crosswalk while the lights are flashing.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

Again, crosswalk ordinances, flashing lights, additional signage, and educational endeavors will do NOTHING to prevent injury when a 2,000 pound vehicle moving at 45 mph hits you. You can argue with me all day long about who is at fault legally speaking, but the end result is always the same, someone gets seriously hurt or killed. Pedestrians MUST take appropriate actions to ensure their own safety. Until the city of Ann Arbor addresses pedestrian responsibility for safe road crossings, these types of injury accidents will continue unabated.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 9:55 p.m.

Ypsi Woman you are exactly correct. All the police enforcement in the world will not stop theives when people leave valuables in plain sight in an unlocked car. Thank you for supporting my viewpoint with your most poignant analogy


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Ryan, fault is immaterial when you're laying in a hospital in traction, or worse, six feet under. Assigning blame is reactive. Taking responsibility for your own safety i.e. only crossing when it is safe to do so, and keeping an eye out for approaching vehicles, is proactive.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

That is like saying that until the city addresses the problem of people having valuable belongings, thefts of such belongings will continue unabated.

Ryan Burns

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

"Because in the end....the pedestrian loses to the car 100% of the time." I don't think this is a solid argument. In any encounter between two people where only one is injured, is the injured person always at fault? Looking out for your own safety is important, but it doesn't lift the burden of responsibility from others.

Sweet Life

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:13 a.m.

No, I got your point - You said "until the city of Ann Arbor addresses pedestrian responsibility for safe road crossings, these types of injury accidents will continue unabated." You make no mention of motorist responsibility. Apparently that isn't equally important to you.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

Sweet, you apparently completely missed my point. You have to accept the reality that drivers will break the law and won't pay attention. I don't like that anymore than you do. If you can invent something that will prevent all people from breaking any law at all times, then I'll support it. But as it stands in the real world, ONLY a pedestrian's own vigilance will prevent them from getting hurt. No lights, no laws, no painted lines, and no commenting on this web site will EVER stop a speeding vehicle from hitting a pedestrian who isn't paying attention


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

Because in the end....the pedestrian loses to the car 100% of the time. Could this accident have been prevented by the car driver stopping like they should have? Of course. Could this accident ALSO have been prevented by the pedestrian observing approaching traffic and NOT stepping into it's path? Of course. As skyjockey can point fingers all day long...none of that will EVER make a pedestrian's "right of way" trump being hit by a car. I can't imagine ever entering a crosswalk without making sure traffic was coming to a stop. I don't even go through green lights at intersections without at least glancing both ways, and I always check the wrong direction on one way streets (I almost got creamed a decade ago by some incoming frosh's parents on division). I don't trust other drivers AT ALL....


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

I will try again - I agree that pedestrians must take responsibility for their safety, but what about drivers taking responsibility for avoiding hitting pedestrians? Why must the city only address pedestrian responsibility?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

Sad, and totally predictable. This very problem was called out when these signals were first installed. I have pressed the button and watched no fewer than 8 cars fly by. Some were as far as a quarter mile away and just didn't feel like stopping. I don't cross until BOTH lanes are blocked by stopped cars.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

a2citizen - The more I think about your response the more I think about how utterly appalling it is. Someone has just been seriously hurt because someone didn't stop for a flashing crosswalk light and you say you would do the same thing as long as there wasn't a cop present. If that is your attitude about driving, no one is safe when you are on the road.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

a2citizen - Why wouldn't you stop when the the light is flashing?

G. Orwell

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:43 p.m.

Please get rid of these ridiculous mid block crosswalks. They give pedestrian unwarranted sense of confidence and causes confusion for all. I learned how to cross streets when I was a child by looking both ways and being very cautious. Never been hit by a car. 4,000 - 6,000 pound speeding cars should have the right of way. This agenda to coerce more people to walk, ride bikes and buses is getting out of hand.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

@G. Orwell: Do you really mean that "speeding cars should have the [legal] right of way"? Who is being coerced to walk, bike, or use public transportation and how?

G. Orwell

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:27 a.m.

"Wow - so pedestrian safety laws are akin to slavery? That is really warped." I guess I should have expected such a response. Let me spell it out for you. I wasn't comparing pedestrian safety (is it really pedestrian safety? Are you kidding me.) to slavery. I was illustrating that not all laws are just and right. Thus, they need to be repealed.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

Wow - so pedestrian safety laws are akin to slavery? That is really warped.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

Slavery? How did that come into this?

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:50 p.m.

Being in a car makes you no more important than anyone else. I know stopping for a pedestrian in a flashing crosswalk is a huge burden, but make the effort and comply with the law.

G. Orwell

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

I was strongly opposed to this crosswalk or more appropriately labeled the "deathwalk" because most cars are traveling at 40-50 mph, four lanes and there is a bend in the road. Whoever made the decision to install this crosswalk at this location needs to take responsibility for what has happened today. Don't people have any common sense these days? It must be something in the water.

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

G. Orwell, there was a lot of opposition to this idea when it was being considered. I did not like it, either. I also am thinking about your perception of the speeds there. It is a 35 mile per hour speed limit, not 40-50. That tells part of this tragic story. There is enough negligence to go around. I have not seen a lot of common sense about our roads and basic services in Ann Arbor for years, let alone several other issues we have going on now. I agree with you. People need to get serious about serious things, and stop fooling around.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:33 p.m.

hasn't that crosswalk been there for a LONG time though? I mean prior to putting the island in I thought it was a normal crosswalk.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

As i pointed out above, it would be more irresponsible not to put crosswalks in, as people will cross Plymouth Road in this area anyway. The signaled intersections are too far apart and there are too many people living on both sides on Plymouth Road in this area who need to cross to get to school, shopping, and the mosque. Even at 50 mph (speeding by the way) and with the bend in the road, the overhead cross walk signs are visible in plenty of time for drivers to realize they must approach with caution.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:38 p.m. common sense.

Sweet Life

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

Very sad. I hope the pedestrian recovers. I drive, bike, or walk along this stretch of Plymouth almost every day. The mid-block crossings are a necessity here. Signaled intersections are relatively far apart. With so many people (mostly students) walking from apartments on the north side of Plymouth to school or from apartments on the south side to shop or worship, you will always have people crossing between the lights. Better to have well marked crosswalks (they are very hard to miss) than nothing at all. However, the city really needs to make the additional investment in real HAWK lights - red flashing lights that everyone should recognize as "Stop", rather than the flashing white lights they have now. That said - I was taught to take my foot off the gas and be extra vigilant as I approached any cross walk. There is no excuse for missing the existing signals.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:18 p.m.

Your last paragraph makes the important point many are missing here.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

I have been on Plymouth when the lights started to flash. It is obvious, even startling. Any driver who is not going too fast or is distracted should see it. We have a lot of impatient and even angry drivers in this town. But I reject the idea that the way to cure the problem is to make it impossible for pedestrians to cross except at signalized intersections. They are too far apart. We need to have some serious traffic enforcement on Plymouth. Perhaps we will finally be allowed to have enough police officers to enforce some traffic ordinances. (Yes, I'm referring to the recent elections.)


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

Ryan, apparently you completely missed that part of my profile in which I was referring to the all too common scenario in which a steady stream of traffic in the outer lane blocks the line of site of drivers in the inner lane preventing them from seeing your theoretical lone three year old on the sidewalk. Reading comprehension is a good thing. Learn it Love it Live it

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:51 p.m.

Amen, Vivienne.

Ryan Burns

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:58 a.m.

On the contrary Skyjockey43, there is a warning prior to the activation of the crossing light: there's a pedestrian at the side of the road. Imagine you saw a 3-year old alone on the sidewalk for some reason, would you slow down in case they ran across, or would you continue at speed because they didn't activate the crosswalk lights? Drivers should be able to have situational awareness. So should pedestrians. But it's the driver that's operating the piece of dangerous machinery, with the responsibility to do it safely.

Barb's Mom

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.

@ Vivienne- you said "We have a lot of impatient and even angry drivers in this town." well we have a lot of impatient and angry pedestrians in this town also. The people who cross anywhere they want and the ones who hit the button and go without looking are at fault also. A yellow light does not mean stop. You also said " But I reject the idea that the way to cure the problem is to make it impossible for pedestrians to cross except at signalized intersections. They are too far apart." To far apart? 5 year olds are expected to walk a mile to school or a bus stop and adults can't walk half a block because it is to far? What a double standard.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Commuting this area daily by bike or on foot daily I have taken to crossing only at the lights, despite their distance from my desired destination. The drivers response to the flashers is unpredictable. The the risk/benefit ratio is strongly on the side of a longer but safer passage.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

The problem is that there is no warning prior to the activation of the crossing light such as the yellow at standard traffic signals. If your vehicle is in the number one lane and traffic in the number two lane is blocking your line of site to a pedestrian approaching the crosswalk, then you have to make an instantaneous decision whether to slam on your brakes or continue through if you're close to the signal when it's activated. Imagine if all the traffic lights in town simply turned red without a yellow warning light. The hawk signals are superior to Plymouth road strobes since they also have a warning interval before a stop is required. I've seen way too many close calls at these lights for this very reason, combined with the fact that far too many pedestrians cross these points while talking on their phones, listening to ipods, and generally not paying any attention whatsoever.

Charlie Winter

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

This crosswalk in NOT a HAWK crosswalk. There is no red light to signal drivers to stop. There are only small flashing amber lights high over the road.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

The lights are very easy to see flashing from far away.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

Along with big white crosswalk lines!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10 p.m.

Unfortunate situation for everyone involved here, unfortunately mid-block crosswalks are just a bad idea and will continue to be a bad idea as people get into accident after accident in these intersections. As part of my job I drive this stretch as often as 20 times per day and have seen countless close encounters and quite a few accidents in addition to those posted on here. In my opinion the pedestrian traffic needs to be directed to either the Traverwood/Plymouth intersection or the Murfin/Plymouth intersection. Perhaps another full stop light near Willowtree for those getting off the bus in the afternoons, but as it stands there are far too many midblock crosswalks on this stretch, too many overly confident pedestrians, and too many drivers that are confused by the traffic controls (especially those from out of town).

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

A serious answer would be to step up enforcement, perhaps with something akin to a red-light camera.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

@WomanInYpsi - Sure, in theory, it isnt too much to ask of drivers. I'll give you that. However, in reality drivers just aren't paying attention and neither are pedestrians and accidents are occurring or nearly occurring way too often. The problem is the mid-block crosswalk system, we can call for drivers to pay more attention but that's just not a serious answer to this issue.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

Honestly, I don't think it is too much to ask to expect drivers to pay attention enough to stop when they see the flashing lights. If drivers can't handle that, then perhaps we should raise our taxes and put in full traffic lights? It is unreasonable to expect pedestrians to walk significantly out of their way because people in cars can't be bothered to pay attention.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

As much as this may be true, there is a far larger problem of people crossing anyway when there is no crosswalk. I've seen so many people cross a road literally a car length or two from the crosswalk. Apparently walking a few more yards to a signalled walk is preferable to not getting hit by cars. Who knew?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

I have seen what YpsiYapper mentions multiple times as well. However, these flashing lights do nothing when people are looking at their phone while driving. I am completely dismayed by all the phone staring I see by drivers and pedestrians these days. Someone needs to beep to get going at a green light at more than 1/2 the red lights I'm at every day. I constantly see drivers stray into the bike lane also; because of this, I never use the bike lane, only the sidewalk. And I know that if I actually knew what was being texted or looked at, I'd be even more dismayed. I sure wish all these people would just get where they're going, THEN see where their buddy's at, or what mood someone changed to on facebook or whatever.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

I've taken to blowing my horn at drivers I see texting, or reading their phones while driving. Not sure it accomplishes much, but my alternative is to do nothing.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

Agreed...100% It is infuriating to see these phone zombies constantly sit at a green light as if everyone should wait for their unimportant TXTing to subside before they finally get around to accelerating. Unaware of the red light they just ran through, unable to stay in their own lane on a straight road, etc. etc. The stupid people on their smartphones (drivers and pedestrians) are really out of control. We need smart cars that drive themselves for the stupid people to sit in while en route with their smart phones LOL. Google is working on it but the sooner the better!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

I have witnessed the following happen "numerous" times at all of these strobe light crossings : The pedestrian hits the button to activate the light, immediately walks in to the roadway without even looking to see what is coming. A vehicle comes to a screeching halt in the right lane and the pedestrian continues walking without realizing the vehicle approaching in the left lane is barreling down on them and does not see them coming out from in front of the already stopped car. Another screeching halt and a near hit. My advice to both pedestrians and drivers is pay attention especially in the dark. Slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching these crosswalks if you are driving, and if you are the pedestrian I promise no matter how much right of way you have, the vehicle that strikes you will be the winner in the challenge. Hit the button and make sure everyone stops before walking in to the road. Trust me, the few hundred thousand dollars you settle for will not be worth the mangled body you may wind up with. I am sure you have a loving family somewhere and no matter how much money is awarded they can not replace you with it.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

@Snark12 and calmdown : I travel past that crosswalk on an average of 10 times a day. I do slow down there, and in many other places within A2 where I know people may be crossing the street whether it be a crosswalk or not. It's not an inconvenience to me in any way. I would hate to have to deal with the consequences of hitting a pedestrian. It would involve many sleepless nights, a problem finding someone to insure me with any kind of reasonable rate, possible criminal charges, and a family that may be angry with me just to name a few. It takes about a second or two to hit the brakes and either stop or pass the crosswalk at a reasonable speed. For every 10 people that I see speed by these crosswalks and other areas, I see 9 of them waiting at the next red light that I come to. Have a nice day.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:59 a.m.

"Slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching these crosswalks if you are driving" Yes, but don't say it like it's some exceptional act of inconvenience. It's called safe driving. It's why the put up crosswalk signs: to alert drivers to the possible presence of pedestrians.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

YpsiYapper, I've had the same experience as a motorist - driving and then suddenly having the car to the right of me stop, but I couldn't see the pedestrian. Unfortunately the scenario you describe is all too common, the ped steps out without realizing the car 2 lanes over may not see them because of another car. I like the idea of the ped right of way, but it also seems very ambiguous and I find that frustrating - sometimes you see a pedestrian and you aren't sure you can stop in time to let them go. Additionally, if you slam on your brakes at the last minute, the car behind you may also rear end you...


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

I travel up and down Plymouth every day and have NEVER seen what you describe. In fact I think that the action of pushing the button for the signal encourages the pedestrians to take a look around and notice traffic a little more. The flashing lights are very noticable - there's NO excuse for a driver to not respond.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:30 p.m.

"Slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching these crosswalks if you are driving" Um should NOT arbitrarily slow down just because you're approaching a crosswalk. You should be more active and LOOK to see if there is a need to slow down and stop...not just "slow down just in case."

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

Prayers that the victim recovers completely. In my personal walking experience I don't ever like to depend on a car to see me. I try to always cross either at a red full traffic signal or wait till I have a big enough opening that I can cross without needing a car to slow down or stop for me. Not easy on a busy road at or near rush hour.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

we aren't excusing negligence Ryan. But i prefer not to be "in the right" from a hospital bed.

Ryan Burns

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:48 a.m.

It's prudent to protect yourself from negligent drivers. That doesn't mean negligence should be excused.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

@Kyle - In the sentence that begins "Witnesses who were in a white Ford Edge said an green Chevrolet Cavalier", you have used the wrong article. It should be "a green Chevrolet Cavalier", not "an".

Chester Drawers

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

And this is what you took away from this article? (By the way, you forgot the comma between 'begins' and 'Witnesses'...).

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

Thanks, that's been fixed.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

Technically, these aren't HAWK signals, right? They have been very noticeable (as a driver) to me, though. This is a very tragic accident and hopefully the injured pedestrian makes a full recovery.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

Not sure these are really "HAWK" signals. I thought the only HAWK in Ann Arbor was on Huron by the YMCA. The City said installing more was too expensive, if I recall correctly. The ones on Plymouth are just the flashing strobe light signals. Hope the person that was hit will be ok.

Cindy Heflin

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

That's correct. It's not a HAWK. That reference has been changed in the article.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

This is a terrible thing and I certainly hope this woman can recover from it. The Hawk signals seem to work as far as I can tell. None of us know what happened here yet though so speculation is just that - speculation.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

How terrible for everyone involved. I hope the pedestrian has a speedy and full recovery.

monroe c

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

It happened in the HAWK crosswalk. The car that hit her had a lot of damage to the bumper, hood and windshield. She was being loaded onto the gurney when I passed the scene, and she appeared to be unconscious. I hope she survives and recovers. Slow down and stay alert everyone.

Alonza J.

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 3:14 a.m.

Thanks for your concerns but my friend has passed on.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:25 p.m.

For clarification purposes the crossing does not have a HAWK signal, but a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon crossing. You can read more about them in this story from back in Dec'11 when they were first proposed for this stretch of road: