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Posted on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Officials move to stop basketball games in public streets

By Tom Perkins

Ypsilanti Township is considering an ordinance that would prohibit residents from playing basketball in public streets, sidewalks and other public right of ways.

“This is a result of years and years of complaints from residents, and that’s not an exaggeration,” said Mike Radzik, director of the office of community standards.


The problems have been reported in neighborhoods across the township, including Tremont, West Willow, Green Farms and in neighborhoods off Holmes Road, officials said.

Tom Perkins | For

Township Attorney Angela King gave the Board of Trustees a report on draft ordinance language at its April 8 meeting. No vote was taken, and the language will likely be back for a vote at the board’s April 22 meeting.

A violation would be a civil infraction punishable by a fine and confiscation of the hoop.

Radzik said residents and neighborhood watch groups have increasingly complained because groups of kids - and sometimes adults - pull portable basketball hoops to the end of their driveways or lawn extensions. That provides more room to play.

But Radzik said residents are increasingly encountering groups who won’t stop their game and move for motorists.

“Aside from the obvious safety issues of playing ball in the street, we’ve had kids in some areas who just won’t readily move out of the way for oncoming cars,” Radzik said. “That’s forcing people to stop in the road and honk the horn, and they’re getting resistance from kids who won’t stop the game and let the cars through.”

Radzik said the problems have been reported in neighborhoods across the township, including Tremont, West Willow, Green Farms and in neighborhoods off Holmes Road.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission has an encroachment policy regarding placing objects near the road that is based on state law, but it doesn’t have the staff to enforce it, Radzik said.

“We’re stuck in a situation where people call us and we can tell them it’s against a Road Commission policy, but there’s no way to do any enforcement. We’ve considered this in recent years, and the problem has not gone away. It has only gotten worse, so we need to pass our own ordinance and enforce it.”

Radzik stressed that the ordinance is not designed take away people’s hoops, but to get them on private property.

“They just need to get the hoops out of the road,” Radzik said.

Radzik said residents would likely receive a warning to remove the hoop and stop playing in the street. Ordinance officials would then check back within a day or so. If basketball is still being played in the public right-of-way, then the hoop will be confiscated.

Details still have to be worked out, Radzik said, but the township would likely hold the hoops for 30 days and dispose of them if they aren’t claimed.

"We will be developing policy on administration of the ordinance,” Radzik said. “But, just like with everything else we do, the goal is to get voluntary compliance.”

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Reach the news desk at


kindred spirit

Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

i wish we could evolve to an Eastern approach to using streets, where the pedestrians had the right of way. Slow down. Wave and say hello. Bring a buddy, sit on the curb and watch. I just bought a $8.00 sign in neon yellow / green for drivers to slow down for my 6-year-old on the street this summer. She's been told to stay off of the street, but things can happen. Note this: I had to make this purchase because I cannot trust drivers to stay aware of their surroundings and look for little kids playing in front of their houses on the sidewalk. Why can't we take care of each other?


Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 6:33 a.m.

Do we really need a law for this? How about people just use common sense and be aware of others, both driving and congregating?


Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

While there at it why don't they stop the retirees from speed walking at the mall.


Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 12:30 a.m.

Watch the screams of racism evolve!


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

We, also, played everything in the street - baseball, football, curb ball, etc. When a car would come, the first person to see it would yell, "Car!" and we'd immediately go to the side. People in my current neighborhood still do this. It's too bad that in the subject neighborhood the people are too rude to move. Somehow some people are their own worst enemies.

Eg Eg

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 10:35 p.m.

The players will not only not move, they look at you like you're the problem. No respect anymore


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

Just one more example of turning a subdivision into a subdivision instead of a neighborhood.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

it's a good idea, but lotsa luck enforcing it.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Who really cares if a car gets impeeded for a second or two? We want kids playing; it is healthy and desirable. Why alieniate them by taking heir hoops? Adults need to learn patience.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Absolutely! It's actually nice to see the kids playing together. In our neighborhood, which is not one of those listed, kids of all ages and backgrounds have a ball playing together. It is exactly what a neighborhood is supposed to be as far as I am concerned.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

Get off my lawn!


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

The kids are just out working off the large sodas that apparently the township will outlaw next. Enforce the laws that are there. If there are kids impeding traffic, cite them. Don't attempt to implement laws when there are already laws in place which can't be enforced.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.

It about teaching all the meaning of respect. If you are playing in the street, and a car comes along, move out of the way until it passes and then resume. But these days, there are many who feel that the world owes them whatever it is that they want. it is very sad indeed.

Eg Eg

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

That's the problem these one has any respect for anyone anymore

Tom Todd

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 10:14 a.m.

Go to a Park,subdivisions are shared not owned by a few.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

How many parks in the Township have basketball courts?


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

I think that is the point, sharing. Somehow people have been playing basketball in the streets for years and now it is a problem.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 9:11 a.m.

Almost all the driveways slope. Shooting baskets on a slope will ruin a players game. Subdivision rules prohibit attaching a basketball hoop to a home or garage. Therefore, mobile basketball hoops lead to their placement in the closest level surface. Why not build homes with level driveways? Why not build a multi-use court (basketball/tennis/etc.) in the common areas of subdivisions? Why don't we show our youth that we value them by providing for their recreational needs? They have swings and playscapes for toddlers, why don't we consider teens?


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

They slope to get the water off, just like you'd want them to.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 7:52 a.m.

So if I'm caught with a bag of weed and a basketball, I should hide the basketball...


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:10 a.m.

it doesn't make sense to play basketball in the street.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

THIS IS REDICULOUS. I'm from this area, born and raised. the kids that are playing basketball out there are the kids you want out there playing basketball, not robbing you, and they will if you take the only thing they do on a lazy summer day away from them. Those streets all converge together, its more than possible to avoid a game and still get home. I hope every person who tries to remove a hoop from those kids gets their homes robbed and cars broken into. THAT is some people that deserve it. You'll be starting the problem yourselves. It's not a threat people- its the obvious.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

Yes 15crown00 you are absolutely correct. Ridiculous post. Don't stop the basketball in the street because they are all hoodlums and the only thing keeping them from robbing everyone is basketball? Talk about racial stereotyping. And Ypsi.Support says robbing people and breaking into cars is what he HOPES they do if the basketball is taken away? Unbelievable.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:11 a.m.

you can't be serious


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

I love the couched racism in all these comments. Not quite overt but just below the surface. Oh and I played ball in the street everyday almost growing up in A2. No matter how fast we moved out of the street we would have on average 3-5 people throughout the day who would honk and/or scream at us. People are impatient.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

I believe the article said that the people refused to move, not that they were slow.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

ypsireader I am curious as to how many games of street hockey you have come across in these areas, and how often the players have not gotten out of your way. People make complaints to the police about things that happen, usually not about things that may or may not happen. If this were maybe Houghton in the UP you might have a point.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I think there's also racism inherent in the proposed ordinance. They aren't talking about banning street hockey, after all. Why only basketball?


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

A two minute time-out is awarded to Dennis for needlessly & thoughtlessly waving the race card! Plus you have to forfeit all your princess points.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:25 p.m.

There is that under- the- breath racism coming out of this isn't there? I'm sure you'd find the people complaining are also the ones who have the most race -related personal beliefs.

Roger Dodger

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

My opinion is this will only be enforced when there is a complaint. Cops won't be driving around looking to break up basketball games. Not only would it build ill will between youth and police, but I'd think the police would have more important things to do anyway.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

Not only that, but the cop would have to get out of the police cruiser. How likely is that to happen?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

Yeah, because this is what I want police doing with their time. Or MDOT. Or whomever it will be "enforcing" this.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

Good.Its about time.

Cory C

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

Wow, more "This comment has been removed" than actual comments. Something tells me there's more to discuss about this story than what we're being allowed to post...


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:12 a.m.

undoubtely there is


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Cory C....if you are referring to your deleted comment I think it was your description of the youths that you had problems with that got it deleted

Andy T

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

Huh, whatever happened to the hallowed tradition of 'CAR!!!!'? Time to get started on 'Dennis Rodman's Street Blocker Pickup B-Ball 2014' PS3 game to fill that gap.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.

Game on!!! Was that scene in "Wayne's World' accurate, or what?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

It seems perhaps some good old-fashioned community policing should take care of the issue. Get some patrol officers on bikes, walking, or driving around. Have them remind the people playing ball to step out of the way for drivers. It is counter-productive to try and stop the ball games, don't we want our young people to be more active, exercise, and create strong bonds with positive and engaging peers?


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

@15crown00 Out of the coffee shops and speed traps.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:14 a.m.

where do you find these extra cops?r u willing to accept a tax increase to pay for them?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

I know when I was a kid, I got out of the way for motorists. I know that in my neighborhood today, the tradition continues. The inmates do not run the asylum where I live. There is common respect and courtesy.

Scott Reed

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

Trying to stop people from playing basketball in the street? That is ridiculous; we need more people outdoors and exercising. Let them play. Motorists can just find another route to cart themselves around.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

So people should back up,turn around and drive around the block because some punks won't get out of the way ?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8 p.m.

What good is a new ordinance if they don't have the staff to enforce it? Radzik stated that they lack the manpower to enforce current laws, so why create a new one they cannot enforce?

Roger Dodger

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:19 p.m.

The way I read it, Radzik's point was that the state ordinance in place must be enforced by the Washtenaw County Road Commission, which doesn't have the manpower. Ypsi Twp. doesn't have the authority to enforce that ordinance, either. So he's saying the township should pass their own ordinance and enforce that.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Insolent groups of adults and youth blocking cars and pedestrians, along with harassment when trying to pass (throwing balls at cars, pounding fists on cars, intimidating motorists, etc) is totally unacceptable. It doesn't matter what the sport is, or who the perps are, if they are hostile to being stopped from illegal activities, then nothing will change their entitled behavior. They have little respect for the law and the safety of motorists. If one of those cars trying to get through the crowd hit one of them, who do you think would be screaming then?

Jon Wax

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

since we live in a syg state, you can kinda see why they are shuttin it down now, before it gets warm. attacking someone in a car is akin to russian roulette these days. you throw a ball at the wrong car and the driver feels threatened, they might throw a hollow point back. and the courts tend to favor the shooter. Peace Wax

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:34 a.m.

JRW, what percentage of street players do you think are obstinate for cars like that though?

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:52 p.m.

Kids (and adults) have played in the streets since the dawn of cities. Can it be dangerous? Yes. Does it sometimes slow down traffic? Yes. Is it necessary for a vibrant community? Yes. If a particular group of people is a problem, the police should get involved. Other than that, let the kids play. We've got enough controls on children with "play dates" and other such nonsense. A pick-up game of basketball or catch is no threat. I used to skateboard with friends in the street in front of my house. It's very common and the good far outweighs the bad.

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:33 a.m.

lynel, yeah, same here. Street lights meant "time to come in", or in our case, "time to ask for 10 more minutes" :) If a particular group of street players are obstinate about moving for cars, the police should be called (or worse, the kid's parents). It seems like overkill to ban such activities outright.

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

Beardown, yes I do. This book might interest you. In particular, its descriptions of what happened in the streets of yore.... "On Foot: A History of Walking"


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

We played in the streets until the street lights came on. The only game I could remember was kick-the-can, Oh, but yes! Red-light-Green-Light and Mother-may-I too. Seems the difference is that we got out of the street when a car approached. Perhaps the difference here is the attitude of the players.

Catherine Wright

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

I totally agree Jaime. I've lived in Ypsilanti all my life and we always played games in the streets. Red light green light, mother may I, stick ball, tag and basketball. I think there are other things to worry about than and little b-ball in the streets. JMO.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

"Kids (and adults) have played in the streets since the dawn of cities. " Since the dawn of cities, eh? Got data to support that claim? I was raised in metro area that had 7 million people and we played basketball and baseball in parks.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

Because asking them to play basketball at the park or in their own driveway is something they just can not comprehend. It just blows my mind that a little common sense and MANNERS could solve this. But you don't know any better if you're not taught any better. I blam the parents, not the bad little kids.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:17 a.m.

makes perfect sense


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

"Aside from the obvious safety issues of playing ball in the street, we've had kids in some areas who just won't readily move out of the way for oncoming cars" Hooray for insolence. I'm all for NOT moving out of the way being a civil infraction...but outright making playing ball in the street that's just plain wrong. The children with disrespect....THEY are they ones who should be punished for this....their parents too since they're to blame for the disrespect in the first place.

Ryan Munson

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

Dispose of them? How about donate them if they are not claimed?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

So what are they going to out a warehouse to store everyones basketball hoops in? Or better yet sell it back to the residents at a discounted price. Motorists need to stop being old and prude, let the kids have some fun.


Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

I have never waited an extended amount of time for people to move out of the way. Sorry people don't take you seriously.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

The problem is not waiting " a few seconds " sorry


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

Yes that would be correct. It is this crazy thing where you pull up and wait a few seconds, they move out of the way and then you keep going. This has been going on for years upon years and now people want to call and complain as if the kids I see nowadays are not fat enough.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

So what you are saying is that if you don't like kids refusing to let you drive by on a STREET then you are " old and prude " am I correct ?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

I think that it should be complaint driven.We have kids on the other block that play ball in the street but they have always moved out of the way when I have driven by


Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

Yep. Blocking traffic is illegal anyway, the cops can step in if/when/where it is a problem. In the clubview neighborhood most of us would welcome the sight of young neighbors enjoying themselves. Then again, in our neighborhood, I think they would be happy to move for a car.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

It will be a cold day in you know where before I tell kids to stop playing basketball outside - anywhere. What should they do, head in and play video games? I can see pressuring kids to respect motorists and pedestrians when they need to, but all this is going to do is create a resentful youth population.

Thinking over here

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

"I can see pressuring kids to respect motorists and pedestrians when they need to, but all this is going to do is create a resentful youth population." So we give in?? Submit to fear? this is a slippery slope of allowing dis-courtesy to criminal behaviour. Where is the parenting? The idea of raising kids to be good citizens?


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

So why a new law? There are already laws for impeding traffic and disorderly conduct. Go after the offenders, not everyone.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

Anywhere, huh? Yeah, well ok. If they start a pick up game inside a grocery store? How about along Michigan Ave. Maybe I-94? I understand your thinking, but it's only common sense that a road is for vehicular traffic. There would be no problem if the kids moved for cars. But, apparently, Ypsi--after a long time of letting things be--can no longer do so because more and more kids are not letting traffic through. It's a shame that no adult has made the kids act courteously, and now it will ruin it for others but people can't be blocked as they try to get to work or go to appointments, etc. just so Johnny can dunk. If there are more kids playing than a driveway can handle, then they should get to a school court or park.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

Nobody is saying they can't play basketball, just don't do it in the street.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

There are laws involved here, as well as the safety of pedestrians and motorists, who have the right of way on public property.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Anyone know where the neighborhoods of Tremont and Green Farms are ?


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

It's actually "Greene Farms." (not Green)


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

GREEN FARMS is located between Whittacker and I think it is Hitchingham road on the west, it is north of Bemis road across from Lincoln Elementary school. Seem like they could play on the school property when school is over.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

Got it Kyle #( ? ).I didn't think it would google

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

They are both south of Ford Lake. Green Farms: Tremont:

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

As a driver I can understand the frustration if these games block the streets and show no consideration to their right of way, at the same time I recall my days as kid using the street as my playground for everything from hockey to basketball and having a game interrupted by a car. This seems like a unfortunate situation that could be avoided by a little understanding and cooperation on both sides. Readers, are there any alternate solutions you have for this problem that would be a win-win for drivers and those playing in the streets?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

What about more public places in the area to play basketball? Surely there are enough abandoned houses there that the township can buy a couple, tear them down, pave over the lot and voila! - off street basketball. Kids out of the road. Cars can move freely. Kids still get to have fun. win-win except for the cranky neighbors who hate the idea of kids making noise and having fun.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

The alternate solution would be for parents to teach their children to be courteous to others and let the cars go by. I haven't had this problem myself because the kids always move so I wasn't bothered but if the kids didn't move I would be a little irked.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

I'd hop outta my truck and join the young'uns. I'd be super friendly but play badly. So badly they'll cringe while watching me shoot hoops. After a few minutes of embarrassing b-ball I'd climb back into the truck and be on my way. The next time I approach I'm pretty sure they'll wave me through immediately.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

There are actually no alternatives. The players need to do like you and I did when we were younger. Yield the right of way. Streets were not built for pedestrians nor bicyclists. Streets were built for motor vehicle traffic.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

Community standards? Lol.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

Come on they have Standards ---But they are just Low