Ann Arbor officials say they're listening to concerns about pedestrian safety ordinance
Image courtesy of David Burgess
Burgess said he slowly stopped his car in the curb lane around 3:30 p.m. last Friday to yield to a young boy who was preparing to cross the street. But other cars continued to whiz by in the adjacent lane, he said, and he feared the boy might be hit if he tried to cross.
Just then, Burgess said, he heard squealing tires behind him and noticed an SUV approaching too fast to stop without hitting his car. Fortunately, he said, the SUV jumped the curb and went up onto the sidewalk beside him instead.
"I don't remember where the young boy was at that moment, but if I had been rear-ended when he was in front of me, I would have been pushed into him," Burgess said.
Burgess' concerns are similar to those shared by many other motorists since the city began enforcing its new pedestrian safety ordinance last month.
Image courtesy of David Burgess
Even Police Chief Barnett Jones said back in June that when he stopped for a pedestrian at a local crosswalk, it caused a lot of commotion and he almost wound up being rear-ended.
"I'm just afraid this is going to backfire and somebody is going to get hurt or killed," Burgess said. "I'm all for pedestrian rights. I just think unless it becomes state law or national law, it's going to lead to more problems than it solves. I'd like to see it gone."
Adapting to change
Ann Arbor officials said this week they're getting lots of feedback from the public and they take all concerns to heart, but they're not interested in abandoning the new crosswalk law.
"Accidents happen at normal stoplights, too, when people aren't paying attention and run into the back of somebody," Mayor John Hieftje said in response to Burgess' story. "But certainly that's a concern. It was one of our concerns from the beginning."
It was Hieftje and Council Member Carsten Hohnke, D-5th Ward, who sponsored the ordinance that was unanimously approved by the council last year.
While it's always been the law that motorists must stop for pedestrians already within a crosswalk, the stopping requirement now applies to pedestrians approaching a crosswalk — the idea being that they shouldn't have to risk life and limb to get a car to stop for them.
"The idea was if somebody is coming up to a crosswalk, or wants to get into the crosswalk, that we should consider a shift in our community kind of culturally around saying, 'Hey, I'm going to stop,' as opposed to kind of gunning it to get through the crosswalk," Hohnke said.
"Anytime when you're going through change in traffic engineering and traffic policy, there's greater vulnerability to unintended consequences," he said. "You see the same thing when you put up stop signs at four-way intersections that used to have yield signs."
Hohnke noted similar pedestrian safety ordinances have been successful in other communities, including Boulder, Colo.
"There's always going to be this period of adjustment," he said. "But if you look at other communities in which these same or very similar ordinances exist, you see overwhelming evidence of communities being able to adapt to those changes."
Despite the concerns, Hieftje said he still believes the pedestrian safety ordinance is appropriate for Ann Arbor, but it may eventually require some tweaking.
"Our ears are open and listening to the feedback and you may just see us bring this up and give it a few tweaks at some point," he said. "And I don't think the police are anxious to go out and ticket a lot of people — maybe just enough to raise awareness."
Hieftje agreed more education around the new law is needed, and he acknowledged that's a big challenge for the city.
"At any given time, half the drivers in Ann Arbor aren't from Ann Arbor, and so it makes it a little harder to educate," he said. "So if more communities in Michigan went down the same path, pretty soon we'd all get it and everybody would understand."
Hieftje also agreed with the concern that there's some ambiguity about the obligation to stop for pedestrians "approaching" a crosswalk.
He said he's interested in seeing if there's a better system for pedestrians to alert motorists when they intend to cross, rather than leaving it up to motorists to assume.
"In some communities, the pedestrian who is about to cross signals that," Hieftje said. "He raises his arm or something like that and indicates he's going into the intersection, rather than just standing on the curb, talking to a friend and making it a little difficult to tell."
According to city officials, motorists should stop when there's a reasonable expectation that a pedestrian has a desire to cross at a crosswalk, and they can stop safely.
"It is an issue just like a lot of traffic issues that involve some discretion," Hohnke said, citing regulations around yellow lights, which require motorists to stop if they can do so safely.
"Well, what does 'if I can do so safely' mean?" he said. "It's discretion on each driver's part and on enforcement. So it's not any different than a lot of other traffic rules."
Hieftje said he's also interested in working with the state of Michigan to get more HAWK signals in place at certain crosswalks in Ann Arbor, including on Plymouth Road.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
That was the solution for the intersection of Huron and Third streets just west of downtown. Prior to the installation of a HAWK signal there last year, otherwise able-bodied seniors living at Lurie Terrace were taxied across the street to work out at the YMCA, said Erica Briggs, a city planning commissioner and Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition board member.
Briggs said children in the childcare program at the YMCA also were required to walk up the street to First and Huron to cross with the traffic signal and then walk back down to Third and Huron on the other side of the street to go to West Park. Other individuals using wheelchairs simply couldn't cross at Third and Huron, she said.
Briggs said the HAWK signal is a wonderful device, but it isn't a financially viable option for every crosswalk. She maintains the pedestrian safety ordinance is needed so people aren't required to step in front of moving vehicles to trigger the need for motorists to stop.
Before the pedestrian safety ordinance, Briggs said, the city's previous law was basically unenforceable and crosswalks weren't serving as a safe crossing point for many members of the community. While it's possible for some people to wait for a gap in traffic and dash across a busy street, she said, that option doesn't exist for many residents.
Some motorists have argued Ann Arbor police officers should start ticketing pedestrians who jaywalk if they're going to ticket motorists for not stopping at crosswalks. Briggs pointed out there is no jaywalking law in Ann Arbor, but police can ticket pedestrians who cause a dangerous situation by stepping in front of a moving vehicle.
Briggs said a survey of local drivers last spring found that the presence of multiple treatments at crosswalks — zebra stripping, signage, and the presence of the word "crosswalk" in a sign — helped motorists correctly identify a crosswalk as a crosswalk.
The city's engineering staff is now working to develop stronger crosswalk design guidelines and make improvements at crosswalks that will benefit both motorists and pedestrians, but city officials say resources are tight and design changes will take time.
"We're never done," Hohnke said. "There's always ways to make everything better, so we continue to look at ways to improve education, engineering, enforcement and policy."
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.
Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.
If the city wants cars to stop on any of Ann Arbor's major roads, they are going to have to put in some kind of signal. I can see a bright red light suspended above my lane from half a mile away, no matter how many SUVs or delivery trucks are in the way, but I have difficulty spotting a relatively small, inconspicuous pedestrian from behind two or three mid-size cars. I have time to slow down and stop for the red light; I may not have time to stop for the pedestrian. As another commenter has said, there is no need for a signal at EVERY crosswalk in town—just the problem spots—but every crosswalk in town DOES need to have some kind of signage, or nobody is going to adopt this. It's going to become another "weird thing those Ann Arbor people do," like how it's mysteriously permissible to turn left on red at Maiden Lane and Plymouth (???), but in my opinion, it won't be adopted as law unless people see it at every crosswalk. I would like to see this ordinance succeed in the slower, smaller downtown streets. I absolutely do not have a problem letting the Community High School kids cross Fourth on their way to lunch in Kerrytown, and since I'm only going twenty miles an hour, I can feasibly do that and not worry too much that the car behind me is going to plow through my rear window—or plow through the kids. Where can I read the actual literature of this ordinance? This is the third AnnArbor.com article I've read about it, and I still can't seem to find the letter of the law. What is the actual rule, and how do commissioners expect drivers from Canton, Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, or Jackson to follow an ordinance a born-and-bred Ann-Arborite like me can't even find when actively looking for it?
Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.
Remember "stop, look, and listen?" I realize it's not always feasible for an elderly, disabled, etc. person to dart across the street during a break in traffic, but if this ordinance bolsters anything for pedestrians, it's not safety—it's convenience. In my mind, the most dangerous thing we can do is tell our children a car MUST stop for them if they are anywhere near the street. There is a big difference between "is legally obligated to" and "is physically going to," and telling pedestrians the crosswalk will protect them from the two-ton hunks of metal hurtling toward them simple because a rule has been implemented—especially a vague, unadvertised, known-to-a-select-few-who-read-AnnArbor.com ordinance like this one—has got to be the least safe action we could take.
Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.
Folks, I only have a few (15) questions that this law has raised in my mind. Can someone answer definitively what the law says about each of these circumstances? Crosswalks at intersections: 1. With a green light, through traffic – I assume pedestrian can only cross during a red light. If a pedestrian enters a cross walk from my left as I approach a green light must I stop per the pedestrian in the crosswalk rule even if I can safely pass through the intersection, or do I only need to stop to avoid hitting the pedestrian. 2. With a green light, right turns – does the "approaching the intersection" rule apply to right turn traffic, or must the pedestrian be in the crosswalk per the old rules? 3. With HAWK signal – is the pedestrian required to activate and wait for the signal before crossing or do either the "pedestrian in the crosswalk" or "approaching the crosswalk" rules apply even if they don't activate the signal? 4. Flashing yellow – which rule applies? Pedestrian in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk? 5. Flashing red - which rule applies? Pedestrian in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk? 6. Stop sign before crosswalk - which rule applies? Pedestrian in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk? 7. Stop sign after the crosswalk - which rule applies? Pedestrian in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk? 8. Yield sign before crosswalk - which rule applies? Pedestrian in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk? 9. Yield sign after crosswalk - which rule applies? Pedestrian in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk? 10. No sign or signal - which rule applies? Pedestrian in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk? (to be continued - ran out of space)
Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.
One other, when there is a crossing guard at a school crossing, do I need to yield to a pedestrian approaching the crosswalk or should I stop only when the crossing guard enters the street with the stop sign?
Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.
Crosswalks at intersections (cont): 11. No sign or signal for vehicle traffic, but pedestrians have a yield sign (e.g. at the Maple-US-23 traffic circles) – in this case it sounds like the rule should be to yield to pedestrian in the crosswalk. If this is an exception to the general rule (yield to pedestrian approaching the crosswalk), how will a motorist know when the pedestrian must yield since the pedestrian's signs are not easily visible to the motorists? Crosswalks not at intersections: 12. On a boulevard – do I need to yield to pedestrian in or approaching a crosswalk on the other side of the boulevard? 13. With a pedestrian median (such as on Plymouth and Stadium) – do I need to yield to pedestrian in or approaching a crosswalk on the other side of the median? 14. With a bus stop – how does the motorist know whether the person standing at the crosswalk is waiting for a bus or waiting to cross the street? 15. With multiple lanes (where pedestrian is blocked from view by vehicle in another lane) – if neither stop do both get a ticket even though only one could see the pedestrian? If one slows down to stop, but the other doesn't because he can't see the pedestrian does he still get a ticket? Is it the law's assumption that any car slowing or stopping before a crosswalk is doing so for the purpose of a crossing pedestrian? I may have a few more, but these are the ones that popped into my head on my drive home today when I ran into nearly all of the circumstances described above.
Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.
The tiny signs at the crosswalks, that say "Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk" do not do much good. You cannot read them until you are almost on top of the crosswalk. They say nothing about stopping for pedestrians approaching the crosswalk.
Katherine Williams Ganzel
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.
So let me get this straight. If people are standing at a crosswalk, traffic must stop. But they placed crosswalks where some AATA stops are so that each of those bus stops essentially becomes a pedestrian/vehicle four way stop. What kind of insane person decided where these crosswalks are? This is the worst law ever. Someone is going to get killed.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.
The HAWK signal on Huron seems like a good idea, but after the pedestrian crosses, the light goes to a blinking double red light before it shuts off. What are you supposed to do then? Most cars seem to think the blinking red light means go, but it is not clear what it means, so some cars go and some cars wait. Also, what about bicycles riding in the street bicycle lanes, are they supposed to stop for pedestrians the same as cars? And what about bicycles riding either on the wrong side of the street or riding the wrong way on a one way street? Is this legal and if they cannot see the pedestrian sign because they are facing the wrong way, are they obligated to stop? I think the pedestrian crossing law needs some work and that pedestrians crossing should be aware that some cars might not see them and stop.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.
My 17-year-old daughter was ticketed and fined $130.00 + 2 points last week for breaking this law. She was driving at night when three college-age guys quickly entered a crosswalk on Huron St. when she was about 15 feet from the walk. She didn't stop--she would have had to very quickly brake, which she thought would be unsafe. The pedestrians were on the other side of the street (in the other lane--well away from her car) by the time her car crossed the crosswalk. The anticipation required to follow this law is ridiculous. She's a very good driver--but even I, after driving for 30 years, would have done what she did. There needs to be cooperation and respect between drivers and pedestrians.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.
Additional visual and audible aids are necessary to meet ADA and for general safety.. I don't even see a crosswalk sig at the Stadium location. Crosswalks must be well marked for all users and all types of weather and visibility - the City Engineer s should know this.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 7:29 a.m.
How about an update to the ordinance that prohibits AATA from locating a bus stop at a marked crosswalk? In several locations, I slow down and prepare to stop; it turns out to be somebody waiting for a bus!
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.
I think, though they won't/can't admit it, way too little thought was put into this ordinance before enacting it and attempting to enforce it. Your point illustrates that. Someone had a lot of pull to get it passed before thinking hard about it.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 4:32 a.m.
Stop talking mayor and council and take "action" you can't run a city on your "personal issues". Change the law or you'll cost this city a fortune when a wrongfull death takes place. Yyou are not in compliance with state law, you appear to be disregarding public opinion by responsible citizens, and you appear to be forcing a "personal agenda" down drivers throats that make them uncomfortable. Do we have to get a petition going to impeach the mayor for endangering our safety by imposing traffic laws contrary to and not in compliance with state law?
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 4:24 a.m.
The title of the article says, "Ann Arbor officials say they're listening to concerns about pedestrian safety ordinance". Right, the same way they are listening to concerns about reductions in the city's safety services. The same official (Hieftje) who is "comfortable" with about two additional citizens per year dying in their own homes from house fires due to staff reductions. The same officials who stopped repairing streets and let the Street's Millage fund build up a $28 million dollar surplus--the same Street's Millage fund paid out $500,000 to the Percent For Art program. Ann Arbor voters should know that the Street's Millage is coming up for renewal on this November 8th. However, the same previously mentioned "listening" officials think they can trick clueless voters into renewing this millage by offering to add a sidewalk repair program for "only" 1/8th of a mill more. The habitually clueless will fail to notice that by approving the 1/8th mill increase, the voter will also be approving the 2 mill Street's Millage renewal. The average homeowner can vote themselves $200 per year by voting down this millage renewal but you can't have the sidewalk program and still vote down the renewal. If voters want officials to truly listen, vote down the the Street's Millage renewal.
Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.
Ashok, I checked out your link; notice how the actual language of Proposal 2 says nothing about being contingent on Proposal 1 passing? There is a note above the proposal which is not part of the proposal. When I read the language of Proposal 2, there was no side note explaining that Proposal 2 was contingent on Proposal 1. From the actual language of Proposal 2, it looked like it was possible for voters to vote down Proposal 1 but still pass the millage renewal if Proposal 2 passed. Gee, does it take much imagination to envision a situation where voters vote down Proposal 1, pass Proposal 2 and then the city says they made a mistake on their website and it turns out the millage is renewed? I say vote down both and don't take any chances.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.
@ Stuart - You wrote: "The habitually clueless will fail to notice that by approving the 1/8th mill increase, the voter will also be approving the 2 mill Street's Millage renewal." I don't think that is quite right. There are two proposals on the ballot. Proposal 1 for renewal of the street millage at 2 mills. Proposal 2 for sidewalk repair at 1/8 mills. Proposal 2 cannot be adopted on its own. Adoption of proposal 2 is conditioned upon adoption of proposal 1. If proposal 1 is voted down, then the matter ends there. Of course, proposal 1 (just the 2 mills for streets) can be approved on its own. See here: <a href="http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/project_management/Pages/SidewalkMillage.aspx" rel='nofollow'>http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/project_management/Pages/SidewalkMillage.aspx</a> That said, I am in agreement with you that both proposals should be voted down. With $28 (or $29) million in the streets fund, plus the additional $13 million now obligated by USDOT for the Stadium bridges reconstruction, the city administration needs to show that they can spend the money responsibly. We need to see real results. The time to renew the streets millage is not now; maybe next year, or the year after that.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 4:22 a.m.
The signs are too small, at night the sidewalk is black because streetlights shine over the road, headlights are designed to shine on the road also, and the crosswalk is virtually invisible. Daytime issues involve the "viewblocking SUV and trucks" that impede visibility. And as far as Hiefje's comment about pedestrians "risking their olives to enter the crosswalk" I believe state law requires pedestrians " to wait until it is safe to enter the crosswalk" then once in the cross walk and within the drivers field of view, the law requires vehicles to stop. Bad law, bad law, dangerous law, someone is going to get killed and backers of this law will be responsible. And where was all this "discussion" prior to passing this "personal interest law"?
Linda Diane Feldt
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.
We need to improve signage, which has been slowly happening. We need to increase education. Even the police weren't stopping for pedestrians IN the crosswalk last year. We also need to move some bus stops. They should no longer be located exactly at a crosswalk. That said, I've seen a huge increase in drivers stopping for pedestrians, just in the last few months. I walk a couple miles a day, every day, and the message is clearly getting out. Now, I have more close calls downtown with drivers ignoring traffic signals and turning into pedestrians without looking (speed and cell phones usually involved) than with crosswalk near misses. There are so many states that have had this in effect for decades. Ann Arbor is not the first or the only place to have laws to protect and encourage walking. We didn't make this up. And there shouldn't be anything special about our drivers that makes it more dangerous to obey the crosswalk laws in Ann Arbor, or Michigan. We just have to catch up with much of the rest of the country and pay attention. Speaking as a pedestrian, this law has absolutely made walking easier, friendlier, and it is beginning to be safer. I'm still cautious, and always will be. And as a driver I enjoy that brief friendly interaction with people who are walking. I'm glad to see people out of their cars and using their feet!
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 12:22 p.m.
If much of the rest of the country jumped off a cliff, would you jump off the cliff, too?
Attempted Voice of Reason
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 2:17 a.m.
So I did a little research: On the Michigan DOT page you can find links to the MIchigan Vehicle Code (MVC) and to the MIchigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Both of which are basically slight modifications to the national Uniform Vehicle Code and the federal MUTCD. Apparently the state got tired of each local government coming up with new signs and new laws, and they created a state-wide policy for what signs should look like, what they mean, and how they should be placed. And not only signs, but also traffic signals and road paint lines -- including criteria that they call "warrants" for when different devices should be used. ***The purpose is to create consistent driver expectations throughout the state -- local governments can not change these laws.*** Sure the MVC states that local governments can require motorists to stop or yield for motorists already in a crosswalk. That's what the new signs in town say, and it's honestly common sense anyway. I'm not going to run over anyone or anything in my way. But the City isn't doing that. They're requiring all croswalks (even unmarked ones) to be Yield signs. But they aren't putting up Yield signs, because those aren't allowed at crosswalks---this looks like a bit of a problem. The MUTCD also says that even on real roads, the Yield signs need to go up on the MINOR road, not the major one. And even then, if you can't stop in time, you need a Stop sign, not a Yield sign, so that everybody comes to a halt, can look both ways, then proceed if clear. So for most of the crosswalks, on the minor roads, I think we need ordinary "STOP" signs at the crosswalks to comply with the state law. That would interfere too much with traffic flow on the major roads, so I think there we need Hawk signals. Plymouth Rd already has electrified steel crosswalk poles, so adding a few buttons and lights should be pretty cheap. Or to be honest, I've crossed in gaps on Plymouth, and the wait was n
Attempted Voice of Reason
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.
...the wait was never bad. (It said I was under the limit, but cut off my last words.)
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.
When someone dies because of Hieftje's and Hohnke's actions, will they "educate" mourners at the funeral as to why they are not specifically to blame. And it is a "when", because this is a law that runs counter to common sense on the roads, not to mention the law just about everywhere else.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.
As an A^2 native currently going to school in boulder I can tell you that the reference to us by Hohnke is not entirely correct. In boulder we have a STATE law that says that you must stop for anyone in the crosswalk with the crosswalk including the dip in the sidewalk at either end we do not include intent in this law. We in colorado to help promote awareness of this law (that by the way is in no way enforced or followed) post yield signs next to all uncontrolled pedestrian walks saying: state law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians in walkways. Ann Arbor is also the only place I've seen pedestrian crosses spread randomly across major streets everywhere else they are at intersections where you would expect.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.
These new crosswalks are extreemly dangerous, both to the pedestrian and to vehicles. Part of the problem is that they are not located at intersections where a driver might expect to see people trying to cross. They are instead located at strange places along the block. I have experienced the danger firsthand both as a pedestrian and a driver. In the first instance I was trying to cross at the new crosswalk on Washtenaw across from the Rec Center near Platt. Scary as all getout!! Absolutely zero traffic stopped for me. Why would they? Why would they expect a crosswalk where there was no intersection, where the speed limit is 45 and where there are 5 lanes of traffic? I counted 40 cars before there was a break in traffic when I could bolt to the center lane and regroup before I could again bolt to the other side. After that experience I decided that perhaps the city has a vendetta against pedestrians! My experience as a driver is similar to others.....that is, watching the curbs on both sides for folks trying to cross is distracting from my main job as a driver which is to watch the vehicle traffic around me. I've also had the experience of stopping at one of these walks, watching in my rearview mirror as cars behind me either slam on their brakes to avoid me or swerve around me and nearly hit the pedestrian. I fear that pedestrians will be hurt or worse before the city wakes up and sees that this ordinance is simply dangerous! I say that if a Hawk light cannot be installed at each one of these crosswalks, paint them over before somebody gets killed.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.
Your comment illustrates both sides of the problems with this ordinance perfectly. I came into town on Wednesday to pick up a friend and it was a very uncomfortabl driving experience. I found myself looking all over the sides of the streets instead of concentrating on the street. It was insane.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:03 p.m.
I should NOT have to be responsible for myself or my actions! Just a few short weeks ago I happened to be walking my dog through the park when all of the sudden a frisbee went whizzing by my head! Had it been just a few inches closer, I would have been hit in the head by this frisbee, and who knows what the damage could have been done to me!! Does it matter that this park also happened to have a Disc Golf course intertwined throughout the park?? Absolutely not! I should not have had to worry one bit about the disc golfers because it's my right as an irresponsible, lazy, ignorant, and arrogant Ann Arborite to simply go where I want and do what I want without ever giving anyone else any thought. I hope the mayor and honke read my near death experience and move quickly to enact new laws against disc golf when walkers are nearby!!! Do they realize how dangerous this is and potentially could be!!! I guess my parents and everyone else was wrong when they said, "look both ways before crossing the street". Thanks to the mayor, honke and company, we no longer have to think for ourselves, watch out for ourselves, or be responsible for our actions. Hopefully everyone caught on to the heavy dose of sarcasm. Our society is getting lazier and lazier by the day, and all government does is create more laws to protect these people. Seriously, where did they people grow up?? Where did they go to school?? Are they really that blinded by their own ambition to see how assinine this is and what chaos and controversy they created!?!?! If they really cared they would look at how many people are posting to this and how many think the law needs to be done away with!!!!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.
Come on, people, just pay attention, use your best judgment, and stop your car. There are always going to be jerks out there who aren't paying attention and put the rest of us at risk. This law doesn't change that at all, but it gives the city recourse to fine them for bad behavior. If you want to drive fast and switch lanes and not worry about anyone entering the roadway, drive on the highway.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.
Laws are passed [in an ideal world] to make situations SAFER for the majority. The crosswalk law, as it is, SHOULD do that. But it doesn't. Why? We can point fingers: "Motorists don't care about human life, they just want to get where they're going at top speed." But we're hearing from people who are AFRAID, as motorists, to make a good-faith effort to obey a law that was already in operation. Then there are pedestrians who are under the illusion that the new ordinance means INSTANT COMPLIANCE, which it does not. When I use a crosswalk, I do so by making it clear that I INTEND to use the crosswalk, but I do not step out into traffic. And more often than not, I simply wait until there is no traffic ... because that's polite. My Dad, a former drivers ed teacher, had a saying: "Don't be the guy who died defending his right-of-way." When I'm in the crosswalk, I smile, nod, wave, at the drivers who have stopped for me. (Anybody ever read "Little Racoon and the Thing in the Pool?" It's COURTEOUS to aknowledge that someone has obeyed the law and allowed me the right-of-way. "Allowed." I didn't take it. Our A2 local driving population is mostly commuter -- local education efforts won't necessarily address their "ignorance." We can't get folks consistently to obey the crosswalk at Tappan and South University, and that includes UM DPS vehicles, AAPD vehicles, AATA buses, and so on. When streets are snow-covered, as a previous poster has pointed out, how will the crosswalk ordinance be enforced? Can we discuss the lack of winter road maintenance we can anticipate in the coming winter? And what can we say about those 5:45a.m. joggers who favor black or dark-blue clothing, and still expect to be spotted in a crosswalk? I'd say some tweaking is most certainly in order ... but I'll say again: equal enforcement. Pedestrians don't obey the laws, cyclists don't obey the laws. And yet, those road-sharers have the m
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.
As a pedestrian living in downtown Ann Arbor, I LOVE the new law. People slow down and you won't rear end someone who is following the law!!! I've had three neighbors hit in the Huron /4th Ave area in the last two years. Two were in wheelchairs when they were hit! I was nearly hit this morning crossing 4th and Washington, and I walk with a walker. Your few seconds saved are not more valuable than someone else's life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.
Leaving aside the comments from those who seem to feel that pedestrians hit by vehicles got what was coming to them, there is remarkable agreement on this topic: Drivers say that they are willing to stop for pedestrians legally crossing the street IF they see them and if they can stop safely. Pedestrians say that they are willing to wait until it's safe to cross if that opportunity comes in a reasonable time frame. Those statements ought to be the guiding principles for improving pedestrian safety and convenience in Ann Arbor and not the current flawed ordinance that simply creates doubt on the part of drivers and pedestrians.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.
This city council hasn't listened to the citizens on anything before, so why are they starting now? Is an election pending?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.
think about this. a life is not worth spending money on. art money would do a lot of hawk lights. now it is winter you do not have a cement divider. the road is covered with snow. some people will not be able to see the marks in the street. this is just a mess. do the lights or get rid of it. oh the mayor said he is not going to get rid of it. maybe we can get rid of him.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.
I completely agree that drivers now fear that they will get fined for not judging a pedestrian correctly. I was on Liberty and Virginia and a male was standing there as if he was going to jump off the curb. Seeing several cars zoom through, I saw him with enough time and slowed to a stop and he just stared at me. So while I held up traffic to allow him to cross, he had no idea what he wanted to do, the cars behind me got angry, and well it was a waste of time and a bit frustrating. As someone who walks downtown frequently, no one has yet to stop when I try to cross. What happened to the AAPD patrolling? or was that just to scare people for one day and then let the word spread. Also, what about all of the students who are texting and decide they have the right away to jump out in front of my car when I have the right away and they decide NOT to use crosswalks? Everyday down Packard I feel like I am playing a video game where I have to dodge the kids that are too preoccupied with their weekend plans than worrying about if they will be alive to fulfill them. Why can't they get a ticket for jaywalking? OK. I am done now. HA
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:03 p.m.
Why isn't there any police presence on State Street by Angell Hall, or on North University by Hill Auditorium? Those intersections will be almost impossible for drivers to stop. They will be backed up for an incredible amount of time, with students leaving the MLB and Angell and the Union.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.
Plymouth road either needs an over-the-road pedestrian crossing bridge or an under-the-road pedestrian crossing bridge. There are so many students living in and around N.Campus now, that it's probably worth the cost (and have UM pay for 50%)
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.
this was the worst idea. somebody is going to get hurt or killed. city council, what were you thinking?? dumb idea. pedestrians should cross at the corners where there is a traffic light or stop sign. or are they just too lazy to walk a few more feet. if pedestrians want to share the road with cars then they should be willing to share the sidewalk with cars too. we have roads for traffic and sidewalks for people. keep it simple. i have seen many near misses with this new "city " law and when someone gets hurt I hope the city gets sued. repeal-repeal-repeal
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.
A standing sign with flashers should be sufficient, that huge pole cross thing looks real expensive and are not the only and cheapest way to do it. That is most expensive. Just a regular sign with flashing reds when there is a walker trying to cross. I wonder why the city always wants to spend top dollar for everything and then wonder why their broke.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.
And the award for "Most Tone-deaf City Council" goes to....... Ann Arbor. I can almost visualize our Mayor clapping his hands over his ears and singing, "La, la, la, I can't hear you."
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:07 p.m.
Instead of putting it all on the motorist, we should put it on the J-walkers too. I drove a cab in A2 for several years, and it's real common for a student too just walk right in from of passing cars, not because they wants to but late for class, or just came from class and full of lessons that they are unfocussed. This is an occurrence that is a 24 hour a day thing. The cross walk should be the place to cross, and not out from behind parked vehicles, or unmarked places. Either-way the city must buy either a flashing red, or the cross walk light for speeds exceeding 30 MPH. Traffic in A2 can get real heavy with people who aren't from here or just rush hour traffic. The students especially think they can just cross where ever and make someone slam there brakes. But if the drivers are doing something else and not paying attention, the J-Walkers will get hit or have to jump to safety. As written above, these laws will keep causing accidents.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.
"Our 12 year old son was the young boy trying to cross Stadium Boulevard in this story. I want to thank Mr. Burgess for stopping for him. Thank you! " Hi Tammy. Happy to stop for your son. In hindsight though, I think I placed him in greater danger by stopping, than if I had continued through the crosswalk. Perhaps you can see from the tire tracks that the SUV which jumped the curb, rather than rear-ending me, was headed right for the spot where your son had been standing on the sidewalk, waiting to cross. Just to be perfectly clear, he didn't do anything which could be even remotely considered negligent or inattentive. My best to you and your son, and sorry to have been involved in what must have been a traumatic event for him. ""Accidents happen at normal stoplights, too, when people aren't paying attention and run into the back of somebody," Mayor John Hieftje said in response to Burgess' story." I'm sure incidents like this happen at intersections too, but in 40 years of driving, I have never witnessed it. In contrast, this just happened to occur the first or second time I stopped for a pedestrian under the new law. Perhaps it's just coincidence… I'd also like to make clear that my objections to this law are not from lack of support for non-motorist safety and convenience. My wife and I have been avid bicyclists, and have cycled all the way across the state, so we're quite familiar with the potential danger posed by motor vehicles. We support, in principle, laws which contribute to non-motorist safety, but believe this one to be outright confusing and dangerous. Honestly, in the hundreds of times I've seen people jaywalking across Stadium, I've never encountered an incident this dangerous. Can we at least come up with a law which is safer than jaywalking? David Burgess
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.
Voters are reviewing their options and looking forward to the next Council election!! Family members of those who voted for this HORRIBLE ABUSE OF POWER AND COMMON SENSE ordinance will be the losers, since soon to be former Council Members will be spending more time at home every month. ....maybe they can use their open evenigns to take classes in traffic engineering, a subject that they clearly know nothing about but feel compelled to dabble in at the peril of Ann Arbor drivers and pedestrians.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.
Headline: "Ann Arbor officials say they're listening to concerns about pedestrian safety ordinance" From the article: "Ann Arbor officials said... they're not interested in abandoning the new crosswalk law." Nuff said.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.
I don't mind stopping for pedestrians in cross walks, but I do think that "approaching" a cross walk is open to misinterpretation. I would prefer the word "waiting" at a cross walk. This gives motorists a chance to slow and stop without having to be evaluating all pedestrians in sight of the crosswalk. Especially on the 4 lane roads and those with the islands. It really is hard to see whether someone is intending to cross. I have also noticed since this law came into effect, just how many bus stops are right by cross walks
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.
Michigan's motor vehicle code requires motorists to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, of which there are plenty in A2. Unfortunately, our city did nothing to enforce the existing state law, prior to passing its own ordinance. If everybody is ignoring a law that already exists, the answer then is to enforce it properly; not pass a new one. However, Michigan's motor vehicle code allows individual cities and municipalities to pass their own local traffic ordinances. So, the city's ability to pass its pedestrian ordinance is not in question, nor is its ability to establish these "mid-block" crosswalks. The problem is that it does not look like council or planners did the heavy lifting that was necessary, prior to promulgating the ordinance. Councilman Hohnke is correct when he states that we are never done. There is always scope for improvement. However, we are talking about crosswalks in the middle of busy streets, with the potential to cause serious bodily harm, if not death. So, it was incumbent on the city to make sure that adequate safety mechanisms were in place right from the beginning. We could have started with a highly publicized pilot project, observed it for a period of 6 months or so, gathered data, analyzed it, and then developed a plan that would work for our city. The city of Boulder, Colorado, which is often cited here at AA.com as a model, has a 50 page document titled "Pedestrian Crossing Treatment Installation Guidelines", downloadable from their website. Does our city have such a document? What kind of input did council get from city planners and engineers before passing this ordinance? I am afraid that in its eagerness to be viewed as pedestrian-friendly and earn a label for it, the city neglected to do the hard work that was necessary, and most certainly did not dedicate the necessary resources to make the crosswalks work in a safe manner.
say it plain
Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 1:06 a.m.
bingo, spot on analysis Mr. Gopalakrishnan!
Left is Right
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.
Actually, the label we were hoping for was, "City of Fools."
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.
"The idea was if somebody is coming up to a crosswalk, or wants to get into the crosswalk, that we should consider a shift in our community kind of culturally around saying, 'Hey, I'm going to stop,' as opposed to kind of gunning it to get through the crosswalk," Hohnke said. I don't really want to consider cultural shifts when I approach the crosswalk, I really would rather not be rear-ended into or have a car race around me into a pedestrian anyways. Once again for the clueless idealists, there will always be unaware and/or bad drivers, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS. Legislation and hoping for cultural shifts will never change that. Unless this becomes a national thing AND crosswalks are MUCH more clearly and consistently marked, this law makes things worse for pedestrians and drivers alike.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.
If Messr's. Hieftje and Hohnke are so sure this new insane law will eventually be a complete success, I say they offer to fix the damages done by anyone who is hit by someone else when they stop for a pedestrian approaching a crosswalk as well as covering any medical bills accrued as a result of being hit. I mean, c'mon Mr. Mayor, put your money where your mouth is. Secondly, whatever happened to 'stop-look both ways-proceed when it's safe to do so'? Why is it now everybody elses job to ensure the common sense safety of the pedestrian? Finally, I would be all for the HAWK system, but as another poster pointed out already, we don't have monies for that because our wonderful mayor and city council choose to waste Ann Arbors money on a stupid, silly, and unwanted (and ugly...How the heck they can call that art I will never know) water fountain that serves no purpose whatsoever.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.
A lot of people are saying that the law hasn't changed much and it shouldn't affect our driving...I beg to differ. The state law that requires we stop for pedestrians IN the crosswalk allows for traffic to flow and pedestrians to enter when it is safe to cross. Then, yes I have no problem stopping for someone in the crosswalk. The law stating that we stop for pedestrians APPROACHING crosswalks is very different in that cars are supposed to stop when a pedestrian is WAITING. Basically the new law is supposed to keep pedestrians from having to wait, not keep them safer. I don't see at all how it would help with safety because you are jeopardizing your own safety if you step out in front of a moving car...that's just common sense, something many people seem to lack apparently. Another side point is that the signs that I have seen at local crosswalks say that the local law is to stop when pedestrians are IN the crosswalk...very confusing because this is not the law and you will get pulled over and ticketed with points for following what the sign says. I understand the fine, but the fine plus the points is ridiculous. And why is the fine for not wearing a seatbelt $60 when the fine for not stopping at the crosswalk $100? Do they only care about the safety of the pedestrians? (Yes I realize that the fine for seatbelts is not set by A2 city council, it's just a comparison.)
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.
The problem, as noted in the article, is that the law is NOT uniform in the state or nationally. And, as the Mayor noted, maybe half the drivers in the city at any point in time are not residents. Non-uniform laws and enforcement procedures almost always cause problems because visiting drivers have no way to know what to expect. We have the same non-uniform issues with speed limits. Washtenaw County and the State Police Traffic Safety Division believe in using the safest possible 85th percentile posted speed limits, but Ann Arbor resists that procedure. So, when drivers come into the city on a county road or on many state roads, driving at the 85th percentile speed is legal and is the safest speed to travel. As you enter the city, the posted limit on city-controlled streets usually drops below the 20th percentile speed and driving at the 85th percentile speed can get you an expensive ticket for the "crime" of driving safely. Uniformity in laws and enforcement procedures usually gets the safest overall situation. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, <a href="http://www.motorists.org," rel='nofollow'>www.motorists.org,</a> Ann Arbor, MI
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.
My feeling is that this law is useless unless there is a HAWK device where there is not a typical crosswalk at a light. It was a well-meant but poorly implemented process, and because it is different from state law, only encourages confusion and endangers people. It seems that our mayor and the city council like to micro-manage so much, why aren't hey doing something aggressive about the Stadium bridge?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.
Simple solution: Require all pedestrians to wear high-visibility vests/jackets when walking or attempting to cross the street. Ticket those who do not comply. Sell said vests/jackets at city hall, use proceeds from both to fund road repairs and better driver-education programs. Job done.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.
"He said he's interested in seeing if there's a better system for pedestrians to alert motorists when they intend to cross, rather than leaving it up to motorists to assume." How about putting a HAWK signal at all possible crosswalks and eliminating extra crosswalks in areas where there are close intersections to walk to instead? Oh, and how about pedestrians don't risk their life to cross the street...there is always the option of waiting for traffic to clear...duh!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.
agreed...i think they only care about the safety and convenience of those walking. people pro-crosswalk law are arguing that drivers are complaining about being inconvenienced...but it seems that this law was brought about by pedestrians complaining about being inconvenienced by having to wait for cars
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.
A great idea, but if it were implemented, it might make it less convenient for pedestrians to cross the street. It would defeat the purpose of the crosswalk law, which is designed to make it more convenient to walk in Ann Arbor, at the expense of drivers.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.
Cross walks marked only by white stripes and no traffic signals are an invitation to disaster for pedestrians and drivers alike.
say it plain
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.
As some commenters above noted, the penalties--all kidding aside (and knowing that there's NO chance the revenue would get used to fix the roads lol!)--are way too stiff! Sure, continue to enforce the *state* laws that people ought to already know about, and apply a hefty fine and points for people who swerve around stopped cars at a well-marked crosswalk... But some of the crosswalks in this town are *very* poorly marked, and we can't expect drivers to know that Ann Arbor is special in yet another way--we require drivers to stop not only for folks *in* the crosswalk but also *approaching*! Two points on one's driver's license is a deep penalty that will cost people more than the ticketing-fine, and seems so terribly unfair... especially since adherence to this 'special' law might actually cause the unintended consequence of *reduced* pedestrian safety!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.
To paraphrase Rodney King, could we all just use some common sense here? (Or do we need to impose a Common Sense Rule ?) I've been a pedestrian and driver in A2 for over 40 years. What in the world has kept me alive when I've been walking, and kept me from hitting a pedestrian with my car for all this time? The simple truth is that drivers and pedestrians everywhere have responsibilities to be aware and alert, and I believe we all know this. Is it really possible to regulate common sense, decency and politeness? Having the big crosswalks downtown, where cars must stop for pedestrians standing on the curb, is fine -- it promotes a walkable downtown and helps to support merchants. But downtown streets are not the same as main arteries around town, where a lot of traffic travels at higher speeds. I'm a left-leaning liberal too, but I don't understand why City Council didn't have the foresight to predict the results of this ordinance on busy streets like Plymouth Rd. and Stadium. THINK! And now more time and money will be wasted on figuring out how to fix (or abandon) this ordinance, going to court when it's challenged, and possibly fighting a lawsuit resulting from an accident. Gee, Thanks for making us all feel safer! Now don't you have anything better to do?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.
This silly ordinance has only served to confuse motorists and embolden pedestrians downtown. I can't count how many times I have seen people cross against the light and crosswalk signal, thinking THEY have the right of way.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.
Let's remember to include bicycists in the mix of enforcement. I notice Ms. Briggs ignored the many comments about bicyclists in the comment sections over the past few weeks. If the bike is in the roadway, it is supposed to obey the same traffic signals cars do. Stop signs are a traffic signal. Also, those AATA bus stops that are located at crosswalks are a real boon to clarifying if someone wants to cross or is waiting for the bus. The most valid statement is that half of the driver's in Ann Arbor at a given time are not from here. And rules that are put in place even though the sponsor of the rules had doubts about some of the issues that were going to arise makes one pause.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.
Unless there is a state law, changing behavior for locals isn't going to work. As Chief of police Jones as indicated. Though once more, Lord Mayor thinks otherwise. As many have said that this would lead to rear end accidents. Unlike a stop light where it's visible up high, a motorist has been trained through state driving requirements to focus their attention ahead of the road. With these ped-stands, if a driver all of a sudden stops, the driver behind him is not looking for this to occur. But, who are we but sheep in this folly of city leaders who think they know best more than the motoring public. Vote this guy out.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.
I have no problem with letting pedestrians cross the street, safely, in a crosswalk. In fact, I would be more than happy to stop every time I saw someone approaching a crosswalk (as the law states I should), but sadly, there are other vehicles on the road. These vehicles are being operated by people who, often enough, drive poorly maintained cars, and do so in a careless fashion. How often to accidents occur at places other than pedestrian crossings, because a driver was too busy eating, sending a text message, reading a book, applying makeup, shaving, etc? In many of the other comments, several people have told anecdotes about other places they've been/lived, where pedestrians can cross safely, and drivers don't live in fear of getting rear-ended when stopping for them. These places probably have more stringent licensing requirements, stiffer penalties for not operating ones vehicle correctly, and are generally populated with better drivers than can be found in this area. The solution is better drivers, not colored flags, flashing lights, or any other hare-brained scheme the city council comes up with. Stay alert and focused on the road.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.
Just last my week my husband was nearly rear-ended while obeying this so called ordinance at Third and Huron. Face it Heiftje and Hohnke it was a dumb idea and simply isn't working. Or are you waiting for personal injury, fatality, and/ore a law suit to convince you? Oh wait, I know, you are waiting for "global education" on the matter while local pedestrians and drivers risk their lives. Can you hear your self? Well city council it's time to "Man-Up" set your egos aside and admit you made a mistake. After all, you make a lot of them you should be used to it by now. Case in point, check out the many blighted houses on Nort Main Street. You cant miss them with all the gang sign grafiti and orange netting around them. This eyesore and haven for crime is courtesy of Three Oaks developers and their Avalon partners located right in a primary gateway to the city. Council must be so proud when they drive by on their way to meetings. City council approved this giant PUD against the advise of staff and the neighborhood. Nice move, how's that working for you? Where is the story on that fiasco annarbor.com?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.
The motorists are right. 4000# at speed sez so. Run 'em down & let god sort it out. And the hawk is not the entire answer. There was a rear-end accident there last week.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.
As I was driving down Geddes the other day, a young lady jogging out of the Arb, ran right into the street without looking and almost ran right into the side of the van in front of me. She stopped in the nick of time and jumped back on the curb. Pedestrians need to take some responsibility for their actions as well as drivers!!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.
the city is not greater than the state. The STATE should make all traffic laws. The state is the one that sets the standards for drivers licenses. Anyone that doesn't live here will not know about this ordinance. I myself, have also nearly been rear ended several times, I find myself now stopping at more than a full length of my car just incase I am rearended so I (hopefully) won't be pushed over someone using the cross walk. ALSO, even if I stop the other lanes (in either direction) don't always stop and more often do not. If it totally seems unsafe for me to stop I do not but I can see in my rearview mirror that no one behind me stops for at least another 5 cars anyway. as a pedestrian in this town I have crossed at a intersection where there was a walk sign for me and been nearly run over by people turning right or left even when I look to see if I am seen. Or they turn nearly on my toes or my heels. As for how I fair at crosswalks that don't have signals, I have taken to raising my arm up so people know. This works best for me and I have good results with cars stopping in a reasonable timeframe. I then cross safely as drivers know my intentions without having to guess. A person raising thier arm gets more attention and just reminds drivers without anyone getting the finger (or hit by a car). This city should enforce the JAYWALKING ordinance. While jaywalking on a side street isn't an issue it is a big issue around campus.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.
"...but police can ticket pedestrians who cause a dangerous situation by stepping in front of a moving vehicle." This is the answer to the city's financial woes. Just police State St between William and South U.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.
In this day of soaring obesity rates, I am proud to live in a city that values the importance of walking, running and cycling. I applaud Councilman Hohnke, Mayor Heifje, and Erica Briggs for their work in making these activities safer for our community. With patience, awareness and education, hopefully Ann Arbor will progress and become more like the cities of Boulder, Salt Lake City, and many other cities that are friendlier to pedestrians. It only takes a few seconds for a motorist to stop and let a pedestrian cross...safely!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3 p.m.
It's not the *intention* of the law being criticized here. It's the *actual results* of its implementation. This law makes pedestrians and motorists less safe. That should not be applauded.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.
One of my biggest concerns for this new law was one, getting rear ended, and two, some arrogant pedestrians that don't even look when they cross now. Both these concerns are coming true.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.
I learned to drive in Michigan and I've always known that you should stop for pedestrians IN crosswalks and I've always done that. It's not hard to see a person at the end of or in a crosswalk and stop for them. Unfortunately, I think that this new law has created a "pedestrian abuse" opportunity. I recently was driving down Pauline at posted speed. A jogger was running on the sidewalk coming toward me. I was approaching the cross-walk and was no longer within a safe stopping distance when he suddenly made a quick left and without looking he dashed out into the crosswalk running right in front of my car. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him. If he had done this anyplace else he would have been at fault, but because he was suddenly in the crosswalk, I would have been at fault. There was also a police car sitting on Pauline not too far away, so this felt like an entrapment activity on the part of the police. Are they so hard up for funds that they have to create pedestrian accidents in order to fine drivers? Seriously, there needs to be a safe stopping distance requirement on this law that pedestrians must observe before stepping out into the street. To assume that you can step into the street anytime you want without regard to how close cars are is insane! Cars need time and distance to stop. A crosswalk painted on the street will not protect you if you run out in front of moving traffic. Pedestrians need to use some common sense and give cars time to stop- that means waiting until those closest to you have passed and letting those a little farther away see you and come to a safe stop. Maybe we need some additional street markings- if a car is within the marks, don't step into the crosswalk. I'm sure there is a way to make this work, but it should require responsible action on the part of both the pedestrian and the driver.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.
Our 12 year old son was the young boy trying to cross Stadium Boulevard in this story. I want to thank Mr. Burgess for stopping for him. Thank you! As he left our driveway that afternoon, I yelled after him, "Use the crosswalk on Stadium!" I was picturing the well-marked, light controlled crosswalk at Arbordale, not the less equipped one in the middle of the block. I am not an expert on traffic flow or pedestrian safely, so I can't really comment on the appropriateness of this law as a whole. But if the city intends to keep it, they really need to QUICKLY assess and QUICKLY correct the markings and equipment at crosswalks over high traffic four lane roads (like Stadium and Plymouth). People drive fast on these roads and view them as thoroughfares. Someone is going to get hurt. Thankfully, I didn't hear emergency sirens a block away from my house minutes after my son went to the hardware store, but it was a close shave. Please address this for everyone's sake. Tammy Koupal
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.
I'm so glad you commented, I was very worried about the boy after reading this article. Thank goodness that he is ok!!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.
"Hohnke said situations like what Burgess experienced are bound to happen as the community gradually adapts to the new law. " .....And the people killed and rear-ended during the "period of adjustment" or by the unaware out-of-towners/tourists that are consistently courted by city officials, are acceptable collateral damage?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.
We laughed about a situation that happened to us last week while attempting to cross Washtenaw at Platt. We were at the obviously marked pedestrian crossing and trying to cross when a police car zoomed past us - hmmmm - we wondered if perhaps he didn't see us because he was texting :)
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.
Congrats, Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition! Your dumb ordinance is already causing really bad results. AnnArbor.com, can you find out how many rear-end accidents near crosswalks have happened recently?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.
Causing the initial vehicle to stop too suddenly for the following car to stop in time.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.
There has been more than one. Check the occurrence at side streets as well as just within busy roadways. Most of these involve secondary cars that can not see what the car in front is suddenly stopping for. Other times, parked vehicles obscure the pedestrian from view until the last minute.
Ryan J. Stanton
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.
I'm trying to find out right now and have a FOIA in to the city. I've heard only anecdotally that there may have been one on Plymouth Road a couple weeks ago, but haven't confirmed that yet.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.
Having shared crosswalks with drivers who are testing their ability to come close to without actually hitting pedestrians, I can assure you that it is difficult and sometimes dangerous to walk in this city. That holds at signaled crosswalks as well where I've often seen drivers pushing through while walkers are crossing legally. But the city has addressed the problem with a flawed ordinance that actually makes it less safe to cross some streets. Instead of pouring more energy into tweaking the ordinance, I would prefer to see the city increase the visibility of crosswalks from a distance, eliminate confusing signs around crosswalks (the proliferation of traffic signs in some places actually hinders my ability to see pedestrians approaching a crosswalk), and working on warning drivers that they are approaching crosswalks. The HAWK light is great but not an alternative we can turn to for every crossing in budget-limited times. What about maintaining the paint marking the crosswalks, installing rumble strips on the approaches to some crosswalks on higher speed roads, or employing flashing LED lights embedded in the road that are used in some places? As an aside, I'm sure buckets of flags work really well in Salt Lake City, which is an orderly, beautiful and well-mannered city. There are some profound differences between Ann Arbor and Salt Lake City that make me doubt whether that idea would work well here though.
Not a valid excuse for a newspaper
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.
What? No jaywalking law in Ann Arbor? Well that explains a lot.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.
I feel so sorry for all the drivers that have to pay attention to their surroundings while operating a 4000 pound vehicle. If people just took a chill pill while driving, obeyed the speed limits, and realized that stopping for 15-30 seconds every so often wasn't going to make them late to get to the mall, there would be no issue with stopping for a pedestrian at cross walks. I think some of you complaining need to start walking more. Its a very relaxing thing to do, and maybe you'll be less uptight and stressed. One of the factors rated for quality of life of a city is its walkability. Take advantage of what we have here. As a pedestrian, I have never blindly walked into a crosswalk without first making sure all traffic has stopped, and I've never witnessed anyone other than arrogant students purposely do so. I've also lived in Salt Lake City, and as silly as the orange flags sound, dammit people stopped for me. As a driver, I also hate the bus stops that are right at the crosswalk, but it only takes a couple of seconds to figure out whether that person is waiting for a bus or waiting to cross. I don't get worked up about it and fear getting a ticket.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.
Um, GerryD, go back and re-read "What Every Driver Must Know." It's on the Secretary of State website. You were always supposed to be scanning the sidewalks, curb cuts, etc. Just goes to show that getting and keeping a driver's license in Michigan is *way* too easy.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.
Your obvious sarcasm aside, you should feel sorry - or at least concerned. Drivers now have to be continually scanning not only the road in front of them, but the sidewalks, curb cuts, etc. And not just scanning, but having to divine the intent of those standing near the crosswalks (which is difficult standing still). That gives them a lot less mental resources to pilot their "4000 pound vehicle", regardless of speed. And whenever something takes away drivers focus, accidents rise. This is ridiculous law, one that 1/2 the commuters (out of towners) daily have no idea even exists and will eventually result in accidents and/or harm to pedestrians and drivers alike. If they are going to insist on it, all xwalks need signage (those big yellow signs with pictures of walkers and arrows, like at some walks now) and/or those flags (which I see in Massachusetts too and seem effective). Ann Arbor just wanted to pass a poorly thought out plan and put no money into making it work (but take money out in overly zealous driver penalties -- 2 points?)
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.
Absolutely NOTHING is ever done to "foster" similar behavioral sanctions on the other road "sharers" in Ann Arbor. Every year the city is up for yet another Bronze/Silver/Gold "Bicycle Friendly City" award ... but the fact that the League of American Bicyclists requires REQUIRES enforcement of traffic laws applied to cyclists matters not at all in Ann Arbor. ONLY IN ANN ARBOR can cyclists and pedestrians consistently violate local laws, while only MOTORISTS receive the punishments. Equal enforcement NOW!!! Vote out the WBWC from City Council!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.
You think the WBWC is on City Council???
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.
As a student at U of M and former employee of Wayne County Traffic Department, this new "pedestrian safety" regulation that requires cars to stop at all crosswalks if a pedestrian is approaching means well, but is creating more of a hazard than there was before. This regulation makes as much sense as residents who want stop signs put up or lower speed limits. The majority of the time, these stop signs and lower speeds are what we call "unwarranted" in the traffic engineering world. Therefore, if a stop sign is erected, a speed limit is lowered or a regulation is enforced that the public, as a whole, believes is unwarranted, then they will not abide by the law. It's as simple as that and in fact, statistics show that more injuries and fatal accidents occur when "unwarranted" stop signs and speed limits are posted, so why would it be any different for this new regulation? This is the main reason traffic studies and speed surveys are required. I feel very much less safe crossing the street now walking all around Ann Arbor, not just near campus. Maybe more foot traffic surveys should be done as well. That seems like the more logical approach to solving the problem at hand rather than enforcing an "unwarranted" pedestrian safety law that will cause more harm than good. I'm looking out for the drivers AND pedestrians here.
Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.
When did I accuse your engineering department of not doing the work? I believe I said that MORE foot traffic surveys (aka engineering studies on crosswalks) should be done, not that they weren't done. I was an 18 year old co-op engineering student at the time I worked there and I shared what I learned. By the way, never had to make the coffee. I generated the solid-state timing permits for crosswalks and traffic signals. I was under the best of the best supervision and worked with very knowledgeable traffic engineers who always praised my ability to catch on so quickly to what they were teaching me, but that's besides the point here because... I wasn't using "unwarranted" as a technical term here hence the quotation marks, so instead of attacking my knowledge on the subject, why don't you learn how to comprehend when you read something? You must not know what a simile or the purpose of an example is.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.
As a former employee of the Wayne County Traffic Department, you should have a much better idea of what "warranted" means. There are warrants for signals and signs. The crosswalks require either an engineering study, or have to be at an existing intersection and use good engineering judgement. Our engineering department has done the necessary work. What exactly did you do at WC DPS, make the coffee? Here's the Michigan MUTCD: <a href="http://mdotwas1.mdot.state.mi.us/public/tands/Details_Web/mmutcdsupplement.pdf" rel='nofollow'>http://mdotwas1.mdot.state.mi.us/public/tands/Details_Web/mmutcdsupplement.pdf</a>. Why don't you go through it and not just pretend to know what you're talking about?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.
A lot of people in this thread are making a strong safety argument for "road diets", where two lanes are reduced to one in the interest of pedestrian safety. The added bonus is more room for bikes.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.
How about warning signs leading into town at the major entry points? And, increase the fine: "Stop for pedestrian approaching crosswalk or $500 fine" State st Main st Washtenaw Arbor-Saline Maple & Miller Make the signs artistic and we can take the money from the art fund. Otherwise they're just going to spend it all at their city hall palace.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2 p.m.
Many people seem very confused about the state law. The state already already requires you to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Ann Arbor just expands this to include the area up on the curb. Pedestrians no longer must step into traffic to be recognized.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.
Ron, no it doesn't. Look up the law and see for yourself. There is a state law for traffic-signal controlled crosswalks, but not for crosswalks at other locations. There is a law that requires compliance with traffic control devices, and these crosswalks *are* traffic control devices. All of this would be a lot easier if Michigan were to pass the Uniform Vehicle Code model crosswalk law, but then again, that's basically just the ordinance from the Michigan Uniform Traffic Code. Basically, motorists in Michigan have taught themselves that pedestrians should always wait for motorists, and motorists don't want to give up that privilege.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.
""Anytime when you're going through change in traffic engineering and traffic policy, there's greater vulnerability to unintended consequences," he said. "You see the same thing when you put up stop signs at four-way intersections that used to have yield signs."" Translation: Sometimes you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet. Its pretty unfortunate the eggs they are thinking of cracking are metal, plastic, and maybe bones. ""I don't remember where the young boy was at that moment, but if I had been rear-ended when he was in front of me, I would have been pushed into him," Burgess said." This is exactly the scenario i pointed out the last time I commented on this ridiculous law. Based on the A2.com poll results it looks pretty unanimous so far that they should get rid of this law altogether, so if they are really listening they should get rid of it. Or are they not listening to their constituents and maybe just listening to themselves.
say it plain
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.
I think the law is a way to distract us from noticing how potholed the roads are lol... You find yourself scanning all the crosswalks-- half of which are at busstops so it takes extra mental energy to try and decide whether the pedestrian is waiting for a bus, or waiting to cross--so that you have less attentional capacity left for considering the horrific state of the roads! Could we pour the ticket-money from crosswalk violations into the road repair bucket? Pretty please?!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.
and then when you do hit a pothole you are now freaked out that maybe it was a pedestrian you didnt stop for
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.
On roads like Plymouth or others where the speed limit is over 35 they should consider a pedestrian overpass. this would allow a pedestrian to cross over the traffic without having to worry if someone will stop.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.
Since a majority of people think that we should get rid of this law, will our elected officials respect our wishes? It does not sound like, I guess the "RULING CLASS" knows what is best for us! Please vote in November and remember that this city has been ruled by ONE PARTY! Think before you VOTE!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.
I don't know about most pedestrians but I know that when I'm crossing a street I wait for it be clear before I cross....so why change that. I'm not going to risk my life relying on the fact that just because there are white lines painted on the road people are actually going to stop and let me cross. If theres a crossing that is just too busy to ever allow pedestrians to cross than they should put up a HAWK light such as the one on Huron and Third. I can cross at Liberty and Crest just fine...I may have to wait a few minutes but I'd rather make it to the other side of the street alive by using my own discretion than that of someone behind the wheel of a motored vehicle.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.
Maybe some signs that state, "Stop for pedestrians", might be helpful? Also, in our town full of jaywalkers, who create their own crosswalks, drivers tend to maintain momentum, especially around campus. Is there an effort at the University to educate pedestrians about their responsibilities?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.
On a high-speed, multi-lane roadway, as a pedestrian, there's simply NO WAY I'm going to step out into a crosswalk until I can see a break in traffic where I can safely cross (just as I would have in the sane old days) OR until cars in all lanes have already come to a complete stop and all the cars behind THEM are clearly slowing. Which means, one car is going to stop for me, and I'm still going to stand there, and the driver of the stopped car is going to wave me to go, and I'm not going to budge. This is simply NOT going to work. On slow-speed, two-lane roads -- fine, it's OK. On high-speed and 4-lane roads it's idiotic and dangerous. But our pig-headed council isn't going to change it until we have somebody get killed (near misses clearly aren't enough).
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.
and even if someone gets killed, they may just view that as part of the transition period
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.
I don't feel the need to point out the safety issues with this law, as it seems that most people are in agreement about that. To those people who would rather risk getting rear ended than ticketed, would you still feel that way if you had children in the car with you and were 8 months pregnant with twins? That is my dilemma - risk hurting my babies or break the law. I don't think I should be being put in that position. I'm avoiding these roads now so I don't have to make that decision. That being said, I would never expect a car to stop for me as a pedestrian on a busy road. However, what is the excuse for not stopping at the smaller crosswalks on two-way streets? The crosswalk in front of Northside Elementary on Barton is particularly difficult to cross - nobody will stop unless it's for the crossing guard. I've seen more people stop at the dangerous Plymouth Road crosswalks than at that one. Figure that one out!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.
Plymouth Rd and Stadium have a lot of out of town traffic and are busy most of the time. I've almost been hit stopping on Plymoth Rd several times. Why can't pedestrians just walk down a little ways and cross at the light ?
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.
KeepingItReal - eliminate what altogether? Pedestrians? Crosswalks? Right.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.
Why don't you try getting out of your car for a month and walking their route? It looks like a little ways from the cushy seat of your climate-controlled car, but if you're walking it, it isn't a little ways at all.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.
A better question would be to eliminate them altogether. I've seen school kids on their bikes trying to cross at Plymouth Road. I've seen senior citizens, foreigners people caring groceries trying to use cross walk. It's an accident waiting to happen.. either car on car or a pedestrian being hit by a car. I'm also interested in getting rid of Heifjte and Honke. Both are completely tone deaf when it comes to listening to the citizens. I will support any campaign to defeat them in the next election.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.
As usual, council knows its an unsafe law, may think about tweaking it, but their minds are made up, do not confuse them with facts or reality, they want the law, like it and therefore, irregardless of what the taxpaying public wants or how unsafe it may be, it will remain.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.
As long as we're passing ordinances to safeguard pedestrian safety ... I move that we also legislate tickets for pedestrians AND cyclists wearing headphones/earbuds. If you can't hear what's going on around you, you're a hazard to everyone you're sharing the road with. What good is it for me, as a cyclist, to announce "On your left," if the person I'm passing can't hear me? There oughta be a LAW!!!!!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.
What if I am deaf and can't hear you speeding towards me from the back? Yelling "on your left" will not work. Side walks are called walks because they should only be used for walking. Not bike riding.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.
I am completely over reading about a citizen concern and then reading the responses ala Hieftje and Hohnke & Co. ..... you can get back ended at a stop light, too ....... these things will happen...... . The only acceptable response here is: We are listening and we hear what you are saying. We will get on it ASAP. Wake up Ann Arbor - Our elected officials are not interested in what we think. Please elect ANYONE coming elections. Just not the same old politicians with same worn out disregard for public opinion.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:58 p.m.
One of the dumbest crosswalks has to be the one on W. Liberty where there also happens to be a bus stop at the same spot. Do you risk getting a ticket and blow through it or do you stop for a couple people who are just waiting for the bus to arrive?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.
Ask the mayor or any of city council what they would do.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.
I have a really hard time with this as I frequently drive both Plymouth Rd and Nixon Rd which are both full of crosswalks. The problem I have is that they are all marked in different ways, some have crossing lights and some don't, and some are on divided roadways making even more places to have to check for people. I understand and appreciate the spirit of the law but I just can't get over the actual implementation for drivers. I find I spend most of my time trying to identify each crosswalk (don't want to miss one inadvertently), checking to see if it has a walk/don't walk/hawk light, checking to see if there are people near it (oh, nope - that guy is waiting for the bus stop adjacent to the crosswalk), and then checking traffic to see if I can stop without getting rear-ended. especially in the early morning hours when It is dark or starting to get light out it is difficult to see pedestrians waiting off on the sidewalk. Plus how do we treat bikes that want to be on the sidewalk and use the crosswalks? This law forces drivers to take their eyes off the road and endangers both drivers and pedestrians. For those intersections where pedestrians are truly having a difficulty crossing then the city should consider a light.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.
We are now teaching our school children that its ok to simply walk into the road without looking. The only way this law would be ok, would be if they take the 'local ordinance' stop signs that I've seen at some of the cross walks in town and put them at every cross walk in town.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.
Um, Atticus, maybe you should try harder to emulate your namesake. And we have *always* taught motorists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks too. Did you miss that lesson?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.
"We are teaching kid that it's ok to walk into the street, and that traffic is supposed to stop." Um, no. We are teaching everyone that cars aren't the only ones that have the right of way. At least that's what I'm doing. My kids (who will be drivers someday too) are going to learn that you *can* cross at a crosswalk when cars are stopped. And that cars should stop. It's about shared responsibility.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.
grye, the point is that this law goes against the safety precautions that we have been taught since the birth of the car. I get the sense that some people can't see this because they expect every person to live their lives as they do... The small, loud, angry minority in this city take public transpotation, live in 350k homes on the west side, and walk to work, and they expect every other person to live exactly as they do. This is the same basic, self centered intolerance that has raised it's ugly head since the begining of time.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.
Get real. The law states that the pedestrian shall not enter the crosswalk in the event a car cannot reasonably stop. No one with a right sense of mind would do this anyway. Maybe those with a left sense of mind would.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.
Barb, that's happening. We are teaching kid that it's ok to walk into the street, and that traffic is supposed to stop. For safety reasons we have been teaching out children to stop, look both ways, and then cross if no traffic is around since the automobile was invented...Now in a fit of political corectness, selfishness, and anger at people who do not walk or take public transpotation, we are now rewriting the rules.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.
"We are now teaching our school children that its ok to simply walk into the road without looking." Wait, what?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.
A few days after this ordinance passed a police office blew through a crosswalk that I was waiting to enter with my dog. That says a lot about the Ann Arbor police and the new law.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.
So, are they now going to adapt a law to keep the people away from the sidewalk areas at or near the crosswalks? I've stopped more than five times now for people "who look like they're approaching" only to find out after I've set their 10 seconds waiting, that they are merely just hanging out talking. Ridiculous ! I didn't realize we had such an over blown amount of pedestrian fatalities in the city. Maybe they should try and teach the students and walkers alike to either go to an attenuated intersection or don't just blindly step off the curb because you have your perceived entitlements.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.
Our mayor and city council have agreed that pedestrians have entitlements and are very special.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.
Look at the photo, see that traffic light about 100-150 yards up the road? Probably a better place to cross.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:19 p.m.
You feel free to walk to the light. I'll use the crosswalk, thanks.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.
You're being to rational.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.
Is it possible that part of the reason our "leaders" put all the onus on drivers is because most pedestrians would be too hard to train to cross the street!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.
If you are going to keep this dangerous local ordinance then don't forget to spend some time and effort teaching the pedestrians how to use this system safely. I was on Liberty near Virginia and it's a pretty simple two lane road and everyone was stopped and all the kids didn't have a clue what to do and everyone was waving at each other etc etc. Ya'll need to teach your kids how to cross the road, and how to use this new system, and that includes teaching them to be aware and defensive if need be in case there is a collision nor something like what happened recently on Washtenaw.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.
Wouldn't a near miss actually be a hit? So he did get struck?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.
"Our ears are open and listening to the feedback and you may just see us bring this up and give it a few tweaks at some point," he said. "And I don't think the police are anxious to go out and ticket a lot of people — maybe just enough to raise awareness." The best feedback should be given at the election in November. It's time the people of Ann Arbor "tweak" the City Council.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.
Yup, mobs agreeing with you there. See, others can do sarcasm too.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.
I'm sure we will, but don't expect a major change. We already mostly have the best people for the job, and they're doing a pretty good job, at that. It's going to be pretty frustrating to a lot of the commenters here when we vote the incumbents back in because they're doing such a good job.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.
Pedestrian crosswalks at the EXIT from roundabouts seem to me to be a big problem. I have seen exiting traffic back up INTO the roundabout at Huron Parkway/Green Road, creating a hazardous situation for all concerned-especially vehicles entering the roundabout.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.
How dare you interrupt a perfectly good rant with a relevant fact?!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.
Huron Parkway and Green Road don't intersect.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.
I don't live in this community. And, I don't care who wins what election. But, this law is ridiculous. There was a possible incident in town where a car stopped at a crosswalk to let a pedestrian cross. (Plymouth rd?) The car in the next lane stopped, also. (it was a 4 lane road, two lanes in each direction, with an "island" between the sets of two lanes) However, a 3rd car drove between the two stopped cars at full speed, and sped through, almost hitting the pedestrian. From what I understand, the passenger side view mirror of the car in the left lane was knocked off and the side of the car was scratched. For the driver of the car who sped through, there is no way he or she didn't know that the two other cars were stopped for a pedestrian. Everything was clearly marked. It's more than possible that the person drove through knowing exactly what the consequences could be. Some will knowingly break this law. Why are we risking life and limb? I find it interesting how politicians try to tell everyone what is good for them. We'll "get use to it," they say. (or don't they mean, "relax and enjoy it?") You guys are real pieces of work. If they care so much about pedestrians, why don't they provide safer pedestrian crossings for the places that actually need them, like pedestrian bridges or crosswalk signals (red light for the vehicles) for busy roads or near schools? I think that they don't care about pedestrians any more than anyone else. But, in order to appear like they are caring people, which they think will help them get re-elected, they're looking for something that will not cost too much $ up front. Consequently, they clearly care nothing about the "back end" cost when someone is injured or killed. They will say, "it's your own fault," "you should've gotten use to it." I think that money should be spent on something that makes sense, not something that creates new problems, later on, of which the
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 3:57 a.m.
That is a truely horrifying story to tell. I've seen some pretty stupid driving, and yes, I've done some, I'll admit, but that has to take the case. I can see a motorcyclist doing it as it is smaller...but how was there enough space for a car to drive between two? I'm glad no one was hurt. I can only think that time and space shifted a bit for a few seconds. Was it the Knights Buss from Harry Potter?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.
They like pedestrians and those that ride bikes. They do not like those that drive cars. Oh, did I tell you that they like art?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.
We need an ordinance that bans the mayor and all of city council from spending any money or making any decisions.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.
I have had people J walk. Some people really think it applies to crossing any where now. Many people are going to get hurt (worse get killed) by this law!!! Other times, when the sun is just right or a foggy day, a driver might not see a person walking. This law is very dangerous for pedestrians!!!!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.
So if I stop for the pedestrian and I get rear ended - do I get the ticket for causing the accident? Who pays MY repair bill? If I'm in another city/state that doesn't have this law, and I stop, do I get ticketed then? I think this is a good law, but it's got a lot of flaws that could be deadly.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.
Anytime someone rear-ends someone else, the fault is theirs. You are always supposed to be driving at a "prudent" distance when you are behind someone, so even if they stopped unexpectedly in the middle of the street for no discernable reason, you are supposed to leave yourself time to stop. Seems like a lot of drivers here in MI just ignore the driving laws in general.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.
KJMClark: Stopping for a traffic signal that (hopefully) everyone can see is a bit different than stopping for a pedestrian approaching a crosswalk, which everyone might not be aware of. Everyone knows that focusing on operating the car they're driving comes in a distant second-place for a lot of the drivers on the road. Having been rear-ended at ordinary traffic lights on several occasions, I'd say the likelihood of the scenario you describe is considerably lower than getting rear-ended while trying to follow a poorly-written law.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.
Tina, stopping for a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk is already the law in all the other states and in most Michigan cities, villages, and townships. The only difference is the "approaching" clause. It's just that in Michigan, the laws have been ignored for so long that motorists have convinced themselves that crosswalks mean something different. Danny, if you stop for a yellow light turning to red, and the motorist behind you doesn't stop like they're supposed to, you're in the same boat. So are you saying you should be allowed to blow through a yellow or red because there's a moving vehicle behind you that might hit you if you stop?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.
So when I stop and get rear ended, the other driver gets a ticket, the pedestrian laughs at the accident and continues on their merry way, and I, the person who did everything right, am without my car for a week while it's being repaired. Sounds like a wonderful ordinance - people are punished for following it.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.
Tina, the person behind you would get a ticket for failure to yeild. Even if you slamed on your brakes for no reason in the middle of rush hour traffic, the person behind you has a responsibility to stop.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.
I stopped for a young boy on a bike last week trying to cross Geddes in a cross walk. Almost got rear-ended, then got honked at angrily. Boy couldn't cross because on-coming traffic did not stop. I waited until finally oncoming traffic cleared enough that he could cross. The cars behind me sped past me at the first chance in a very unsafe manner. Was I supposed to blow off the cross walk, knowing the boy on bike couldn't cross anyway? Wait until traffic, at rush hour, cleared on the other side, and he could cross safely? That's what I did, but I felt in the wrong!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.
You did fine. The others were breaking the law. Atticus - it's legal for cyclists to use a crosswalk, but they don't have the same rights in a crosswalk as pedestrians.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.
Was he riding his bike, or walking with his bike? Bike riders are not allowed to go riding through a cross walk the same way pedestrians are.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.
I don't understand: people can't (or won't) obey the ordinance, and judging from the wild-eyed responses here, it seems drivers find it annoying (or simply inconvenient), so the solution's simply to scrap it outright? And what's with a handful of you suggesting a modest uptick in pedestrian rights is somehow a political leftist thing? Please. I lived in the UK for two years, where these zebra-stripe pedestrian crosswalks are common and the requirement to stop law. UK drivers were remarkably good at honoring it. The only tweak this ordinance needs is better promulgation.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.
And placing so many of them at bus stops was a stroke of genius.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.
In the UK there is consistency in marking crosswalks. If the pedestrian must wait for a light, there is never a zebra stripe marking. The zebra stripes are reserved for those crossings where the pedestrian has absolute right of way at all times. Not so here. We have no consistent way of marking, so that even at lighted crosswalks, there are zebra stripes. This is confusing and hazardous. If the traffic engineers would get their act together, and advise the lawmakers about rational (not dogma driven) laws, we can have safe and convenient crossings for everyone.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.
I am not annoyed at stopping for people crossing the road. I am annoyed at the stupid placement of a few crosswalks. The one that always comes to mind is the one on Plymouth road. Cars traveling at the speed limit are moving fast and there are a lot of them. Pedestrians crossing seem few and far between so drivers aren't accustomed to seeing them there. The lighted intersections are not THAT far apart. I find the crosswalks downtown seem to get a lot more respect from drivers because they are so frequently used by pedestrians. These crosswalks that are rarely used seem to be the ones with the most problems.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.
The city needs to pass an ordinance requiring everyone to follow all the other ordinances.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.
I just got back from a wedding in Maine, where HIGHWAY 1 goes through the small towns up and town the coast. Semis, trucks, cars, heavy traffic...and every time we stepped up to the crosswalk...the traffic stopped to let us cross. It can be done. Really, this is just a matter of training drivers...to obey the traffic laws. We've all become _way_ too accustomed to simply speeding over crosswalks (usually 5 mph over the speed limit) without a glance. We can add brighter signs, etc...but in the end I suspect drivers will only change their habits with regular enforcement and fines. I vote for a pedestrian-friendly city.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.
Up with our Right to Walk ! Up with licensed drivers' Privilige to Drive ( Responsibly ) !
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.
I saw this exact thing happen on Plymouth last night, and I've seen it happen several times before. The cars in the closest lane stop but the cars in the adjacent lane continue and the only thing that saves the pedestrian is the fact that they look up and stop. I think the majority of the driving public are still uninformed of the rules on crosswalks.
Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.
Believe it or not, drivers do wait. Stop signs, yield signs, red lights, traffic jams, etc.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : noon
Mike, the rules are that the pedestrians *do* have to wait for traffic to clear - everywhere except the crosswalks. For that matter, in the crosswalks, pedestrians have to wait for vehicles that wouldn't have time to stop. But if they're willing to walk to the crosswalk, the first motorist that can safely stop has to stop for them. You're trying to have it both ways. The pedestrians have to wait *everywhere*, and the motorists have to wait *nowhere*. Not acceptable. Besides, the problem that made them change the ordinance most recently was that pedestrians were waiting, and waiting, and waiting; but motorists were just ignoring them. No, not acceptable.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.
And if 2 or 3 pedestrians wander up at the same time, you can all cross together, instead of traffic stopping 4 different times. That will reduce idling time, and help save our planet.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.
Yes! The traffic IS platooned!Which means the pedestrian should never have to wait more than 30 seconds to cross!You've found the answer to the problem!Just look both ways, and cross when clear. Ingenious!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.
aamom - do you realize the distances between signalized crosswalks on Plymouth??? In a lot of those cases, pedestrians would have to walk 10 minutes out of their way, when there's a perfectly good, marked and lit crosswalk, with a pedestrian island, right where they want to cross. Why does it make more sense for pedestrians to walk ten minutes out of their way instead of a few motorists (it's never more than 20 - the traffic is platooned) stopping for 30 seconds?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.
"How much of a hurry are they in?" Same should be asked of the drivers.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.
I have never understood why anyone would cross Plymouth without walking to a light. How much of a hurry are they in?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.
Again, I think the poll misses the point entirely. It is not about whether we can apply a pedestrian safety ordinance, but more about how we can improve our city's existing infrastructure that allows for greater mobility of pedestrians! For example, I don't think any long time Ann Arbor resident will disagree that we had an influx in traffic (automobiles, heavy trucks, buses, motorcyclist, mopeds, bicyclist, and pedestrians) in our fair city, yet our infrastructure; the way people get to and from their destinations has remained stagnant and unchanged since the days of the horse and buggy. One of the reasons I was happy to see A2 Council looking into a monorail or trolley system, is that it which greatly improve our growing traffic issues. Again, the poll fails to take any of this into consideration and unless we want to start tearing down houses and expanding street through downtown, I suggest we seriously consider other options besides passing more ordinances.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.
I find your username "A2_Wookie" a slur against man/ape/dog hybrids. So there.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.
I find your user name 'Ricardo Queso' a slur against Hispanic peoples. Your comment is unsatisfactory in that as this city continues to grow we need to look at infrastructure.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.
Yes, let's spend millions on an urban planners nirvana dream when some common sense from pedestrians would suffice. Just educate the entire state and all problems will be magically solved. Let's begin with the Michigan Avenue and Livernois intersection. Any takers for the 3:00 a.m. shift?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.
It does not take a rocket scientist to realilze this law is going to create more harm than good! Walking in the middle of a busy street is never wise. A smart pedestrian will hopefully, walk to a cross walk with lights since they were created for a reason. I fear driving in Ann Arbor ever since these signs went up since I have precious young children in the back of my car and what happens to them if a SUV rear ends me? I worry for anyone who might be involved in an accident that will be the direct result from this law that makes no sense. What happens in the winter with bad roads? The signs say, "Local Ordinance" well, in a college town- there are many out of town visitors who don't have a clue as to what this means. Sigh..
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : noon
The crosswalk locations need to be intelligently sited. And this includes consideration for traffic flow as well as for pedestrian convenience. Right now, it seems to me, pedestrian convenience trumps everything, and that will lead to a tragedy. On Geddes road near US23 there are pedestrian crosswalks on the exit branches of traffic circles! This is insane, as traffic is conditioned to slow down when entering, but to exit without stopping and backing up traffic in the whole circle. Again, poor engineering, done without thinking through all ramifications.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.
Get rid of the ordinance, the Mayor and the City Council.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.
Wow, are you constructive or what?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.
I'm primarily a pedestrian downtown, and I think it's a stupid law. Without crosswalk signals, such as the "Hawk" Signal we have on Huron past main street, this law just creates more problems than it solves. People still whiz by without waiting, and it's further congesting traffic on roads like North University, which has twice as many crosswalks than intersections. A better solution, for pedestrian safety, is to create pedestrian overpasses, or put signals up at crossings. Of course, neither of those generate revenue for the city.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.
the cross walk signs on liberty st for the most part are covered with overhanging trees and you can't see them until your almost under them. why do they put cross walks and bus stops together? someone didn't give this much thought in my opinion!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.
This is absurd. The reason not to stop at a crosswalk is because the driver behind you doesn't know the law and might rear end you? Should both of you plow into the kid at the crosswalk so nobody gets rear ended? It's the crappy driving - not the crosswalks that are the problem. If Ann Arbor drivers can't understand crosswalks because the concept is so complicated, then put a traffic signal there. I can't imagine they would complain about that. For crying out loud - people want to be able to drive 55 on Washtenaw! Lets face it - anyone in a car thinks they have the right of way. The law just clarifies that you don't. Savvy pedstrians know that having the right of way doesn't help you when a car going even 30 miles an hour so much as grazes you. I have seen lives changed irreperably by these encounters, and children aren't savvy pedestrians yet. A Darwinian approach notwithstanding, t he schools can't afford crossing guards so the kids are at risk even crossing at intersections with Walk and Don't Walk signs. Just slow down and let people cross the damn street. If I have to choose between getting rear ended or killing somebody or letting somebody get killed, I'll take getting rear ended every day. That's right, I just said that.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.
If someone is crossing Washtenaw and can't be bothered to walk to an intersection with a light, I seriously question their judgement. No matter whether people are driving 40 or 55, that is a seriously busy street and should not be crossed unless at an intersection with a light. It's just common sense. Drivers need some, but pedestrians don't seem to have a lot either. Even if they paint the white lines on the road - use your brain. That's a stupid place to cross.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:42 a.m.
Why am I not surprised that Hohnke is the one most behind this idiotic resolution? Resign now, Carsten. You have disgraced council for far too long already with your stupid schemes. Perhaps council should try "listening to concerns" BEFORE they enact moronic traffic laws or anti-development projects. I think it's fair to say this town has a higher than average IQ; it's too bad Hohnke and others on council are so airheaded. One easily solution of the top of my head: the light at 3rd and Huron works great. Install those at some crosswalks and stop pretending it's appropriate to yield to pedestrians at EVERY crosswalk in the city.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.
"clownfish,"--Hohnke had an excellent and capable challenger, but the self-satisfied, "progressive" Boomers of this town view anyone under 40 or so as inherently suspect, no matter how intelligent or distinguished they are personally.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.
Expecting to see your names on the ballot!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.
A bad idea got the support of city council and our mayor. Replace all of them. Better yet, they all quit in shame - wasteful spending and bad ideas. There are many good, qualified people in this city who can take over and lead this city in the right direction.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:41 a.m.
Many times, bus stops and crosswalks are colated. Anyone waiting for the bus looks like they are *approaching* the crosswalk. It's guesswork. At least conventional traffic signals are easy-to-spot and unambiguous. Terrible law.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:40 a.m.
This law should only apply to cross walk that have HAWK signals. Let the law "phase in" as HAWK signals can be installed.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:36 a.m.
The pedestrian crossing islands, shown in the photo are good half way safe points for those who are attempting to cross a busy avenue. The city spent a lot of money installing those at various places throughout the city. Pedestrians need to pay attention to the traffic flow and not attempt to cross at will. Drivers need to pay attention to pedestrains attempting to cross busy streets. It would be best to have pedestrians cross at intersections rather than the middle of a busy street. There are enought traffic lights posted in between intersections where residential streets are that there is no need to have this ordinance.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:34 a.m.
Self preservasion should be number one in any pedestrians mind. This law enables them to feel that their well being is someone else's responsibility. It is only a matter of time before someone is run over at one of these crosswalks and their blood will be solely be on the hands of The Mayor and City Council.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.
Limit the law to crosswalks where the speed limit is 25 mph and then use a HAWK signal for any crosswalks on higher speed roads.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.
No, we are selling the city hall urinal to pay for them, aren't we?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.
That's a great plan. Are you paying for them?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.
That's not a bad thought.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.
A law that encourages pedestrians - in Ann Arbor, mostly students talking on their phone or oblivious to sounds beyond the iPod earbuds - to walk into traffic without looking is a law that is bound to injure more pedestrians than protect them. It's like having a law that says anyone driving into an intersection without their seatbelt on has the right of way; it encourages unsafe behavior that doesn't need encouragement.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.
I watched a car drive around us, as we were stopped behind another car, at a high rate of speed. The law is clearly going to be challenged. Also, waiting on one side of Plymouth Rd as the person crossing is already at the midpoint island (and waiting for that side to stop) is unsafe. Does SLC have college students that steal flags? What if the flags are on the other side? What is the cost to maintain the flag supply? Does the mayor expect businesses to "adopt" a crosswalk like in SLC?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.
Politicians and city officials are doing a bad job when they are attached to the theory of law and disconnected from the actual circumstances of how that law is affecting the lives of people in the real world. How many injuries, accidents, and deaths will it take to make the city and the city police "interested" in considering whether or not the new crosswalk law is practical and safe for our community?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.
Pedestrian safety has always been a concern around Ann Arbor, However this ordinance is making things worse. pedestrians need to take some responsabilty, looking both ways before crossing is the more 'global' accepted practice, I now see people walk out on to the street without even looking many texting. i see people crossing at spots other than the cross walks just step out onto the street. The pedestrian signal on Huron by the YMCA is helpful, but it stays on too long, i've seen numerous people run the red blinking light because no one is around. Look to the city of Brighton on how they handle pedestrian traffic, narrow streets, round abouts that slow traffic, bump out curbs on all street corners so pedestrians can see around the parked cars, cross walks in the road that light up when somone is crossing & turn off when no one is in the road. Large signs in the cross walks alerting drivers that it is a Cross Walk Ann Arbor does need to rethink how pedestrians get around but use common sense and National and Global practice as the guide.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.
Yeah, but the city of Brighton has like 4000 people and a two-block long downtown. Hardly comparable on any level.
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.
During the blinking red phase it is OK to proceed, after stopping, if clear. <a href="http://michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_HAWK20Signal_327859_7.pdf" rel='nofollow'>http://michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_HAWK20Signal_327859_7.pdf</a>
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.
"Ann Arbor officials said this week they're getting lots of feedback from the public and they take all concerns to heart, but they're not interested in abandoning the new crosswalk law." I don't believe they are any taking concerns to heart.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.
Oh a mob comment. Kimclark must not be a fan of people who disagree with their position, like Cantor, Boehner, etc.?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.
Well, you know, they represent Ann Arbor residents, and there's no reason to believe most of these comments are from Ann Arbor residents. Also, over 100,000 people live in Ann Arbor, and you sure can't tell just from comments here what those 100,000 people think. Besides, we have representative Democracy, which means we elect people to do the right thing, which isn't always what the mob wants.
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:48 a.m.
You're right, that certainly isn't what most people would mean by "take all concerns to heart." I guess I have a different understanding of the word, "all."
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:24 a.m.
File this one under "Duh." Once again the more intelligent citizens can look at City Council and say, "We told you so."
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:14 a.m.
I find myself constantly scanning the sidewalks as I'm driving to and from work rather than concentrating on driving. It's a big distraction for drivers and it gives pedestrians a false sense of security. City of Ann Arbor .... please get your head out of the clouds, use your common sense and get rid of this ordinance.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.
"What Every Driver Must Know" says you were always supposed to be scanning the sidewalks, driveways, and cross-streets.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:14 a.m.
us the hawk system if you want it. i said this when it first came out. someone is going to rear end a person for sure. winter is almost here. can you stop in snow. NO! this will kill someone and the city will be sued.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.
snow? try ice. I fell to my knees in a crosswalk last winter. Luckily both cars were already at a dead stop with no cars behind them. If I had tried to sneak across before a car was completely stopped I would have been hit for sure, as if slipping on ice wasn't bad enough. A passanger got out to make sure I was ok and fell herself.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:49 a.m.
You are right. WInter is dangerous enough with people trying to drive and stop for a light with slippery roads. I can only imagine how many pile ups there will be if a person tries to stop in that type of weather. The victim who will be the worst off will be the pedestrian who is not protected inside a car. This law makes no sense. If I was walking, I sure would walk a little further to use to signals just to keep myself and others safe.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:50 a.m.
This is a stupid law and should never have been adopted in the first place. I'm extremely happy that the young lad was a-okay. As mentioned before regarding this law, all individuals drivers and pedestrians alike need to be more responsible and paying attention -- too many are either talking on the phone, listening to ipods, etc. Let's all be safe and aware of our surroundings.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:47 a.m.
"'Anytime when you're going through change in traffic engineering and traffic policy, there's greater vulnerability to unintended consequences,'" City Council did not merely re-engineer traffic, they tried to re-engineer the English language. "Within the crosswalk" now means (in Ann Arbor only) "within and outside of the crosswalk." Redefining common English words will, of course, increase the chance of accidents and injuries even further. As the mayor properly points out, Ann Arbor has drivers from other cities, other states and other countries: this change of English will never be understood by a significant segment of drivers. I'll continue to wait until its actually safe to cross before crossing the street, and not take a chance on someone reading my mind. Remember pedestrians, on two-lane roads (like Plymouth) if the car closest to you stops, the approaching traffic can no longer see you, even if you enter the crosswalk.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:35 a.m.
I hate driving down Plymouth Road anymore. There are so many crosswalks and so few pedestrians. I find myself scanning the sidewalks instead of watching the road because of concern over having to pay a fine. Before this ordinance it was simple; pedestrians just waited until the crosswalk was clear of traffic, now drivers and pedesrians find themselves trying to second guess each other. Get rid of this law!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.
Um, Mike, there's no reason to believe that all of the people voting your comment up are Ann Arbor residents, and there are a lot more than 200-odd residents of Ann Arbor.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.
Only five dissenters and 219 agree with me? Don't our representatives have anything better to do than write a law which basically restates an older law? And for all of you concerned about your carbon footprint and greenhouse gases; the stopping and starting adds much more carbon into the atmosphere hastening our early demise.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.
Right, simple. The hundreds of students living in the apartment buildings across from north campus trying to walk to/from classes several times a day would simply huddle at the side of the road in all weather conditions, day and night, and hope that the unrelenting traffic was at least doing the speed limit so they could accurately time their attempted dash across the street. And drivers could continue to pretend pedestrians didn't exist. Ah, the good old days.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.
KEEPINGITREAL "It seems that because this is their idea that's not working out safely, they are determined to not change their mind." From above article ""We're never done," Hohnke said. "There's always ways to make everything better, so we continue to look at ways to improve education, engineering, enforcement and policy." "He (Heijte) said he's interested in seeing if there's a better system for pedestrians to alert motorists when they intend to cross, rather than leaving it up to motorists to assume." "Despite the concerns, Hieftje said he still believes the pedestrian safety ordinance is appropriate for Ann Arbor, but it may eventually require some tweaking."
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.
So why don't we put a few more stop lights on Plymouth road? I've read how the police can't keep the speeds down, and people just tear down the road.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.
Mike. If you hate driving down Plymouth Road, try crossing at one of these crosswalks especially early in the morning or evening. I predict that someone is going to get seriously injured or killed either through a car accident or being hit by a car. I've seen the police sit right at the corner of one with a pedestrian trying to cross and cars zipped right through without stopping. The Police officer did absolutely nothing. I am really feed up with Heitje and Hohnke cavalier attitude toward this whole matter. It seems that because this is their idea that's not working out safely, they are determined to not change their mind.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.
If you can't watch both the sidewalk and the cars in front of you, you might want to consider one of the many defensive driving schools taught around the state. It sounds like no one ever showed you how to use your mirrors and maintain a safe distance between yourself and other cars. In the meantime, an easy option would be to slow down a bit to give your brain time to process what your eyes are seeing.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.
Driving down Plymouth Road isn't supposed to be fun. It's hell for people trying to get across it on foot, and they have a right to move about, too. You are supposed to be watching for pedestrians, as well as watch the traffic...same as it's always been, only now it's being enforced.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:33 a.m.
"While it's always been the law that motorists must stop for pedestrians already within a crosswalk" And that law has *always* been ignored in SE Michigan. That's the problem. I was born and raised in SE Michigan, and I've been watching people ignore the crosswalks for as long as I can remember. So you want to fix the ordinance. How would *you* word it, to make it clear that the first motorist who can stop for pedestrian waiting to cross, has to stop? You could could re-define crosswalk to include the ramps, but then people would complain that you're redefining crosswalk and it's a bad ordinance. You could say "for a pedestrian waiting to cross the street", and people would say "they weren't waiting that long, and how was I supposed to know they wanted to cross." You could even specify some procedure, like using flags, that a pedestrian is supposed to use, and people would say they shouldn't have to stop for that. Every school day since they published the first article about the enforcement, I've held two flashing lights, one pointed each way, in front of me as I try to cross Pontiac Trail in a marked crosswalk taking my son to the bus stop, or walking back home again. So I'm walking toward the crosswalk, hands pointed toward the crosswalk, with bright flashing lights pointed both ways. Half the time, there's no conflict with traffic. 1/4 of the time, the first motorist stops. 1/4 of the time the motorists ignore the marked crosswalk, the flashing lights, and the fact that I'm already *in* the crosswalk, and blow by. That 1/4 is the problem, and the only thing that will get them to yield to pedestrians is enforcement.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.
OK Goober, but don't expect to get what you want if you're not willing to solve the problem.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.
To KJMClark You missed my point. If the voters truly want this, put up crossing lights and use traffic lights. I am aware that there are guidelines. Thus, many of the make shift pedestrian crossings would be eliminated and pedestrian crossing handled by traffic lights. I have no intent of rewording a bad law with illogical scenarios -all putting pedestrians and drivers in precarious situations. As commenters stated, not even the police can get it right.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.
Goober, here is the Michigan Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices: <a href="http://mdotwas1.mdot.state.mi.us/public/tands/Details_Web/mmutcdsupplement.pdf" rel='nofollow'>http://mdotwas1.mdot.state.mi.us/public/tands/Details_Web/mmutcdsupplement.pdf</a> You want to look at section 4C, "TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNAL NEEDS STUDIES". You can't just put up traffic signals where ever you want. You're dodging the question. The question is, "How would *you* word it, to make it clear that the first motorist who can stop for pedestrian waiting to cross, has to stop?" And with due respect to Ms. Briggs, Ann Arbor *does* have a jaywalking ordinance. It's part of Michigan Uniform Traffic Code, which Ann Arbor has adopted by reference.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.
If this is something that the voters truly want, I would change the law to exclude jay walking, provide pedestrian crossing demand lights on slow MPH roads and on higher speed roads, only provide pedestrian crossing at traffic lights. In my proposal, a light (red in this case) will signal traffic to stop and pedestrians to safely cross.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.
a2comments, Goober - so how would you rewrite the ordinance so that motorists will yield to a person waiting at the curb, on a street *without* bike lanes? So that the first motorist who *could* stop, will "stop and remain stopped if necessary to so yield"? Are you saying you're OK with the enforcement?
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.
A comment containing a personal attack against another commenter has been removed.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:33 a.m.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.
A new ordinance is not needed. The 1/4 that blow by you when you are IN (not approaching) the crosswalk (with lit signals no less) are already in violation of existing law.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:41 a.m.
And to clarify, because someone is going to read it wrong, this section of Pontiac Trail has bike lanes. If I'm standing *in* the bike lane, in the crosswalk, I can stand in the crosswalk without being in the regular traffic lane. So I was *in* the crosswalk, not approaching, when the motorists blew by.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:32 a.m.
"Briggs said the HAWK signal is a wonderful device, but it isn't a financially viable option for every crosswalk. She maintains the pedestrian safety ordinance is needed so people aren't required to step in front of moving vehicles to trigger the need for motorists to stop." This argument is known as a "false choice": either we have HAWK signals at "every crosswalk", or we can't have pedestrian safety. If we were really concerned about maximizing pedestrian safety, we would install signals at the most problematic intersections, and leave the ones that are working well as is. I almost saw a guy splattered yesterday due to the silly/unsafe law. An SUV stopped for him to cross, and a car (who couldn't see through the SUV to know there was a pedestrian there) went around the SUV. Luckily, the guy wasn't hit, but I think if the pedestrian had been one second faster he would have been spending his evening in the emergency room.
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 7:17 a.m.
KJMClark, you seem to think it is ok to let people die or get injured as long as some poor motorist can be blamed for breaking the law. This is not acceptable! It does not matter if a motorist breaks the law, the officials responsible for crafting the law should and do know that this will happen and therefor should not be absolved of blame.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.
No, wrong yourself. Give it some thought. The first motorist stopped for a pedestrian who wanted to cross in a crosswalk. ***Then the pedestrian started to cross in the crosswalk, and was in front of the SUV.*** In the ordinance being adopted in the rest of the state and the state law in the rest of the states, the pedestrian was then in the crosswalk, and the same thing could happen. So the pedestrian was in the marked crosswalk, and both lanes are required to yield. The other motorist would be required to yield everywhere else too. It's not the ordinance, it's the illegal driving.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.
No, wrong. What he saw was the inevitable result of an ill-conceived and poorly thought out law. The second driver couldn't SEE the pedestrian. That's the inconvenient truth. The driver of the second car isn't going to just stop because some car in the next lane is stopped. That is even more absurd. Bad law. Ditch it before somebody get hurt and the city gets sued.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:49 a.m.
"If we were really concerned about maximizing pedestrian safety, we would install signals at the most problematic intersections, and leave the ones that are working well as is." That would be illegal. You can only install signals at intersections that "warrant" them. The way the warrants are written, it's extremely difficult to get a get a signal for pedestrians. The FHWA is supposedly looking at changing those warrants, but Michigan can't seem to decide whether to scrap the MMUTCD or keep it, so it's not clear whether the federal MUTCD applies here anyway. Of course, what you witnessed was one motorist obeying the law, and another one breaking the law and being a jerk. You also witnessed a pedestrian doing what pedestrians have always done, and make sure traffic is stopping before they continue. No chance of anyone getting hurt like that.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:20 a.m.
The first few tickets that were given out were being challenged in court -- what is the outcome or at what stage are these matters in at this time? It is my understanding that this law is really unenforceable-- the city may even get sued at some point. Really a far fetched law from very far leftist that are ruining our great town.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:17 a.m.
My goodness, for the cost of two Hawk signals, we could buy another ugly water fountain for downtown. Priorities in Ann Arbor are so difficult to figure out sometimes. Thank goodness we have the Mayor (for now) and City Council. Lol.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.
run for office!
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:15 a.m.
It would help if AAPD stopped at the cross walks and set a good example. Based on the way the cops zoom through the cross walks asking them to stop is too much to ask.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.
I'd agree. JUST TODAY I was approaching a cross walk, and a cop slowed down but then sped up really quick to beat me to it. I couldn't believe it. Thought about grabbing the license plate but I feel like all I'd get when I called it in would be a "yeah, we'll look into it..."
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 10:13 a.m.
"In Salt Lake City, for example, containers with brightly colored flags are located at each end of crosswalks. Pedestrians are instructed to carry them while they cross, and the simple act of holding one alerts drivers that the pedestrian has a desire to cross the street." So Mr. Mayor, has Saturday Night Live called you yet about which actor is going to play you in their Ann Arbor skit?
Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.
You are both right. In Madison, they tried this on a busy intersection. If the flags weren't stolen, they were always on the wrong side of the street (think about it: people usually cross in one direction more than another and no one takes the flags back to the other side). A friend of mine was eventually hit by a car at that intersection as she tried to cross at the crosswalk.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.
Such flags would quickly go the way of the green bikes. Remember them? "The Green Bike is not locked." They all vanished in a few weeks.