You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Statistics show Ann Arbor safer for pedestrians than many Michigan cities in 2012

By Kyle Feldscher

Debate about the safety of pedestrians in Ann Arbor is heating up after the death of a University of Michigan student hit in a crosswalk last week.

Thumbnail image for 080713_NEWS_PedCrashPlymouth_MRM_02A.jpg

Sharita Williams, 20, died after being struck by this car last week in a pedestrian crosswalk on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor.

A review of statistics show that Ann Arbor was right in the middle of the pack in 2012 when it comes to the number of crashes in Michigan cities where pedestrians were hit by vehicles.

According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, there were 60 crashes involving a pedestrian and a vehicle in Ann Arbor last year.

When broken down to crashes per capita and compared to other Michigan cities, including those of similar size and walkability, Ann Arbor compares favorably to other cities.

Here are some comparable Michigan cities and how they fared in 2012.

  • East Lansing: .0006999 pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes per capita (34)
  • Grand Rapids: .0006381 pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes per capita (120)
  • Detroit: .0006094 pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes per capita (435)
  • Jackson: .0005964 pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes per capita (20)
  • Flint: .0005857 pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes per capita (60)
  • Ann Arbor: .0005266 pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes per capita (60)
  • Lansing: .0003937 pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes per capita (45)
  • Royal Oak: .0002795 pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes per capita (16)

Statewide, most pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes that took place in 2012 happened in an intersection — 797, more than 33 percent, as compared to 550 that were not in a crosswalk, about 23 percent.

However, a higher percentage of fatal crashes took place outside of crosswalks — 48 such crashes took place, about 36 percent. In comparison, 14 people died after being hit by cars while walking in a crosswalk, about 10 percent of all fatal pedestrian crashes.


Sharita Williams

Facebook photo

Sharita Williams, a 20-year-old Clinton Township woman who was a U-M student, died early Friday morning from her injuries suffered in a crash on Plymouth Road on Wednesday. Williams was crossing Plymouth Road in a pedestrian crosswalk between Nixon Road and Traverwood Boulevard.

According to witnesses, Williams had activated the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) signal at the crosswalk. She had entered the right lane on the eastbound side of the road and was hit by a green Chevrolet Cavalier, witnesses said. Williams eventually landed at least 10 feet away in the grassy median.

Ann Arbor police have interviewed the driver in the crash, but Lt. Renee Bush said Monday morning no arrest or citations have been made to this point. The crash is still under investigation.

Williams was studying in the College of Literature, Arts and Sciences at U-M to be a social worker and was reportedly crossing Plymouth Road to get lunch during a break from her job at the University of Michigan Conference Systems.

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



Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

This seem to be a blatant attempt to distract us from the fact that the NEW crosswalks and city laws have made being pedestrians AND drivers MORE unsafe, rather than safer. Since when does adding to the confusion ever increase efficiency? Proponents of these new laws say drivers must LEARN to adapt. I say city council needs to LEARN how to govern responsibly.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

I am not very familiar with Plymouth Road's "Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon," but my wife tells me is a a strobe like light that flashes a white light. If this is true, I have to wonder at the wisdom of using such a beacon as a stop signal when the typical stop system in use statewide is a flashing or solid red light. Having driven for decades, I have never seen a signal like that and I suppose some drivers might look at it in wonder rather than instantly recognize it as a stop signal. I see in a video they are mounted with cross walk signals, however since the crosswalk on Huron has a red stop light, why do we have a different signal on Plymouth Rd?

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

Hi Mick- There some information on the beacon crossing in this story from Ryan Stanton that ran back when we the crossing was initially announced.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

I think the ones with the flashing lights are cheaper. I much prefer the HAWK signals with the red lights though.

Frustrated in A2

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 3:56 a.m.

I am curious as to what the Ann Arbor stats are before the new crosswalk ordinance and since then.

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

EyeHeart and Frustrated- I'm analyzing those numbers now and plan on using them in an upcoming story.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

I've asked that too, several times. No luck. @leaguebus, OF COURSE they have to cross the street. Just like they do outside of Oz. If you found out that the the rate at which pedestrians was hit doubled since it was enacted and rear end car accidents tripled, wouldn't it make sense to modify and/or repeal it? ....... Nah.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

What stats? Statistics like this can be misleading. In the study at hand, the stats only address crashes. They do not address near misses, i.e., a car has to brake quickly or swerve to avoid a pedestrian. Those statistics are not recorded, but could point out a problem like a sight obstruction or that pedestrians commonly cross at a place where crossing is dangerous.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 6:23 a.m.

Who cares, people have to cross streets and should be safe crossing at these crossings. Maybe we should just make it illegal to walk across streets, that would solve the pedestrian deaths.

Resident A2

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

This is so very sad. This woman did everything right, and, yet, this tragic accident still happened. My prayers are with this young woman's family.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

I find this headline offensive. A young woman was killed at one of these crosswalks last week. We need an independent transportation engineer to evaluate the crosswalk ordinance and lack of infrastructure at the crosswalks in Ann Arbor. The professional engineers on city staff with transportation expertise have been muzzled. The transportation manager, Eli Cooper, mouthpiece for the mayor, has no transportation engineering credentials. He is reponsible for the dangerous situation we find at many crosswalks throughout the city. In addition, we have a decade of improvements that former city mngr. Roger Fraser refused to put in the budget. The Cooper-Fraser combination has proved to be deadly.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

The pedestrian deaths on Carpenter Road occurred outside of marked crosswalks. Putting a crosswalk in an odd mid-block location does not help drivers look out for pedestrians.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 6:19 a.m.

Hey Bob, a woman was just killed on Carpenter crossing the street. Why does a traffic engineer need credentials to add a Crossing to make it safer for pedestrians to cross a street? I am able to stop every time I see a pedestrian at one of these crossings, why can't others?

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 3:18 a.m.

The urban planner running Pittsfield thinks the same approach will work in the middle of Carpenter Road. No transportation credentials there, either. That's why we will put up a four lane boulevard on a road with less than 20 minor crashes and delay upgrading the truly dangerous roads.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

You find it offensive to have to read about larger statistical trends that put individual instances into context???

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

I will just say that this Saturday, I was driving on Livernois Ave in Detroit when a pedestrian activated a HAWK signal. *EVERY* car stopped and the pedestrian crossed safely. This, in a city where the likelihood of getting caught for ignoring the signal is nonexistent. If people in Detroit can manage to stop at crosswalks, why do Ann Arborites have such trouble with it?


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

I've seen the same thing happen at the crosswalk on Huron St. Every car stopped. I see in photos and videos the HAWK lights are red. I have written before and I will again, I have crossed all these streets in Ann Arbor and have never had to wait an unreasonable amount of time to cross a street simply by waiting for traffic to clear. And I am in no way implying the victim of this incident was in error.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

A few principles on which many of us might be able to agree: 1. A traffic-safety policy needs to account for mistakes of both drivers and pedestrians. Many drivers will drive too fast and be insufficiently attentive to their surroundings. Many pedestrians will tend to take the shortest path from A to B, even if this means crossing streets at unsafe locations. Both kinds of mistakes will always be with us. 2. Long distances between legal crossings may spur pedestrian mistakes. Ambiguity of legal crossings may spur driver mistakes. Ambiguity can be reduced either by taking out unsignalized crossings or by adding unambiguous traffic signals. The former policy can lead to more pedestrian mistakes; the latter policy can slow traffic. 3. Short of careful analysis of crash statistics over time and between locales, it is impossible to know the effects of a policy. Mr. Feldscher has provided an initial cut; it would be useful to see the Ann Arbor statistics before, during, and after the transition to the current policy. No single statistic will give the definitive answer, however; rates per population, per vehicle-mile traveled, and per pedestrian all play a part. 4. For a crossing to contribute to safety, it must be used. Overpasses and underpasses suffer in this regard. Pedestrians will tend to the straight line and resist going up or down to cross a street. Underpasses can turn into foul and dangerous passageways. Both are extremely difficult and costly to render accessible, a legal requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The pedestrian bridge over Washtenaw on Central Campus works because it connects locales of similar elevation across a depressed arterial.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 9 p.m.

Gownie Stop being so rational and informative. You are ruining the flow here. But seriously, thanks for your assessment of the issues. Appreciated.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

Nice spin control Ann Arbor. Trot out a bunch of meaningless statistics that don't account for several important variables so we can just ignore the fact that someone with a bright future needlessly and tragically lost her life because the city encourages people to enter into a VERY dangerous situation. Nothing to see here. We're just as safe as other cities, so never fear. Except that off the top of my head I can recall at least five serious pedestrians accidents since these asinine crosswalk laws and flashing light boondoggles have been instituted. 1) the woman who was killed crossing Ann Arbor Saline Rd. 2) the student who was hit crossing S. State and Washington, 3) the woman who was seriously injured crossing Washtenaw near the Rec Center, 4) the man who was seriously injured at S. University and Church, and 5) the tragedy on Plymouth. Mark my words, there WILL be more of these until our city council wakes up and realize that we're living in the world of reality, and not a magical Utopia where cars never violate traffic laws. These 5 lane crosswalks are UNSAFE. Of course everything I've just said will continue to be ignored because our City Council thinks they always know what's best. In the meantime, please feel free to review more statistics while people continue to be maimed and killed. Bravo City Council. Take a bow. You've got a lot of blood on your hands.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

Really Ypsi? You need a study??? A girl is dead. Meantime I see near misses EVERY day at that same location. You do not need a study to tell you crossing is dangerous. Anymore than you need a government funded research project to tell you that walking down the street in Detroit at night with hundred dollar bills hanging out of your pockets is dangerous. I stated in this forum last year when these idiotic strobe lights were installed that it was going to result in someone getting killed. I guess I don't need a study to tell me I was wrong?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

It will probably take a couple of years before we can know the true effects of the crosswalk laws. So now we know that crosswalk laws don't eliminate pedestrian/vehicle encounters but it could still be possible that they reduce them, especially at signaled crosswalks.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

Now, I can see why we have so many angry drivers. I would add those wonderful commuters who talk the far left lane on M14 to zip past everyone else , then cut off the slower right lanes to be 2 sec faster than the rest of us. Congratulations! you just won yourself an early heart attack and blood pressure pills.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Would much rather see year by year statistics for Ann Arbor and whether the new ordinances has improved safety or not. What's going on in Grand Rapids or Flint seems irrelevant.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

Yep, I've asked that twice now. No response. So, you are actually ahead of the game here.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

whojix- The reason I did these comparisons was because of all the comparisons to other towns and cities in previous stories about this issue. I wanted to actually run the stats and see what they showed.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

Sorry people, I've had too many close calls to feel good about this....when crossing the street, I now assume that I've got a bull's eye on my back/a truck is bearing down on me/people are texting when they know darn well they're not supposed to be!!!!!! ultimately my safety begins/ends with me! Pedestrians Beware!


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

It's not fair to put Detroit in there, they run people over on purpose.....LOL

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

My experience in Detroit is that they are more likely to stop for pedestrians than Ann Arbor drivers.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

How do you run someone over for fun and have it not be on purpose?

Stan Hyne

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

Not on purpose--- for fun.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

These stats does not change the fact that a pedestrian bridge is needed on Plymouth Road and the removal of those multiple awkward flashing lights on this road. The city of Ann Arbor and UM, which owns multiple properties on that road (which they haven't stop their property takeover of the city) and have many students living there also should collaborate quickly on this. This bridge would probably look much better than those solar panels eyesores put there with no community consideration and a for-profit gain for UM. Building that bridge, would save lives of many and remove those confusing crosswalks in the middle of that road, which have contribute to multiple accidents, near misses, inappropriate traffic tickets and of course this death. It's now time to be practical and listen to the commonsense that has been expressed and disregarded and build a pedestrian bridge.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

Are you suggesting 1 bridge replace 4 street-level crossings? Then I am afraid you will have the issue that many people will not want to walk 'all the way to the bridge', and will just cross on their own.

Stan Hyne

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

What makes you think people would use the bridge instead of just crossing the way they always have ?


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

Yep, just like that bridge was needed over US23 at Geddes - so the bicycles could continue to use the road. Same thing on Plymouth Road. The pedestrians will ignore the bridge and cross wherever they feel like it. Save the money for something more useful, like public art or greenbelt, because in that pecking order these bridges would be last. And I'm being dead serious.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

Sometimes stealing a shopping cart is the wrong thing to do.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

It is hard to get a shopping cart over a pedestrian bridge, same for ADA access, so there is still a need for a surface crossing somewhere along there.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

Kyle - I don't know why I am still surprised that most of us commenters on think we know everything about everything all the time, but that is what we think and the place from which we comment. Ignore the haters. Your piece on pedestrian-car accidents in MI cities, while not an unnecessarily detailed multifactorial analysis, puts Ann Arbor's data into perspective and is appreciated. And thank you for your ongoing coverage; I hope the relevant city officials will comment on the record. That said (and now I go into my know-it-all mode) , the new and apparently unique-to-A2 crosswalks are not working and should be replaced by traffic lights that turn red when the pedestrian wishing to cross pushes a button on the sidewalk. Can anyone tell us why this was not done in the first place on Plymouth?


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 6:06 a.m.

All drivers have to do is stop when the crossing signal is activated. Doesn't seem to hard to understand, especially when one lane has already stopped.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

a2xarob - Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

Ummmm... not only UM students live in the multitude of neighborhoods along Plymouth. It is actually quite a mixed population and there are MANY elderly people often out on foot. Not everything in this town is about the U.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

When you see how many crosswalks there are on that stretch of Plymouth, it can help you understand why they don't want to make each on an actual traffic light. There are about 4 in 3/4 mile distance. I agree the crosswalks in that area should be actual traffic lights, but that would mean UM students would actually have to walk some distance to cross the street because it would be ridiculous to have 4 lights in such a limited distance. The city, as always, is trying to bend over backward to appease the university population.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Eeezz it safe? It's so safe, you wouldn't believe how safe it is!

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

These statistics were part of what I dredged up yesterday as I continue to report on this issues. I'm anticipating speaking with city officials about the effect of this crosswalk on the Plymouth Road area and folks in the Walking and Biking Coalition about what they see as needing to be done. I will be following up on this issue more and, if you have any questions you'd like answered, feel free to let me know and I'll ask the appropriate people.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

Just a hunch - drivers will blame pedestrians and bikers for lack of common sense, pedestrians will blame drivers and scream for more enforcement. Bikers will vacillate between the two.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Good deal. They are the real experts.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

Brad - Traffic engineers are among the city officials I mentioned.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Instead of the walking/biking coalition how about talking with a professional traffic engineer? Only one of those two groups are professionally trained in such things. And if I'm not mistaken, the W/B coalition was a driving force behind the pedestrian ordinance in the first place.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Fuzzy statistics that may or may not support the city council's IDIOTIC pedestrian crossing laws. The bottom line is pay attention and look both ways when crossing the street.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

Not sure where to mention this, but the aa dot com home page is not loading correctly. Re: these pedestrian crashes, AA has a high number of pedestrians (college students) that don't obey rules re: crosswalks and cross wherever they want to, all over town. This is likely true in many college towns. Greater enforcement of crosswalks in dense campus areas would potentially reduce injuries. I recall several hit and run injury accidents involving pedestrians in recent years in the city.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 6:02 a.m.

And when someone is hit and killed in a crosswalk, you blame the pedestrians. Makes sense.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

Hi JRW- Anytime you're having technical issues feel free to email me and I'll look into it.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

Mr. Feldscher, are there any state or federal guidelines for the type of crosswalk such as the one at Traverwood where this tragic accident occurred? Does Ann Arbor's pedestrian-enabling traffic plan have to meet a federal standard, like our Fire response time or other public safety measures do? I have not seen these signal crosswalks anywhere else in my travels, although they must be around. It seems that Ann Arbor puts too much emphasis on the right of the pedestrian to be in the roadway and too little on the training of drivers to understand their responsibility in the matter. I think the only thing I ever received explaining the new crosswalk guidelines was a small insert in my water bill.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 6 a.m.

One would assume that this type of signaled crosswalk is not unique to just Ann Arbor. I was on Main just north of Briarwood and stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross to the center island. No one on the other side stopped for as long as I looked into my rear view mirrors. Must have been 20 cars and trucks. Many who drive are just rude and do not follow the laws of the road.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Glad to hear that someone is on this- I am a cautious driver, I always favor the pedestrian, but with the huge amount of out of state and distracted drivers in our city I am sure I am the exception. Not a week goes by that I don't see somebody driving the wrong way on a one way street, blow through a light or four way stop, or stop well beyond the white line into a cross walk, etc.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

DJ- Great question. I'll check this out, I'm not sure off the top of my head.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

Good question, and one that I know someone else has been pointedly asking the city "leadership" without getting much response. Are these crosswalks designed by professional traffic engineers or by political whims about how things "should" work?


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Too soon...


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

I agree, but you have to realize it is all part of a grand scheme to whitewash the dangers created by our "mixed-use" transportation planning.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

This is a statistical train wreck and there is no conclusion (let alone inference) to be drawn from it other than statistical analysis should be left to those that are highly trained in it.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

There's a host of unaccounted for variables here. Here's a few: pedestrian density; population density in areas that are high or even medium density pedestrian zones (put another way, you need to account for the number of folks living well outside of a city but that are nonetheless part of your population count); and traffic counts (is the city home to a lot of commuter traffic from other cities). I appreciate what you're trying to do, but statistics is a very, very, very complicated field that takes years to understand, let alone master. This is not a ding on you: the effort is appreciated. Still, your words here carry weight and I would urge extreme caution in drawing conclusions that others will simply read and accept as truth.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

ordmad - Care to say why you think this is a "statistical train wreck"?

Bertha Venation

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Brought to you by your friendly local mayor and city council. :)


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Just the other day, after leaning of the tragic death of Ms. Williams, I was walking home from work and decided this one time to take a quick look to my left as I crossed Detroit Street (one way). Lo and behold, there was an elderly driver, coming up Detroit St. the wrong way. He and his wife were, in fact, the second instance I had seen of a driver going the wrong way up Detroit Street that week. Some of you drivers out there have no idea what it's really like to be a pedestrian in a city. Plenty of drivers believe they have the right of way when making a right at a crosswalk (they do not). Plenty of drivers think it's perfectly OK to come from behind you and turn in front of you into a driveway just as you're about to cross it. Plenty of drivers think it's perfectly alright to pull straight through a crosswalk in order to get a better view of oncoming traffic before they pull into the road (more than a few think that it's OK to completely block the sidewalk for extended periods of time as they wait to pull in). I could go on, but I probably don't have to. I know, we pedestrians need to "learn our places", because nobody wants to be "dead right" when it comes to the traffic laws. However, walking around this city should not be a game of Frogger. I should not constantly be afraid for my life. When I drive, I do not stop at green lights and look both ways - there is an implicit understanding that people out there understand the rules. There needs to be that understanding between drivers and pedestrians - that both parties are following the rules of the road. "Physics wins" is not a sufficient answer.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

I agree with Pizzacato that many drivers are rude and impatient. What I like about you is that you are protecting yourself by being very vigilant of "the other guy," are are walking defensively. However I would add that for every negative example you give on drivers, there are the same issues perpetrated by pedestrian (and bicyclists) too. On moving into the crosswalk to see oncoming traffic, Ann Arbor is very irresponsible in clearing sight lines, often not at signals but at Stop signs where because of plants and cars parked too close to the corner, you just can't see if there is moving traffic. If you look around the residential neighborhoods, you will note that many of the signs for no parking from here to corner have mysteriously disappeared from in front of homes near intersections.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

Mike - Ann Arbor is one of the worse cities I know of for drivers. ============= After having lived in Ann Arbor for about 30 years, I now live in the DC metro area. Ann Arbor driving and drivers look extremely reasonable to me, by comparison.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

Ann Arbor is one of the worse cities I know of for drivers. I believe in driving safely. I believe in considerate actions as well. But that consideration should be applied both ways. Many times I have been waiting for pedestrians to cross State Street near the Union as they just continue to slowly block motor traffic for several minutes. I am not an impatient person and would never put myself or others in danger, but I have been given gestures and horns many times by other drivers. I agree that roads must be safe for pedestrians, as well as drivers. I do not know how this Rapid flashing light works. Does the pedestrian call button give drivers ample time to react? Is there any responsibility of the pedestrian to look and verify the driver is aware of the walkway? This tragic accident did not have to happen, and most drivers are aware of the surroundings. Maybe, just maybe there could be a delayed light notifying the pedestrian that the drivers should now be aware of the pedestrian.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

I think you need to look both ways when driving through a green light in Ann Arbor. Because the likelihood that a pedestrian is crossing the street against the light is a lot greater than the odds of someone running the red light. The former happens all the time here. (nd as for turning right through a crosswalk, you are supposed to wait for pedestrian traffic...but when there's a car in the act of turning pedestrians shouldn't be cutting diagonally across to the crosswalk to "make the light" in front of a moviing car....which happens all the time too.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

You should always look both ways when crossing a street, including a one-way street. Isn't that basic common sense? There could be a bicyclist coming, for example. It should also be standard practice to look both ways when starting into an intersection from a light just turning green. Is this really some new revelation??? Its all about situational awareness. You should always have your spidey sense out about what is around you, whether you are in a car, a bike, on foot, or in any other situation. Especially when driving....


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

On the other hand, I feel the same way about driving my car now-a-days. When the light changes I don't just start into the intersection...I sit there and look to my left and right to make sure no one is running the light. Everyone is driving more aggressive and distracted these days it seems. And pedestrians are more cavalier when they enter a street and bicyclists are as well.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Common sense dictates to any pedestrian that he or she should check that traffic has actually stopped before entering a lane of traffic, and not trust the flashing "Mother, may I?" lights. I'm glad that many pedestrians do have the common sense to do this. Unfortunately, there are many confused, impaired, or just plain distracted drivers who do not notice what the lights are doing, or what direction trafficis supposed to be moving.

Tom Joad

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

Totally agree. The Turn-right-on-red crowd think they have precedence over pedestrians as they block the crosswalk and refuse to back up even though the traffic they are attempting to enter will not abate until they have the red light. WALKING BEHIND A CAR IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS as it sets you up for being hit by a driver turning from either the left or right lane of traffic.

Ann Arbor Parents For Students

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

On major roads, 4 lane crosswalks are not safe. Cars are going to fast!

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 3:12 a.m.

Mid block crosswalks on major roads subject the pedestrians to much higher speeds than intersections. This leads to a statistically greater chance of death.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Kea- There actually is a center island on this crosswalk.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

Yes --- they should have a center island.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

"A review of statistics show that Ann Arbor was right in the middle of the pack in 2012 when it comes to the number of crashes in Michigan cities where pedestrians were hit by vehicles." In other words - Since the smartest city in the country was the only one on the list to have this ridiculous law, it doesn't seem like it matters compared to the other cities on Kyles list. So, since you now have the data: Was there an improvement or degradation HERE since adding this asinine ordinance? How about cars rear ending each other?

Linda Peck

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

How many deaths are the right amount? How can we accept statistics like this when it is entirely possible to avoid hitting people on the streets by driving carefully and sensibly. No one should have to die crossing our streets.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

" How can we accept statistics like this when it is entirely possible to avoid hitting people on the streets by driving carefully and sensibly." I am not referring to this recent incident but to Linda's comment. I have to add that no matter how carefully and sensibly one drives, a pedestrian not paying attention because they are reading a book or on their cellphone can walk right out in front of you (I have seen this in A2). You cannot put the blame solely on drivers when a pedestrian can be the one at fault. When a collision occurs, it is because someone did something wrong.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 3:10 a.m.

"No one should have to die crossing our streets." I completely agree, however the city ordinance reads "no one should have to look both ways".


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that we should have to die crossing our streets. I don't think you think anyone is suggesting that. I think it is raw hyperbole. I do think that this is a little bit of information to put into perspective the relative safety of our city. After the recent death, there is much talk about how dangerous walking in Ann Arbor can be. This just says that perhaps it is not as dangerous as many are making it out to be. But I don't see anyone realistically saying that it is good enough and we should just live with it.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

You meant that we should not accept the reality that the statistics describe? OK - sorry for the misunderstanding - It seemed to me that you were saying that we should not accept the statistics themselves.

Linda Peck

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Tano, I meant that we should have higher standards for our road safety and that being satisfied with being somewhere in the middle for pedestrian safety is not acceptable. We should bring our safety levels to a much higher level. One of the factors which I think is important and that is not mentioned so often is the need for traffic enforcement, i.e., more police officers on the roads writing tickets for cars, bikes, pedestrians, and whoever is breaking the traffic laws.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

What do you mean "accept statistics like this". Should we reject or ignore reality because we all wish that no one would ever die? I don't understand your point.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

Michigan is one of the most walking-hostile states. Everything here was built to move cars around cities and move pedestrians into car ownership. Being safer than these other cities is a low bar to clear.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

Are you relying on the statistics from other states to form your opinion? If so, then please share. If not, then why not?


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

When calculating Ann Arbor's Per Capita.....which population count was used? Summer or school year? Also...these statistics are pretty much worthless without additional information attached to them...such as automobile traffic density and pedestrian traffic density. Being this shallow when looking at statistics usually results in inaccurate data. Simple correlations rarely are simple...

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

I used the numbers from the 2010 census.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

I feel safer already?

Bertha Venation

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.


Basic Bob

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:02 a.m.

For those wondering why 33% and 23% don't add up to 100, there are 35 other categories in the study: My favorites: Standing or lying in roadway (5%), Not in roadway (5%) More people died standing or lying in the roadway than crossing at a crosswalk. The most important conclusions I can make about this: It is far safer to cross at a crosswalk. It is far safer to walk AGAINST traffic than WITH traffic. You can be killed while playing in the street. Basic Safety Town stuff.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 10:58 a.m.

I'm not sure what this data says if you don't also normalize for the number of pedestrians (e.g. by using US census data of the percentage of persons who walk to work). For example (totally made up), if Royal Oak has the lowest percentage of pedestrians per capita who walk to work according to US Census data, then they might have a low per capita rate of pedestrian injury, even if they have almost no accommodation for pedestrians. Likewise (totally made up), if Ann Arbor had the highest percentage of pedestrians per capita who walk to work according to US census data but also had the safest environment, then they might have a middle-of-the-road per capita rate of pedestrian injury. Maybe this is covered by the reference to "walkability", but the article isn't clear.

Phillip Farber

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Exactly. Innumeracy is rampant in the media.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 10:47 a.m.

Here is a list of the top 10 cities in Michigan, ranked by population per the 2010 Census (per Wikipedia): 1 Detroit 713,777 2 Grand Rapids 188,040 3 Warren 134,056 * 4 Sterling Heights 129,699 * 5 Lansing 114,297 6 Ann Arbor 113,934 7 Flint 102,434 8 Dearborn 98,153 * 9 Livonia 96,942 * 10 Clinton (charter township) 96,796 * With Ann Arbor being the sixth largest city, why not use this list? The cities starred are in the top 10 but not in the analysis in the article. I am curious if the relative ranking of Ann Arbor would change if we looked at the data for these cities too?

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

Stephen - I used East Lansing and Royal Oak in order to give a look into, in EL's case, another college town with many pedestrians in the area and, in Royal Oak's case, a walkable city with a popular downtown area that is similar to Ann Arbor. The reason I didn't use many of these cities in this list is because they are similar in the fact that they're not exactly walkable and are mainly driving towns. I didn't think that would be a fair comparison to a place like Ann Arbor, which is unique to many towns in Michigan.