Police chief: Ann Arbor's new pedestrian safety ordinance has 'caused a lot of dysfunction'
Joseph Tobianski I AnnArbor.com
AnnArbor.com has confirmed from police reports and witness accounts at least eight rear-end automobile accidents that were caused by motorists stopping for pedestrians since the city started enforcing a controversial pedestrian safety ordinance on Sept. 18.
Five happened at crosswalks on Plymouth Road. The other three occurred on Packard near Stadium, State Street near Huron Street, and Huron Parkway near Geddes.
AnnArbor.com is awaiting other records from the city for accidents that have happened since Oct. 15, so there could be even more than are currently known. It's also clear from anecdotal accounts there have been several near misses at crosswalks recently.
At least three of the accidents on Plymouth occurred at the crosswalk near Bishop Avenue where some suspect the problem is exacerbated by the curvature of the five-lane road, and the perception that many cars are traveling faster than the 35 mph speed limit.
Reports obtained by AnnArbor.com show motorists are having trouble stopping in time after other vehicles in front of them hit the brakes for pedestrians at the crosswalks.
"This is a situation where pedestrians in this state have always had the right of way," said Police Chief Barnett Jones. "City Council has tweaked the ordinance a little, but it's caused a lot of dysfunction, and I know that the City Council is now taking a look at it."
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and the City Council recently directed the city's staff to examine new engineering solutions for crosswalks throughout the city, including along Plymouth Road. The city's staff is expected to report back in December about possible solutions, including installation of new pedestrian-activated crossing signals.
In the meantime, city officials are considering measures such as temporary lighting for some of the more troublesome crosswalks, including the one at Plymouth and Bishop.
Ann Arbor resident George Garcia is one of the many motorists who've experienced vehicle damage because of a rear-end accident at a crosswalk recently.
Garcia was driving his Ford Escape westbound on Plymouth at 7:15 p.m. Oct. 11 when he stopped behind another vehicle that yielded to a pedestrian at the crosswalk near Bishop. He said the pedestrian was standing on the island in the middle of the road.
Shortly after he stopped, Garcia's vehicle was rear-ended by another vehicle. Garcia said it caused about $1,000 in damage to his vehicle's rear end, and even more damage to the other car, which had its hood "smashed like an accordion." No injuries were reported.
He said he's now convinced the city needs a better solution for the crosswalk, whether that involves a new pedestrian bridge over Plymouth Road or combining the crosswalks into one that is regulated by a new traffic light. At the very least, he said, the city could install a flashing light to warn drivers of the approaching crosswalk before it's too late.
"The road is not a straight road where you can see a long distance ahead, so a car coming around this curve at 35 or 40 mph may be forced to stop dramatically," he said, offering his opinion that following the pedestrian safety ordinance there "doesn't make sense."
AnnArbor.com has received copies of several complaints that residents have e-mailed to the mayor and City Council members recently.
The e-mails show there were concerns about the pedestrian safety ordinance even before police started enforcing it in September. The ordinance was approved in July 2010.
Tamar Springer, who lives on Ann Arbor's northeast side, wrote Hieftje and Council Member Stephen Rapundalo on Oct. 17 to tell about an accident that happened over the summer.
"In June, I was at a complete stop behind two or three cars at a crosswalk on Plymouth Road near Bishop," she said. "I was rear-ended at a high rate of speed. The back of my minivan was smashed in, requiring extensive repairs. The minivan of the woman who hit me had to be towed from the scene and appeared to be totaled."
Springer said her son, who was in the front passenger seat, had to be taken to the emergency room due to shortness of breath. Fortunately, she said, there were no serious injuries, but she shudders to think what could have happened.
"Now, whenever I approach a crosswalk, my heart is in my throat," she said. "Although I travel at a low rate of speed, if another car is visible behind me, I never stop."
"Perhaps HAWK signals would be preferable or, better yet, more traffic lights or even pedestrian bridges," she wrote to Hieftje and Rapundalo.
Hieftje responded to Springer's e-mail on Oct. 18, apologizing for what happened. He told her the city is having a robust discussion about crosswalks, but he said HAWK signals and stop lights are expensive and there are other problems with overhead walkways.
"They are also expensive but engineers tell us they are seldom used, people still cross the road under them and they cannot be used by those who are less able," Hieftje said.
Jones noted police have written only nine tickets under the new ordinance. And most, if not all, were written during a two-week targeted enforcement campaign.
According to 15th District Court officials, the fine is $100 plus $30 in court costs. The court is not reporting the violations to the Secretary of State for point assessments because it's been determined the ordinance doesn't substantially correspond with the state motor vehicle code.
Jones said his department is taking a close look at the issues surrounding rear-end accidents that have been reported at crosswalks recently.
"At this point in time, I can say most of the accidents that have occurred have been because the second car or the third car or the fourth car did not stop within a safe, clear distance," Jones said. "So that is an indication that we have people not paying attention."
Erica Briggs, a city planning commissioner and board member for the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, has been one of the leading proponents of the crosswalk law.
Briggs agreed with Jones that the larger problem is distracted driving. She said it'd be a mistake to repeal the ordinance just because of the accidents that are happening.
"Saying that people shouldn't stop to allow pedestrians to go across the street doesn't make our city a more livable city," she sad. "We need to aggressively move toward better engineering in these locations and continue education so these folks know they need to stop."
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.
Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.
Erica Briggs has no business writing ordinances and this crosswalk ordinance has been a disaster with numerous accidents taking a toll in pain and suffering as well as damaged vehicles.
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.
Whenever the law pits pedestrians or bikes(Huron River Drive) against a vehicle, the vehicle will always win. Right now there are rear end accidents, but soon you will be hearing about the pedestrian that got hit by a car. I'm from Howell, when I come into Ann Arbor, I'm amazed how people just step in front of moving cars. Last week two kids almost got killed by me when they just stepped right in front of me. If I had hit them, I would of gotten a ticket at least, maybe charges pressed against me. But no matter what, the two kids would have been hurt pretty bad if I hadn't stopped in time. When ever you cross a vehicle against a pedestrian or someone on a bike, the car will win the contest of what keeps moving after the hit. I have been on Huron River Drive when bikers will be two or three abreast of each other and you can't get by them. I do notice little memorials up and down the road. This happens when a bike loses. My brother killed an old man one winter. He was driving his SUV with attached snow plow on the front. It was a bad snow storm that created a white out. The old man went off the road a bit and got stuck. The man stood at the rear of his car in the road. My brother was traveling really slow, but like I said, when a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian, vehicle wins. My brother still has nightmares of the guys head bouncing across his hood. It's just wrong trying to mix the two together, it's not a pretty sight. Pedestrians should wait for the light to cross, and bikes shouldn't be allowed on a thin, twisting road when there isn't room for the two. I know the bikers are going to flame me and call me all types of names, but the truth is they can't compete with a car. When the two hit, the car will win!!! Sorry people, but this is an important issue. Why any politician will think that mixing the two is good for a community, well it just boggles my mind.
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:58 a.m.
So, according to Briggs, it's not about "preventing" accidents, it's about getting her own way. How arrogant can you be? Her attitude is unacceptable. And she professes to advocate "safety"?
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.
Several points to ponder: 1) City ordinances should conform to state guidelines. There are very many out-of-town drivers in Ann Arbor. The city ordinance should be altered to conform to state guidelines. And yes, it should be enforced. Unenforced ordinances just create a big mess. 2) On busy multilane streets, crosswalks should be at places (usually intersections) that have traffic signals. 3) On smaller streets, no one should have a problem supporting (and obeying) a state-consistent crosswalk ordinance, whether there is a traffic signal at the crosswalk or not. 4) Public policy should promote the safety of everyone. Yes, rear-end collisions are usually the fault of the driver behind. But good traffic engineering policy should seek to reduce the number of rear-end collisions never-the-less. Therefore crosswalks where cars are likely to have to stop should be well-marked -- the more so, the busier the street. I applaud the city for recent efforts to provide better marking of crosswalks. 5) And please everyone, slow down, keep your eyes on the road, and put those cell phones away.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.
No plans to stop unless I am about to endanger a pedestrian who is actively crossing. Do not want to get rear ended with children in my back seat.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.
It seems to me that there were problems long before the pedestrian ordinance went into effect. I live off of Plymouth Road. I am primarily a walker/bus commuter, and I drive sometimes as well. First, many of the pedestrians in this town are, unfortunately, causing a lot of problems. (Let's say 90%). Stop texting and LOOK UP before you step out into the street! The bigger issue here, and the issue that has been around long before the new pedestrian ordinance, is that this part of Michigan is infested with aggressive drivers. Traffic along Plymouth Road is frequently at or above 50 mph. Drivers frequently fail to stop for pedestrians who are already in the crosswalk. Every morning while I wait for my bus on Green Road, I see drivers fail to stop for the school bus picking up children which has its stop sign displayed and it's red lights blinking. In fact, I have seen drivers honk at the car in front of them for stopping and then whip around the stopped cars. If you are being rear-ended by someone because you stopped to let a pedestrian cross, there's a 99% chance that it's because that person is not paying attention, or is driving aggressively/speeding.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.
Some of the crosswalks marked on the Plymouth Rd. map are at traffic lights. Are we supposed to stop for pedestrians who cross against the light? If that is the law, I'm breaking it because I'm not stopping for a pedestrian ignoring the signal and crossing against my green light.
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3 a.m.
Dude, you have a problem.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.
vote out all incumbants!! Ming Bucibei
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.
A good friend and engineer at MDOT said these zones are very dangerous for cars and pedestrians. In fact, they recommend avoiding using these types of crosswalks because of the safety hazards. Did anyone do any research on this? I guess not.
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:58 a.m.
Strangely, they're not 'very dangerous' in Canada. I agree w/ previous posts that education and engineering would go a long ways to making crosswalks just as safe here as they are elsewhere. For example, the design (overhead flashing yellow lights activated by the pedestrian) and markings seem more uniform in Canada. It's less likely that an 'out-of-towner' will not recognize a crosswalk for what it is.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.
We all knew this was going to happen. The chief should order his officers to never enforce this law. This is gross negligence on the part of the city, passing an ordinance contrary to state law. I hope auto insurance companies sue the city to recover their damages. And the mayor is trying to fix it by "new engineering solutions for crosswalks throughout the city, including along Plymouth Road." I cannot get over how incompetent this is. The state needs to pass a law that keeps local governments from passing laws that oppose state law.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.
ASs a daily driver on Plymouth Road myself, I can only agree, I have had many close calls at being rear-ended. I can understand if a pedestrian is in a cross walk... but "approaching?" What the heck does THAT mean? How far from the cross walk does the city consider "approaching?" What if they are waiting at the bus stop which is located right next to the cross walk? I agree, HAWK lights would be a good idea.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.
As the 225th commenter, I am certain that nobody will read this, but what if groove strips were installed a hundred yards before the high risk crosswalks? They do this in the country before stop signs and lights on high speed roads. They get a drivers attention and would presumably be cheaper to install than the HAWK signals.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.
This is no reason to do anything. No street requires a wait of only a few minutes to cross it. State law covers this issue. You yield to people already in the crosswalk. If you cannot cross, you yield to traffic.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.
Actually Fordie, they've put those in at some of the newer roundabouts. I know the Nixon/Huron Parkway roundabout has that. One problem with them is that they're a bit of a problem for snow clearing. I'm not sure what they're doing at that roundabout, but in some places the strips can damage or be damaged by plows. If Carolyn's right, they're not all that effective either.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.
I read it : ) I researched this very quickly and found that the Boulder community spent 6 years studying their crosswalk issues and came up with multiple approaches depending on the different circumstances. One thing that was found from their study was that rumble strips, curiously, were not effective. Not sure why. Maybe, in and of themselves, the rumble strips didn't get drivers to stop.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.
No, the rumble strips would never work in Ann Arbor. Why? Because the roads are so godawful that pretty much every street is already "rumbling". Of course we have tens of millions of dollars in the street fund, but it isn't like we'd want them to use that to fix STREETS or something.
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:09 a.m.
"Those people have been in fender benders ... should take a part of their car ... and leave it at City Hall." Somebody already did that. I think his name is Herbert Dreiseitl.
A Voice of Reason
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:37 a.m.
The crosswalk on Washtenaw near the Stadium split only has the crosswalk sign facing one way, so there is a cross walk and only people who are leaving Ann Arbor will see it not the people heading downtown. Big-time public safety issue. I think Ann Arbor needs to fire the person who recommended this to the city--in fact, safety is really not a job they should be doing at all and they have caused more accidents and luckily no deaths.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:08 a.m.
In city driving, six car-lengths is a good figure of merit for the space to leave between you and the car in front of you. It is ironic that we have to legitimacize tailgating to build a case against this silly law.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2 a.m.
The HAWK fixture on Huron seems to work much more effectively. I support the ordinance, but I also support installation of HAWKS at multiple other sights where accidents are likely.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.
Try driving down Miller from N.Main westward. There are so many crosswalks you can't watch the road because you are scanning the sidewalks to see if anyone is waiting or "approaching" one. Putting up any signals is a huge waste of money.
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:10 a.m.
Sorry, but those cost too much. We must have public art. Priorities, you know.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:21 a.m.
this ordinance is a result of "personal agendas" and good 'ole boy influence not citizen safety. State law governing crosswalks has been adequate for years. Now ann Arbor thinks it knows best and is endangering and causing injury to more people. Political arrogance at its worst.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.
Exactly. Social agenda I call it, along with amateur politicians who just do not understand the law and government and how it works. For city council to think there ideas trump state law is silliness.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.
We just need to ban pedestrians from walking across streets. It is truly amazing that drivers who do not pay attention to their driving, matter most in a pedestrian safety issue. How many more pedestrians need to be killed on AA streets before we realize the cart is before the horse here. We also need to get rid of all traffic lights because I saw a rear ender on Stadium at Liberty. Some poor guy was stopped for the light and wham, didn't look like the other guy even hit the brakes. As I have said before, I cross at Third and Huron every day and weekly see people run the red light many times.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.
How many pedestrians have been killed so far this year? We're they all at marked crosswalks?
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.
Why don't you tell us how many pedestrians have been killed due to the fault of the driver? There were two fatal accidents on Plymouth Rd a few years ago, but my understanding is that the drivers were not at fault.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.
Completely agree with you LB, but watch that "How many more pedestrians need to be killed..." bit. They have a commenting policy against mentioning tragedies for political discussions, and it isn't clear where they draw the line.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.
Is the red light flashing when they "run" it? That would be allowed. Also, proceeding once pedestrian traffic has exited the crosswalk is permissible there as I understand it.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.
there shouldn't be cross walks in the middle of a stretch of road unless they are controlled by a stopping device. especially on 5 lane 45mph roads. crosswalks should only be at intersections. the extra walk will do you good. if you can't walk just stay home
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.
where in my post did I say plymouth rd?
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.
Plymouth Road is 35 mph.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.
Note that the sign in the photograph directs drivers to stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk -- nothing is said about approaching a crosswalk. So, Council went all out for this new ordinance and didn't bother to pay for a correct sign to post. Nice going, Council -- you've increased confusion rather than reduced it. It can certainly be argued in court that the specific traffic control device -- the sign -- tells drivers exactly what they are to do; that they don't need to stop for approaching pedestrians. I believe that specific traffic control devices trump general ordinances.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.
The sign on 7th at Washington reads that way too. That is in keeping with state law. Vehicles have to yield to pedestrians in the roadway. The city is "wishing" for something but not making the effort to even change its own signs.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:01 p.m.
We need to return to "car goes by, pedestrian then crosses", and erect pedestrian-actuated signals in places and at times that crossing safely and in reasonable time is difficult. Why the power trip? I mean, I have seen quite a number of pedestrians who self-righteously cross against their red light and cause a car to stop on their green, even though that is not part of the law. But it's just the power trip of "making cars stop", completely in disconnect with the initial issue of whether it's safe to cross. the emphasis is on the stopping, not on the safe crossing. And that is the biggest problem. Now----what could be even worse than this, is that we end up in straits in which we cannot purchase equipment for crossing signals, because Republicans end up in office due to this idiocy that my fellow liberals mysteriously endorse time and time again. Let's not let the one and only issue on which Republicans are right spring them into control of the city when there are hundreds of other issues on which they are dead-wrong! Then we'll have an even greater mess than collisions on the roads!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.
With this ordinance and a proposed idling law, it seems to me that the people on the city council will not be happy until the only motorized vehicles in the city limits are buses to ferry the people from the city limits into town.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.
It's pretty clear Ryan Stanton has beef with city council, given the number of articles written against this ordinance, the article's propping up Republican contestants to incumbents, etc. Fine, editorial prerogative, I don't care, but what really irks me is that these articles are starting to feel like comment-bait. They know that this is an issue that is going to attract a lot of discussion – though, pretty much the SAME discussion – and therefore will attract a lot of page views. I myself have refreshed this page a half dozen times today to see what responses my comments have garnered, each time refreshing the ad views and boosting AA.coms bottom line, in turn compelling them to post more and more articles about whatever will generate the most comments.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.
...and by the way, articles that generate the most comments are on issues people are most concerned about, thus the high number of comments.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.
It's his job Peter. Obviously Ryan is right on with this article per the hundreds of posts, most noting how dumb this ordinance is. I prefer getting a lot of news and letting us read it rather than a pro-city council practice of not reporting when they screw up and that causes damage in any manner.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.
There SHOULD be discussion about this issue. There was very little discussion BEFORE this law went into effect. Boulder took 6 years to study their traffic/crosswalk issues. I think Ann Arbor could have benefited from a more comprehensive approach.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:52 a.m.
Like I said, editorial prerogative, that's fine. But the slipping into Huffington Post-style headline hyping and link-bait articles seems to be getting worse.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:55 a.m.
Ryan Stanton may be anti-City Council (according to you) on this issue, but it's pretty darned clear that Tony Dearing, and others here, are City Council cheerleaders. (Hence their support and endorsement of Rapundalo in the coming election.) I think it's a nice balance. A little bit of both sides.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.
One major problem with the Plymouth Rd crosswalks is there are far too many of them! There are 5 or 6 in a mile and a half. Some of the newer crosswalks are within sight of a previously existing crosswalk at a light or intersection where cars naturally stop. As a driver I try to be as attentive as possible, but if the traffic flow is too heavy and I don't believe the car behind me will stop, I will not risk an accident. If that means that the person trying to cross the street has to wait another minute or two to cross, then so be it. As a pedestrian, I choose a street crossing at a light or established intersection. If that is not available, which is rare, I would wait until traffic clears and then briskly cross the street.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.
I wonder how many of the crabs and complainers that are attacking this ordinance today will admit that they: 1) voted for Heiftje, 2) voted for an incumbent who voted for this, or 3) didn't vote at all. I will admit to two of three. And remember: This is what democracy looks like too folks.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.
Or 4) Don't live in Ann Arbor but have to drive there and prefer to not have to be fined for secret ordinances that exist no where else in the State of Michigan.
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:12 a.m.
"2) voted for an incumbent who voted for this" And will do it again tomorrow, probably.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:07 a.m.
What does Native American Democracy look like? A logo for a gringo college, Mr./Ms. Huron?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.
Build a pedestrian bridge over Plymouth and the problem will be solved. Prior to this new problem, why don't the city stop using Plymouth Road as a cash cow for police tickets. Post a reasonable speed limit on that stretch of road that reflects the driving of the motorist. As it stands now, there are multiple speed limits on that one road...which forces drivers to slam on their breaks to meet these multiple speed limits while driving on one road. Having a school and a mosque directly on this extremely busy road is not helpful either. Why didn't anyone see the potential problem this would cause and planned accordingly. Isn't this the same school that want to build near another neighborhood and cause more potential traffic problems? A pedestrian bridge should have been built soon after that awful accident that took the lives of some students. Stop the delay, get rid of all these crosswalks and build the pedestrian bridge now.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.
Or......... a tunnel, which is what is being done in Boulder (the city we are, apparently, modeling ourselves after.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.
The funny thing is that there used to be a pedestrian bridge over Plymouth, which they tore down when they rebuilt the road, since almost no one wanted to use it. Besides, you know how hard it is to build an ADA-compliant bridge?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:07 p.m.
The Ann Arbor City Council is thinking about changing the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance! Read below: <a href="http://jspenceronline.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/exclusive-ann-arbor-city-council-considering-changes-to-the-pedestrian-safety-ordinance/" rel='nofollow'>http://jspenceronline.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/exclusive-ann-arbor-city-council-considering-changes-to-the-pedestrian-safety-ordinance/</a>
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.
Which is just going to confuse people further since the education roll out of this change will be no different than the education roll out of the original change. Total chaos.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.
As someone who crosses Plymouth multiple times a week with a stroller, I fully support a change so that everyone, both drivers and pedestrians, are safe. If only 9 tickets have been written to drivers for ignoring pedestrians in crosswalks, I'd say that's the place to start. The article also mentions that motorists are traveling much faster than posted speed limits (I know this to be true from my own driving experience), which is another way to get the point across: station police cars all along Plymouth and start ticketing motorists for speeding and driving through the crosswalks. If everyone would slow down to a safer speed and watch the cars ahead this wouldn't be such a problem. As it is, I never cross until the road is completely empty or all lanes have come to a stop. Assuming oncoming cars will stop for me would be a death-wish.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.
I urge all of you who support the abolition of these crosswalks to please turnout an d vote on Tuesday. I know Rapundalo is a proponent of this and I am in his voting ward. Guess what?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.
These accidents aren't caused by people stopping but by people smashing into stopped cars. That's why they have speed limits and rules against tailgating. Drive at a reasonable speed, keep a safe distance, and pay attention and you won't slam into the car in front of you. Crosswalks are one thing, but then there's animals in the road, kids chasing balls, people cutting you off, etc. Take it upon yourself to drive safer.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.
You are technically correct but there are also laws on obstructing traffic and when you stop for no apparent reason to oncoming traffic that can create a problem. Traffic is supposed to flow. When a driver sees a pedestrian "approaching" a crosswalk and slams on his brakes, that is a problem. This ordinance makes drivers scan the sidewalks rather than watch the road.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.
Perhaps we should take the posted speed limit on each road into account. According to the most recent speed limit map I could find, <a href="http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/project_management/Documents/City%20of%20Ann%20Arbor%20Speed%20Limits%20Map%20November%202009.pdf" rel='nofollow'>http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/project_management/Documents/City%20of%20Ann%20Arbor%20Speed%20Limits%20Map%20November%202009.pdf</a> Plymouth Road between US 23 and Huron Parkway has a posted speed limit of 45. Beyond Huron Parkway, it is 35. Very few other roads in the city are 45. In a story last year, <a href="http://annarbor.com/news/debate-over-local-speed-limits-continues-at-ann-arbor-city-council-meeting/">http://annarbor.com/news/debate-over-local-speed-limits-continues-at-ann-arbor-city-council-meeting/</a> it was reported that there are issues with the posting of speed limits in Ann Arbor if they do not match the 85th percentile of actual speeds. (I am simplifying, the discussion is much more complex.) If 45 represents the 85th percentile on that stretch of Plymouth, at least some drivers are going faster, and then they may fail to slow down appreciably as they enter the lower speed limit area. How much time does it take to come to a stop from 45 miles/hr? It seems logical that more attention to active signals, i.e. stoplights, should be given in high-speed areas like this section of Plymouth to make pedestrian crossing possible. And it would be even better to bring the speed down to the 35 miles per hour posted for most streets in Ann Arbor, and to enforce speed limits more consistently.
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.
Ghost, You're a fountain of conventional wisdom! So who owns who? Does the government own the people or do the people own the government? What business does a Legislative Branch have passing laws it either knows or should know will be violated by a large segment of the populace?
Edward R Murrow's Ghost
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.
Ah, yes, the percentile of drivers breaking the law ought determine the law. Only in the uber-bizarre world of traffic enforcement. By this logic, if 80% of people embezzled money from their employers, embezzlement would become legal. Nonsense. Drivers breaking the law en masses ought not be allowed to determine what the new speed limit will be, a speed limit they will surely . . . . violate!!! Speed limits need to be set considering a number of factors, the willingness of drivers to violate the law NOT being one of them. Good Night and Good Luck
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.
Of course. Sounds like a good use of public funds. If roads are still starved, put the question of a tax increase to voters.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.
So Stuart, would you be OK with diverting road repair money into putting up more HAWK signals?
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:11 a.m.
KJMClark, I'm for real pedestrian safety, not phony excuses for more police stops, revenue enhancement and more infringements of people's 4th Amendment rights. There are roads in Ann Arbor where 95% of motorists drive at or faster than the posted limit. Most posted limits in Ann Arbor were rarely posted at higher than the 30th percentile of free flowing traffic (before being set to the 85th percentile); this is why police enforcement of posted speed limits is not effective at lowering real-world speeds on actual streets, the speed limits are too low. When posted speed limits are placed at the 85th percentile, compliance rates go way up and the average measured speed remains the same. Any traffic engineering study needs to take the above into account. Drivers understand red lights and before the red light, there is a yellow light to give drivers ample warning that a change is in effect. The recent spate of rear-end collisions is to be expected since the new Ann Arbor ordinance does not include yellow lights to give motorists time to adjust.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:44 a.m.
Thanks to Stuart for quickly putting up the "speed trap" defense. And yes, you are very much simplifying, since Council adopted UTC by reference soon after that. You can't just put up traffic signals. They have to meet warrants. Just like you can't arbitrarily put up stop signs and lower speed limits, but the warrants are even more legally binding. The solution to all of this is *supposed* to be marked, well-lit mid-block crosswalks with pedestrian islands, and enforcement. What to do in aggressive-driving places like SE Michigan? Until a few years ago, the official response from traffic engineers was a shrug of the shoulders. Until recently, and apparently again at the moment, the official response of the police was a shrug of the shoulders. The community response was meek education efforts, because there was no engineering or enforcement response.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.
Vivienne, you can post all of the 35 MPH signs you want on Plymouth and it will have zero impact on the actual speeds people drive in the current 45 MPH sections. If the cops come out and hand out tickets one day, a week later, the speeds will still be the same. People drive the speed that appears to be appropriate for the conditions as they are; not by what the sign says. No rational process should attempt to make law violators out of a large percentage of the populace at any given time.
Edward R Murrow's Ghost
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6 p.m.
You mean that requiring drivers to read pedestrians' minds regarding their intent to enter a crosswalk isn't working out so well? Gee. Who would have guessed. Good Night and Good Luck
Edward R Murrow's Ghost
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.
"Besides, most of the conflicts being discussed here are happening on the 35mph section of Plymouth. How slow do you think we should make it?" I don't think it is a good idea having a pedestrian crosswalk on a 5-lane wide road road whose speed limit is 35 mph. GN&GL
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.
Here's the FHWA study on marked vs. unmarked crosswalks: <a href="http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/04100/04100.pdf" rel='nofollow'>http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/04100/04100.pdf</a> The recommendation is to not install *just* marked crosswalks on multi-lane, high volume arterials like Plymouth. They recommend taking additional measures in those cases. They list those additional measures starting on page 55. We've exhausted all the reasonable engineering possibilities up to putting in some kind of non-traffic signal signals, like HAWK. Of course, there's always enforcement, which we've barely tried, because the police haven't been willing.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.
Um, Murrow, the language I quoted *is* the ordinance that was in effect, which is the ordinance that communities across the state are adopting. So, all around you, communities are adopting language that says "yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield". So you *do* think that would be OK to enforce? And until we adopted UTC, we didn't have a jaywalking law. We also can't willy-nilly change the speed limits. There has to be a good reason. Besides, most of the conflicts being discussed here are happening on the 35mph section of Plymouth. How slow do you think we should make it? I certainly agree about the lack of enforcement. And you're right, the national authorities agree on the need for extra measures on 5-lane major arterials. But the recommended extra measures are pedestrian islands and overhead lighting. It's only very recently that they came up with things like HAWK signals. You're OK with diverting road repair money to put up more HAWK signals?
Edward R Murrow's Ghost
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:46 a.m.
Then enforce the laws that existed before this stupid ordinance. Simple. But that wasn't happening and isn't happening. Moreover, having a pedestrian crosswalk on a 5-lane high-speed road such as Plymouth (as opposed to a two-lane low-speed street like Liberty) is asking for trouble. Either reduce the speeds AND enforce them, or make pedestrians cross busy roads only at lights. In other words, start enforcing the jaywalking laws. Gee. What a unique concept. GN&GL
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.
You really think the result would be different if we said "yield the right -of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield" and enforced that? People are accustomed to blowing through crosswalks. *Any* enforcement was bound to result in some crashes. Since we don't enforce the tailgating law and barely enforce the speed laws, just about *any* change results in some crashes. New stop sign? Crashes. Roundabouts? Crashes. Construction zone? Crashes. Heck, we get lots of crashes even if we don't change anything.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.
Motorists are fortunate that Ann Arbor is encircled by highways (that cost billions of dollars). If you don't want to deal with pedestrians, and the other burdens of driving in a town, simply take the highway. If you want to drive fast in a city, there are numerous cities that embrace car culture. Dearborn, Livonia, and other suburbs of Detroit may be just the place for you. Some of those cities hardly have any sidewalks, because it's all about the mighty car. You can even get a house located right on a highway access road - mere seconds from the freeway! Imagine the freedom! Meanwhile, in Ann Arbor, a lot of us want to be able to walk and bike safely to our destinations.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.
Can we rename Plymouth, "Frogger"? <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frogger" rel='nofollow'>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frogger</a>
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:57 a.m.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:39 a.m.
stephen.. frogger is a reference to the video game where a frog jumps across a round. with all the controversy surrounding the pedestrians, somehow it reminded me of that game. Frogger Lane. has a nice ring to it.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:44 p.m.
or how about the huron river mystery chemical spill?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.
Maybe we don't really need one more comment here, but here goes. I've always understood the state law and have made the effort to stop for pedestrians using cross-walks. BUT- there are places where a cross-walk should be accompanied by a traffic light to ensure that traffic is stopped to allow adequate time for pedestrians to cross. Plymouth Road is one of those places. I used to live on the NE side and I know that on Plymouth you have drivers running stop lights and speeding like nowhere else in the city. It's a scary road to drive on, let alone try to cross on foot. It's already a relatively high-speed road, 4 lanes wide and carries a high volume of traffic. It is madness to stick a pedestrian crosswalk out there without a traffic light to control traffic. If you really think that there is enough foot traffic crossing a 4-lane high speed road to justify a pedestrian cross-walk, then a traffic light is also justified. This isn't a matter of rights, it's a matter of carefully considered safety measures for pedestrians and drivers. If the city doesn't want to put in traffic lights, perhaps the use of pedestrian cross-walks should be limited to daylight hours, with pedestrians required to cross with a traffic light after dark. Without flashing lights, when you are several cars back you don't always have a good view of what is causing a stop or slowdown. You may actually think that a car is making a turn, and move into the next lane to go around only to see the pedestrian too late. Darkness, rain, poor weather conditions and pedestrians wearing dark clothes can make it very hard to see those folks trying to cross the road afoot.
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.
I wholeheartedly agree. On high speed, multi-lane streets, cross-walks should only be placed where there are traffic signals. Only at a traffic light is it at all safe to cross Plymouth Road. -- a NE A2 resident
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.
Hmm. I lived in the NE side for several years and never noted vehicle running red lights or stops signs any more than anywhere else. Lots of bicyclists. And I never had to wait long at all to cross on foot.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:36 a.m.
Actually, the city would probably be happy to put in more traffic signals. Except they're expensive and the state won't allow it. Traffic signals have to meet warrants - legal hurdles that say something is really needed - and the warrants were written to encourage smooth traffic flow. You might think there are enough pedestrians to warrant a traffic light, but the 1950s-era lawmakers and traffic engineers that set up the warrants-system disagreed. Their solution was marked crosswalks, where motorists were supposed to yield - out of the good of their hearts. In most places it didn't work, so they changed it so they were supposed to yield by law. Michigan is still stuck mostly in the 'by the good of their hearts' era. Pedestrians face a catch-22 here. If there were enough pedestrians, they could get a traffic light, but without a traffic light, there aren't as many people willing to walk. But then, well-designed catch-22s are kind of intended to prevent solutions.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.
One more thing: When I was growing up, the rule was to leave a car length for every 10 mph between you and the car in front of you. This is clearly not the case anymore.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.
They changed it to a three-four-five second following rule, because people couldn't judge distances well enough. It's pretty easy to pick a landmark and count 'one-one thousand, two-one thousand,...' Still, your last point is right, there's clearly no enforcement in Michigan about tailgating. Just ask the little bimbo who was riding my bumper on M-52 around noon today.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.
Maybe the reason accidents happen a few cars back from the intersection is because the last driver doesn't know why the cars ahead are stopping. As a motorist in A2 I don't have the location of crosswalks memorized and all brake lights look the same even if they are to scrub 5miles of the speedometer to avoid a ticket or, if they are coming to a dead stop for a pedestrian and, the car behind sure catches up in a big hurry at 35-40mph. this doesn't have to do with lack of attention its just I can't read the other motorists mind.
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.
As you drive on the road you make certain assumptions about other drivers if you realize it or not. If I see turn signal I assume that the car is going to switch lanes unless I see it go on for a few blocks then I assume that they forgot and left it on. We all make assumptions like this. One assumption we all make is that most cars are not going to stop dead in the front of me in the road so most of the time when you are on a road and you see brake lights you keep an eye on it but don't expect to slam on the breaks yourself and for some that might not come until they are too late. It does have some inattentiveness involved but it isn't gross negligence. Also peter it isn't particularly important what the law says it's what it does that is more important, saying that people should leave enough space to avoid accidents even though it makes sense won't change anything if people aren't doing so, and this law looks great on the books but it looks like it is causing unsafe road conditions and a potential for disaster for pedestrians.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.
Since when does knowing WHY traffic ahead is stopped, or mind-reading, have anything to do with it? And -- it DOESN'T have to do with lack of attention? So you seem to be saying that a driver who is paying attention can plow into a stopped car ahead of him, and that's somehow perfectly understandable. Even justified. ??????
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.
It doesn't matter why they're stopped, safe driving (and state law) dictates you always remain a safe enough distance behind to stop for any obstacle in the road.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.
I say get rid of the ordinance while you are thinking of something better. I try to stop for pedestrians approaching the walk, but, if there is a car behind me, I keep going because I'm sure I would be rear-ended and it's just not worth it. I'm afraid someone will be killed and that's certainly not worth it either. The city should admit they didn't think this out clearly and do away with it NOW before someone is killed or seriously injured.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5 p.m.
You want the city to admit they were wrong???? Egads!!! Never!!!! Why, they are the smartest people in the city!!! And per the story, rather than do that, they are exploring more ways to spend a lot of money to support this folly.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:12 a.m.
So you blow through red lights and stop signs for the same reason, right?
Woman in Ypsilanti
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.
Dear Ann Arbor Residents, Please vote out any city council members who voted for this ordinance on Tuesday. You can make a difference. Do not allow your council to pass this kind of unpopular and ill conceived ordinance.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.
Folks who want this ordinance repealed should have the state law repealed too.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.
ERMGhost has it quite right. Traffic has to yield for a pedestrian anywhere in a street, not just in a crosswalk. So there is an appropriate state law and this one is not needed. Repeal both laws?
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:11 a.m.
Except, again, there isn't even a state law that says to yield to a pedestrian in a marked, midblock crosswalk. There wouldn't be any need for the State Police to recommend an ordinance if there was a state law covering that.
Edward R Murrow's Ghost
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.
There is no state law in this regard. State law requires one to stop for pedestrians IN the crosswalk, not for pedestrians who intend to enter the crosswalk. And if there were a state law, the city ordinance would not be needed. GN&GL
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.
Look at it this way... If people are rear-ending CARS stopped in the street for pedestrians because they didn't see CARS until it was too late, I'm extremely glad that there was a CAR stopped there to run interference for the much smaller, much squishier, much harder to see pedestrian. The law on rear-ending is clear: it's the rear-ender's fault. You are driving a large, heavy, machine and even at 30mph you are responsible for an enormous amount of energy. It's your responsibility, always, to make sure you know where that energy is going.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.
Some people don't read newspapers or garner any news on line.Some people who drive in our city are from out of town.A 'feel good' ordinance from city council,but ill-conceived,with no funds to alert the driving public,and funds to enforce.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.
Just one of hundreds of reasons to vote no to all city council incumbents on Tuesday, November 8th and Vote for Jane, Eric, Stuart and David to return balance, diversity, and leadership to a city council desperately in need of it. Vote to reduce the Mayors block and restore some sanity! Be engaged for Ann Arbor and think outside of party and do what's right for the city.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.
Believe me. I wish I did live in Ann Arbor again for just enough time to be able to vote some, or is it most, of these people out of office. The city officials are sorely lacking in common sense re:this poorly thought out ordinance, giving needed infrastructure money for art projects, and sacrificing the history of Ann Arbor to developers. This ordinance does effect me in that sometimes I HAVE to come into Ann Arbor. Although, with a choice I avoid it now.
say it plain
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.
I think I got it now!! This particular report somehow made it finally sink in... This isn't so much an example of misguided nanny-state thinking from our Mayor and his coalition on Council, as it is an example of the pal-sy special-project/special-interest scene, d'oh! Here I was thinking that safety was actually the goal, but really it was never even considered at all! Only the special-interest agenda of some powers-that-be 'friends' and associates, like the WBWC or the people who brought us the "art" bike racks are taken into account in this city! Thus, police (who are on the persona non grata list anyhow, right?!) don't need to be consulted first... Safety engineers, nah... The citizenry at large, why bother?!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.
Bingo! See how things work with Hieftje and the council seven? This is your brain...this is your brain on Hieftje Group Think: pander to a Liberal Friendly group like WBWC (for "Green" cred) by passing an ordinance that dumps all the responsibility on the residents without the city having to spend a dime (that way there is more money for "special" projects like the hole by the Library); plus, you get to generate revenue by picking the pockets of hapless residents who have the misfortune to live here. Pass an ordinance that will result in chaos and reduce safety while claiming to do it to promote safety (when bad things happen, it is the fault of previously mentioned hapless residents who just happen to live here.)
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.
Something needs to be done about the pedestrians on U of M campus. The three way stop at the corner of University and State is the worst. The flow of the students is sporadic and most of them do not pay attention. A motorist must yield right of way to the pedestrian crossing but who wants to sit there for 10-20 minutes? A pedestrian light should be placed there to control the crossing of the pedestrians. Another one that is frustrating is the students crossing by the dental school and campus bus stops.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.
I 'voted' for the coment and teh first reply. That intersection is irritating, and so are the students. Gee, "the students are irritating." What else is new?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.
Hyperbole much? When have you ever sat there for 10-20 minutes? I drive through that intersection all the time, and sure, it's mildly irritating, and something could be done to make it slightly better, but maybe that one intersection where pedestrians out number cars can give people an idea of what it's like to be on the other side at every other intersection: being a pedestrian outnumbered by hundreds of vehicles.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.
There are just too many visitors from out of town who drive on our streets.Are signs posted at every entrance to Ann Arbor explaining this local ordnance.....NO. The really sad and worrisome fact is that until there is a major injury or DEATH. City council will fail to resend this ordnance. Pray that it is not your child, love one or friend that is a accident victim. Please repeal this before this happens, Enough said!
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.
Hm... Perhaps council should rescind the ordinance rather than "resend" it. I'm not sure I want them to send it again. :)
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.
Agreed. Like bikes darting across traffic.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.
I wish there was this much fervor over all the other things that cause far more accidents.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.
Except that this law has been shown to be the CAUSE of accidents.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.
"Pray that it is not your child, love one or friend that is a accident victim." That could be a lot of the motivation behind enacting this law.
say it plain
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.
Let's face it... The roads in town where there are clearly problems are too high-speed and multi-lane/turnout for this sort of solution to work. If people are already slowed down to 25 or so mph then it wouldn't be such an issue. I realize I'll anger all the walkers and bikers, and I am very sympathetic to their concerns and count myself among them for a good portion of my traveling time in Ann Arbor, but in places like Plymouth I think the answer is to instead *insist* that pedestrians cross at traffic lights, or add a HAWK signal where there is that stretch of troublesome crosswalks. Even the mayor started to get concerned about pedestrians, it seemed, when he recently was quoted as saying something about needing signs to warn them that cars might not stop even with the new law in place. Instead, there is this angry insistence that drivers watch out for people milling about bus-stops, walking from paths which emerge from many feet away, etc. I did my due diligence the other day on Plymouth, for instance, and saw someone walking from a winding walkway that leads to the crosswalk, near a busstop, no less! I guessed from his gait, at least 30 feet away, that he was wanting to cross the road lol. I was correct, woohoo! Did I follow the law, or over-apply?! Luckily there wasn't much traffic approaching at the time, but I was stopped there long enough for somebody who doesn't know about our "special" law to decide I was having some sort of breakdown maybe. In this case I wasn't afraid of being rear-ended, but if someone had sped up behind me and decided last minute to swerve around me, the pedestrian might have been endangered. It becomes a bizarre exercise, this *approaching* thing. I want *everyone* to be safe, and I don't see how this improves safety over what is already on the books. (And it seems at least a little disingenuous for anyone to claim that there is *nothing* currently on the books?! odd...)
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.
No, don't know about most. About five years ago I didn't know of any. IIRC, it was three or four years ago that the legislature made it more beneficial to adopt UTC. I don't know how many cities, villages, and townships have adopted it, but I know a lot of the cities and villages in Washtenaw have now. But it's fairly recent. And we have adopted UTC, but decided to write our own crosswalk ordinance to replace the one in UTC. I'm told ours makes "stopping" more prominent, and has the approaching from the sides language. I'd say you were stopping before you needed to, but it shows you're paying much more attention than many people. A pedestrian would usually cover 30' in seven seconds or so (3mph), so that's probably about the limit for what would make sense. Good for you.
say it plain
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:58 a.m.
okay, so there is only the UTC and no official state law...just the UTC, which most jurisdictions use to create their local laws about crosswalks, yes? So, we could take the UTC as ours, but we have chosen to do elsewise, with this 'approaching' business. And I'd still love to know whether I should or should not have stopped for someone that far from the actual crosswalk but who was approaching it. I still don't know if I was 'over-applying' the Ann Arbor local law.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:22 a.m.
Say it Plain - I was referring to your last parenthetical statement, "(And it seems at least a little disingenuous for anyone to claim that there is *nothing* currently on the books?! odd...)" ... Which I took to be a reference to my earlier point that there is no state law about midblock crosswalks.
say it plain
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.
I don't understand, @KJMClark, what you're claiming I am failing to distinguish among... Did I, or didn't I, attempt to obey the local ordinance as it now stands? This person was approaching the crosswalk, though not closer than 15 feet when I determined this was his intention and his path was surely "approaching". Should I not have stopped until he came into the crosswalk or was just at the edge of it?
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.
Didn't say there's *nothing* on the books, but you should be able to distinguish between a state law, a set of recommended ordinances, and an ordinance. It's like saying you don't understand the difference between an NFL team, a big-ten football team, and high school football. They're all playing football, right? It's like arguing that Ann Arbor has a football team, but it's pathetic that they never make it to the Superbowl. You can understand what's wrong with that, right??? Here's the problem with your last argument. Is it really promoting safety to defacto ban some activities? I mean, one way to make the roads safe is to make it illegal for anyone to use them unless they're in a vehicle with front and side-curtain airbags. That would make things safer, right? No pedestrians, no cyclists, no motorcycles. But walking is a God-given right, biking is an official fall-back if they take away your driver's license, and what's wrong with motorcycles? So what we really want, is to make all of these types of trips safe, without discouraging that kind of trip. And the problem here is that in Michigan, we've been trying to make walking safer by discouraging it. Sure you can walk, but you're going to have to walk 15 minutes out of your way to cross the street. Look at how many people here say they should walk to a traffic signal, no matter how far that is. So if you want to avoid discouraging those trips, you need to put in crosswalks. And what's the point of a crosswalk if no one yields to you there? Why not just go directly across the street instead of walking to a crosswalk?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.
The men and women of a2 city council need to seriously consider getting a life of their own rather than worrying about the fools who walk out in front of moving 2-3 ton machinery! I personally decided when i was 16yrs. old that it's probably not a good idea to hit these people with my car or truck so guess what???? I haven't hit one yet and that's without the help of City Hall!!!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.
I have an idea. Those people have been in fender benders due to following this law should take a part of their car, stick the bill to it, and leave it at City Hall.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.
I must have missed the statistics that showed that Ann Arbor needed to enact it's own ordinance re:pedestrians crossing streets. Did the officials produce records that showed there were multiple car pedestrian accidents that were caused because of people not stopping for pedestrians IN crosswalks? If so, where can I see those statistics? Also, when did Ann Arbor start creating crosswalks in places other than at intersections controlled by signage?
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:19 a.m.
You asked if there are car/pedestrian crashes caused by people not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, but I can't answer that question because AA.com has a policy against the answer: "- Using tragedies to make a political point" (Though apparently that doesn't apply to their articles.) The ordinance change was in part based on a video that showed pedestrians waiting for long periods of time to cross in a crosswalk, as motorist after motorist ignored them. I think that video is still available. I've seen a picture of a marked mid-block crosswalk here from the 50s/60s, so I assume at least that long ago.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.
Same as with Ann Arbor's speed traps. No evidence that a particular section of road has a high rate of accidents. Strictly revenue enhancement measures.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.
Lived in So. Calif in the mid-50`s and even way back then people had the right of way while in a crosswalk. It was strictly enforced and drivers knew about it and obeyed it. I`d like to think 2011 Michigan drivers can learn and do what California drivers have been doing for over 50 years. We are at least that smart, aren`t we?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.
We're not talking about people IN the crosswalk. We're talking about people in the general area of a crosswalk.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.
Maybe along with new lights, HAWK lights, signals you can put little deterrent bars like those at train tracks? I don't know the names for them. Bars go down lots of flashing lights...people can see and hear it. Pedestrian goes across, bars go up, lights stop...go on through. Or is that just too ridiculous?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:57 p.m.
Actually, MIKE, that is pretty radical, since in the other 49 states, a pedestrian isn't supposed to have to wait until it's clear, just till the next motorist would be able to stop, since that's what "yield" means. Only a state with a radical pro-automobile agenda would come up with the version you mention, and they'd probably also re-define "vehicle" to use double-speak to also promote their agenda! Heck it would probably also be a scenic place with some wonderful natural features, but would ignore all that to call itself the Motor Capital or some-such. Can't imagine any state being quite that radical.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.
Maybe pedestrians can be taught to look both ways, and cross when it's clear. Then, if a car shows up when the pedestrian is in motion, the driver will yield his right of way to allow him to continue? Or is that to radical?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.
$500 ticket for anyone who collides with a stopped car. Done.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.
Kittybkahn, that's illegal under the State Police recommended ordinances - it's a civil infraction with a $100 fine.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.
So then they will swerve around the car and hit the pedestrian, which they didn't see because he/she was in front of the stopped car. Just do away with the stupid ordinance.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.
That'll show 'em.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.
Will anyone who sports half a brain on a2 city council please stand up and identify yourself? Busy bodied lemmings - all! Soon we'll have to pay higher insurance premiums for living in this city run by these busy bodies...
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.
The AnnArbor greenies really want to eliminate cars from the city. Join me in shopping in Plymouth and Northville.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.
Perhaps the more sensible ordinance would be to raise penalties for "distracted driving"--eating, using the cell phone, doing one's hair, etc. while driving. My gut tells me that the worst offenders are those who feel most entitled to be exempted from the rules--those in too much of a hurry to be bothered with trivialities like pedestrian safety. These last few days of car-pedestrian accidents really have brought it home. As a pedestrian I have also noticed that people do not bother to use turn signals a lot of the time because there are no other cars around. This caused me to nearly get run over.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.
I will not obey this stupid ordinance.
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.
I'm glad we have more humans than wookies living in Ann Arbor.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.
I hope you`re ignorance doesn`t kill somebody.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.
Why would council or the mayor listen now? When this law was proposed, there were many on this post that made comments of exactly what would occur; multiple accidents. The mayor, and to some extent council, has to appease their lobby, the WBWC, and to retreat now would cause them a voting block regardless how small. Ann Arbor council/mayor, seems to think in this small box that Ann Arbor is this little community that can be governed by their thinking. Without realizing that there are a host of commuters who come into Ann Arbor daily and aren't aware of their local laws. Especially when they run counter to how they've been taught to drive. Like those little stop signs in these crosswalks that are on the left of the approaching driver. I'm sure that both council and mayor will disregard any suggestions from staff when the report comes back. If they were as forwarded thinking as they would like to be, maybe council/mayor should had asked for a more in-depth study before implementing? Alas, hopefully the voters of our city can make some serious changes. They are so needed at City Hall.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3 p.m.
It's pretty clear how AA.com (or maybe just Mr. Stanton) stand on this topic. I pointed out several times now that we need to know how many rear-end crashes there are in a year to be able to compare this. We have to get that in the comments. We also keep getting the statement that "current state law" says X, but THERE IS NO STATE LAW on this. There is a state law that talks about yielding to pedestrians at signalized intersections - that's 257.612. Local jurisdictions are slowly passing the State Police recommended Uniform Traffic Code (UTC), but UTC has a recommended ordinance to deal with this because THERE IS NO STATE LAW dealing with these crosswalks. The UTC ordinance is: "R 28.1702 Rule 702. Pedestrians; right-of-way in crosswalk; violation as civil infraction. (1) When traffic-control signals are not in place or are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right -of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger, but a pedestrian shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into a path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. (2) A person who violates this rule is responsible for a civil infraction." That's what's being passed in most local jurisdictions in Michigan, since THERE IS NO STATE LAW dealing with this. So if we have this ordinance in place, and we enforce it, what do you think will happen? Rear-end crashes, of course. Because the problem is the way some people drive, not the ordinances.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.
First one is correct. The problem they tried to fix is having pedestrians stand there forever because no one would yield to them. It's a catch 22 - the motorists won't yield unless you're *in* the crosswalk (and as I keep pointing out from my own experience, a lot of them won't yield when you *are* in the crosswalk, have your hand pointed across the crosswalk, and when you have a bright flashing light in your hand that can be seen a half-mile away). But to be *in* the crosswalk on a lot of these streets, you have to step into the street, which is not particularly safe with speeding motorists headed toward you who have no intention of stopping. Second point would be right, but the UTC *is* the other local ordinance. I have no idea what you mean WRT how we interpret UTC, so I guess I'd have to say no to that one. Yes, we have the option of switching back to UTC. Council has already passed UTC, but chose to have a different midblock crosswalk ordinance. If they were to rescind that, the UTC ordinance would be in effect. The last one is a bit wrong. I've recommended that they stick with the UTC version and conduct real enforcement - as in plainclothes officers stepping into crosswalks and ticketing people who don't yield like they should. I've suggested a way to possibly deal with the "peds waiting but no one yielding" problem separately, but really, the problem is that AFAIK the police have never enforced any of the pedestrian ordinances Ann Arbor has had. If it looks like I'm in favor of the "approaching" wording, that's because I'm defending it, not because I think that's the best option. It doesn't strike me as a problem - and I think most people arguing against it are really saying that motorists shouldn't have to stop for pedestrians - or at least, that's what their argument boils down to. But as I've told my council members, the important thing is the enforcement. If the police will enforce UTC, great, go with UTC.
say it plain
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.
okay, okay...gotcha... there is UTC *ordinance* and most jurisdictions are passing a local law that says stop for pedestrians crossing the roadway at a crosswalk *or* when the pedestrian is *approaching* so closely from the other side as to be in danger if you didn't stop on your side.. So, can you clarify then... the Ann Arbor law is different from this because we decided we needed to make it not *crossing* already but *merely approaching* from the sidewalk... is that correct? It is fair to say then that our law is different from both the other local laws and the UTC State Police-based recommendations, right? That what we do is still--despite some apparent attempt to characterize it differently--"special" in how we interpret the state-wide UTC, correct? And we have the option of chosing to make it in line with other MI jurisdictions, correct? But you and the WBWC folks believe that we should be different in the law and create a standard of 'approaching from the sidewalk' , correct?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.
Maybe if the city stopped spending so much money on "art" and other "important" things they would have more room in their budget for the more expensive HAWK signals.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.
Council needs to get over itself - they are not doing things in a manner that protects the public, rather the opposite and putting pedestrians and car drivers in a dangerous position, apparently because that's what they want. If the state has a law, one would hope a lot of research was done before it was instituted so why does council think they know better, and probably without having done much to no research. Voting them out is the first step. They are blatantly out of touch with reality and running rampant with their own wants. Second step now seems to be a lawsuit where the council members are jointly and severally? named in the litigation. Enough is enough and neither a pedestrian nor a driver should risk life and limb to pacify a totally asinine law.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.
I've seen om more than one occasion pedestrians having near misses because they cannot be seen stepping out from behind larger vehicles that have stopped for them. There are also bus stops right next to cross walks and its hard to tell whether they are waiting for the bus or waiting to cross. Council will do what it wants regardless of what the electorate wants and the brain dead keep re-electing them. My advice would be to either vote them out and repeal it or quit complaining.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.
Except passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian is also illegal - that's one of the State Police recommended ordinances, and is also in effect already.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.
I'd like to see some of the more outspoken people here try a little exercise; - Drive at *exactly* the speed limit on every road for one entire day - Stop completely at stop signs - Basically be a stickler for every law on the books pertaining to driving, for one day Then watch how many people speed past you, or don't stop where they're supposed to, or are generally impatient and unwilling to follow the laws already on the books. And before you say "well cyclists don't stop either, and jaywalking!" – given the percentages of motorists to pedestrians/cyclists, you'll find these offenses far outnumber any other transportation form's issues. You can't blame City Council for trying to make Ann Arbor a safer place to walk, they're just reacting to the unthinking behavior of most drivers these days. (But yes, Plymouth Road, and any 4-lane road, should have HAWK signals)
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:16 p.m.
And, legally a crosswalk exists at most intersections, whether it's marked or not. ""Cross-walk" means: (a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs, or in the absence of curbs from the edges of the traversable highway." They don't have to put the lines in to make it a crosswalk if it's at an intersection. LA did a sting operation a year ago where they had plainclothes LAPD officers walking in unmarked crosswalks at intersections and wrote 159 tickets.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.
@James, there is a big difference between jaywalkers and 4,000 lbs vehicles. Jaywalkers don't crush people when they jaywalk. Hence the priority. Also, jaywalking is legal in A2 so long as it is not unsafe or obstructing traffic.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.
"Then watch how many people speed past you, or don't stop where they're supposed to, or are generally impatient and unwilling to follow the laws already on the books. And before you say "well cyclists don't stop either, and jaywalking!" – given the percentages of motorists to pedestrians/cyclists, you'll find these offenses far outnumber any other transportation form's issues." You blame the motorists and then just completely pass off jaywalking, when there are many more students walking down town than cars driving on road. Some of the pedestrians on this forum also need to try this little exercise: 1) when crossing at a stop light, only walk when the light says "walk". 2) Don't cross where there is no crosswalk. This makes it easier for cars to see you If the city council really wanted to make the city safer for everyone, they would enforce jaywalking laws that are already on the books. By not doing so, it has only encouraged a pedestrian culture of ignoring lights and not walking at designated cross walks. It's obvious to me that there is an extreme bias towards motorists.
Woman in Ypsilanti
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.
I blame city council for thinking that adding a bad ordinance will make up for the lack of enforcement of existing laws.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.
Man, how could I forget that one. That, besides speeding, is probably the most ignored basic traffic law on the books.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.
You forgot an important one - come to a complete stop before the crosswalk at intersections, not *on* the crosswalk. Too many drivers just assume the crosswalk is clear. It's the entitlement mentality that they don't need to yield to pedestrians.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.
The reason this local ordinance is causing severe safety problems is that it is NOT uniform with Michigan state law, or the laws of most other states. When the law is different than in Dexter, Brighton, Detroit, Columbus, Miami or Phoenix it just invites confusion, non-compliance and disasters. Ann Arbor (and every Michigan city) is required to conform to the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD). This involves more than the size, shape and color of the signs - it involves the MEANING of those devices. This improper ordinance needs to be repealed, and we should conform to the state law. Then the city should turn its focus to better identifying the crosswalks with signs and freshly painted crossings, and perhaps using other solutions in a few places such as HAWK crossings or more pedestrian controlled traffic lights that are green most of the time for the main road but red when a pedestrian needs to cross (Packard and Pine Valley for example). James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, <a href="http://www.motorists.org" rel='nofollow'>www.motorists.org</a> , Ann Arbor, MI
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.
Stuart, why don't you let Jim answer?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.
KJMClark, Jim said, "...NOT uniform with Michigan state law..." The lack of a State law and the fact of an Ann Arbor law is a non-uniformity. Ann Arbor's law was created by people who wish, "...to appear engaged..." without having to spend any money to upgrade the pedestrian crossings. Hieftje and company are always on the lookout to raise revenue by picking the pockets of people who can't say no.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.
Except that there is no state law. Go find it and report back. Remember, you're looking for a law that applies at a marked crosswalk where there are no signals. Hint, it's not 257.612, which applies at signalized intersections.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.
Yesterday I stood on the curb at a very well marked crosswalk on Miller Ave. and waited for traffic to follow the law. The first vehicle to approach was an Ann Arbor police cruiser. He did not stop. The five cars behind him followed his bad example.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.
I find it interesting and alarming that most of the posts on here are against this ordinance. The fact that state law already dictates that pedstrians have the right of way should make all of these arguements moot. I agree that there are certain places that the city could do more to improve safety especially on Plymouth road and few other areas. However, I think that the bigger issue here is people not taking responsibilty for there actions and people not paying attention to the road in front of them. If someone is to rear end another vehicle, they are usually at fault in most states for numerous reasons (tailgating, speeding, talking, texting, eating and/or just not paying attention to the road). Being a frequent pedestrian on the westside of Ann Arbor I have witnessed first hand how drivers consistently disregard the fact that pedestrians have right of way (regardless of the "local ordinance"). It would be one thing if a pedestrian was jaywalking, but I am speaking of clearly marked and signed cross walks (7th and Washington comes to mind) I have personally been in crosswalks and had drivers speed up and swerve around me in order to avoid stopping. Whether the police chief likes it our not, he really needs to stop complaining about the law and enforce it before more pedestrians are killed. I am sorry for all of the drivers who have experienced rear end collisions, but please direct your anger at the motorist who hit you because they were not paying attention and not at the city council for trying to make our city safer for pedestrians! Charlie Corbin
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.
"A pedestrian with a red has to wait and a motorist with a green gets to go in this case. No, the pedestrian doesn't have or get right of way." Then we agree somewhat. The pedestrian does not always have the right of way. That's the only point I was trying to make. However, if a driver sees a pedestrian crossing against the light, he does in fact have to try to avoid hitting him, even though the right of way is his.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.
No, as I said, I don't comprehend that, because the law is the opposite. MCL 257.613: "(1) If special pedestrian control signals are not utilized, the regular traffic control signals as indicated in section 612 shall apply to pedestrians as follows: ... (c) Steady red indication. Pedestrians facing the signal shall not enter the highway unless they can do so safely and without interfering with vehicular traffic." So no, that doesn't make any sense. A pedestrian with a red has to wait and a motorist with a green gets to go in this case. No, the pedestrian doesn't have or get right of way. The motorist does *not* yield right of way to the pedestrian. Any pedestrian walking in this situation is risking their life. Hopefully a motorist won't hit them, but that's not even close to what we're talking about with this ordinance.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.
No KJM, I'm saying when the DRIVER has the green light, and the pedestrian has the RED light, the driver must yield the right of way that is his to yield if a pedestrian crosses against the light. The pedestrian in that case does not HAVE the right of way, but the driver needs to yield anyway, to avoid striking said ped. Comprehend?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.
Um, Mike, that's the most creative interpretation of "yield right-of-way" I've ever seen. I'm still trying to figure out what you're trying to say there. Are you saying in the last paragraph that a pedestrian walking across traffic with a green light should be yielded to? Because the law says the opposite. The State Police recommended ordinance says when traffic signals are not in place or not working, you have to yield right-of-way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stopping if necessary to so yield. That means you are in effect presented with a yield sign. Traffic crossing when you have a yield sign most certainly does have the right to cross, and you're liable if there's a crash.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6 p.m.
"The fact that state law already dictates that pedstrians have the right of way should make all of these arguements moot" There is no such law. The law is that motorists must YIELD the right of way to pedestrians. You cannot yield anything you don't have. To say pedestrians always have the right of way would be to say it's perfectly acceptable to cross a freeway on foot. Simply explained, if a pedestrian decides to cross the street when traffic has a green light, the driver must yield the right of way, so as to not strike the pedestrian. It doesn't mean the pedestrian had the right to cross, just that the driver can't strike him/her when he can avoid doing so.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.
"Give Yourself Time and Space to Stop: A three- to four-second following distance is required. When the rear of the vehicle ahead passes a sign or any other stationary point, calculate the time it takes you to reach the same spot by counting "one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three." You are following too closely if you pass the mark before you finish counting for three seconds. When speeds are increased, or during adverse driving conditions, increase your following distance up to six seconds." – From the State of Michigan's 'What Every Driver Must Know' If this was taken more seriously, rear-ending accidents wouldn't be an issue.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.
Oh, gosh, Peter. You are asking the typical American (not just A2) motorist to drive carefully and rationally. To say nothing of legally. What can you possibly be thinking??
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.
Peter, Do you have a reply to my concerns regarding children? The new ordinance was not well thought out and I believe it will get a kid serious injured or killed. If we are going to do this then we need to address all the intersections that have only two way stops.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2 p.m.
"Jones noted police have written only nine tickets under the new ordinance." Does that figure include the "Failure to maintain a safe distance" tickets written following the demolition derbies?
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.
The headline has it backwards. The ordinance was caused BY dysfunction - the dysfunction of City Council.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.
What happened to "defensive driving"? - trying to avoid traffic problems (including running over pedestrians, traffic barrels, hubcaps, etc) - I don't feel the "law" needed to be modified in Ann Arbor (repeal is reasonable to me); I have not had any emotionally stressful moments from the policy; I do believe that a driver paying attention should not have any serious problems from the Ann Arbor policy; (1) Note that one of the "rear-end" victims noted above had stopped BEHIND other cars that also stopped - so one careless driver rearend-ed one of several cars that stopped properly; (2) If the city wishes to retain the law then they should increase the public safety (police) resources available for traffic enforcement;
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.
THIS ORIDANCE MUST BE REPEALED - look a the photo in this article, the signage reads to stop for pedestrians WITHIN the crosswalk. As all of you know, the ordiance requires motorist to stop for pedestrians APPROACHING the crosswalk. All the crosswalk signs in Ann Arbor are miswritten. Plus some of the crosswalks share the exact same spot with a bus stop. If someone is waiting for the bus, how am I to know if that person's intention is to wait for the bus or cross the road. And what does it tells when the city is not reporting ticketed motorists to the Secreatary of State department. They don't want to add points onto a drivers record because they know this ordiance is not right.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.
I should think that crosswalks on any street with a speed limit north of 35 MPH should be traffic-light controlled (like the pedestrian-controlled light at Chapin/Third and Huron Streets). As for those crosswalks on streets with a speed limit of 35 MPH or fewer, I should think that motorists should be better forewarned when approaching frequently used crosswalks. A well-placed speed bump or, less obnoxious, speed table 25 yards or more in advance of the crosswalk would help slow motorists down (without necessarily bringing traffic to a dead-stop) which would help prepare drivers (and those following them in queue) should they need to continue to brake for pedestrians farther ahead. It's really not that hard.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.
The public interest requires the immediate repeal of this unwise ordinance. The Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, which convinced the City Council to ignore reality and adopt the ordinance, should publicly apologize. I'm not holding my breath.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.
David - what should they change it to? If they repeal it, the UTC version automatically goes into effect, since Council already adopted that. Are you OK with the UTC ordinance?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.
What is your legal opinion about accident victims filing a class action suit? Is it possible for a city ordinance if it can be proven negligent and a threat to public safety?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.
And just to make things worse, note that the sign in the second photo says "stop for pedestrian WITHIN crosswalk" so even the signs put up in Ann Arbor aren't consistent with the Ann Arbor law.
Woman in Ypsilanti
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.
Those signs reflect the more reasonable state law. I am waiting for city council to spend a lot of money changing the signs to reflect the current ordinance. As soon as that happens, they'll get voted out and the signs will all need to be changed back.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.
I agree completely with DennisP. In addition, I thought State law instructs pedestrians to "wait until traffic has cleared" before crossing the street, how can all our out of town drivers know the rules are reversed in Ann Arbor? Here, you must wait for pedestrians using the roadway. There are many misunderstandings concerning pedestrian "rights". Once while I was waiting to make a right turn, waiting for pedestrians to cross with the "walk" light, the light finally turned to "don't walk" and I inched forward but the pedestrians kept walking into the intersection, I had other cars behind me wanting to turn as well, so I beeped my horn. A pedestrian looked at me and shouted "Pedestrians have the right of way!". How many traffic rules can they ignore?
Woman in Ypsilanti
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.
fwiw, I am pretty sure that pedestrians do have the right of way if the walk sign is blinking "don't walk". The blinking is just a suggestion to pedestrians to let them know that if they enter the intersection at that time, they might not have sufficient time to cross before the signal changes to an actual "don't walk" signal. The number of cars waiting to turn is irrelevant.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.
I am guessing Erica Briggs still supports the ordinance because she pushed so much for it to happen. Many times, people prefer to save face and refuse to concede they had a bad idea rather than acknowledge the mounting evidence at hand. I see that attitude a lot in Ann Arbor. What ever happened to people taking responsibility and saying, "You know there is probably a better solution and I'm sorry this has caused so many problems for people. It was only my intention to help." The awesome Ann Arbor police seems to have caught on early and they aren't ticketing people anymore. I'm surprised the chief wasn't flogged in city hall for expressing his concern. Does anyone know if accident victims can form a class action suit?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.
Please help repeal this law with your vote on Tuesday November 8th, VOTE for Change!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.
I will write in a vote for vehicular personhood. CARS ARE PEOPLE TOO
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.
I find THIS to be a much bigger indication of the idiocy and mismanagement in our council today: "The court is not reporting the violations to the Secretary of State for point assessments because it's been determined the ordinance doesn't substantially correspond with the state motor vehicle code." Uh, doesn't the city pay SEVERAL attorneys a huge amount of money ? No one could look at this thing and determine BEFORE it was passed that it doesn't correspond with the state vehicle code? So what's the process for coming up with ordinances? Pass them, enforce them, THEN the attorneys make their money defending lawsuits when citizens hire their own attorneys and sue because of the unfairly assigned points? Seriously, there's no mechanism for making sure something's legal before they pass it? Anyone see a massive waste of time and an appalling lack of common sense here? So no one at city council looked at their new ordinance and said "uh, are we sure we can actually DO this?" Although, if the choice is between 1) them just passing stuff without thinking about it or 2) hiring out-of-state consulting firms to come in and charge $260,000 for a study that turns out wrong anyway, I guess I'll take the former. Wish those weren't the only two choices, though.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:58 p.m.
I have never met so many important people since moving to Ann Arbor. My God, people, put down the phone! I have watched cars blast past pedestrians waiting to cross on Liberty at Virginia where there are multiple crosswalks, all with stop signs. My friend has waited 15 minutes for traffic to clear AT AN INTERSECTION with a traffic signal. My employee has witnessed Police cars blowing past him as he tried to cross Stadium Blvd. at one of these new crosswalks. If the Police are setting such a poor example, then what do we expect? How many of you in the angry mob have been a pedestrian recently? I would implore you to park your car and give it a try. Only then will you understand why the community made the decision to enforce the crosswalks. We need to have more faith in our Government, and perhaps try harder to obey the laws.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:07 a.m.
Woman in Ypsi - because there's no state midblock crosswalk law to enforce. The state law talks about crosswalks at signals. When the police write a ticket, they have to be able to cite a law that was broken, and there *isn't* a state law that applies.
Woman in Ypsilanti
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.
I am a pedestrian in Ann Arbor much more often than I am a driver. I do sometimes have trouble with drivers who don't obey the current state laws but adding a bad ordinance won't change that. The people who are violating the existing and much more reasonable state law aren't going to start respecting the new ordinance. But that ordinance will get a lot of law abiding citizens to slam on their brakes, thus putting them in danger of being read ended. I don't see why the city didn't just start enforcing the existing state crosswalk law.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.
-Michigan has speeds of 45mph on roads with pedestrians, driveways, and entering business traffic. Why on earth would one expect laws of physics to change and make that car be able to stop from that speed in the time needed for crosswalks to be seen and recognized as populated? The problems with driver habits in Michigan is multi-layered.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.
The ordinance was in place for a year without any problems. What changed was that the police started enforcing ***anything*** about stopping for crosswalks. Some people actually started yielding to pedestrians, like they always should have been. Let's say we go to the ordinance recommended by the State Police, and that most of the rest of the communities in the state are adopting. The wording is: "the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right -of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger," You still have to yield, you still have to stop, "approaching" is still there. This is the state "law" people keep talking about. The problem here is the number of motorists who speed, tailgate, and don't want to obey *any* crosswalk law - and the lack of police enforcement over the last 50 years that has led to this.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:04 a.m.
DBH - It's no more frustrating than driving anywhere. My kids think riding with me driving is quite an adventure - I'm usually calling someone a moron or idiot about every minute or two. Of course, the really frustrating thing is not being able to find a loud enough horn for my truck. All of this would work so much better if Michigan police would enforce the laws and people would follow them...
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.
KJMClark, thanks very much for taking the time out to reply. I appreciate what must be a frustrating endeavor for you. Thanks again.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.
DBH - The "approaching" in AA ordinance refers to approaching from the sides - off the roadway. The AA ordinance says you have to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk even if the ped is on the other side and leaving your side. (I didn't write it.) The recommended ordinance says approaching from the other side - ie a ped already in the crosswalk, coming from the other side of the road toward your side. I'm not claiming they're the same, but a lot of people have said they can't figure out approaching, despite the fact that the word is in the recommended version too, and in the yield sign law. Second - there is no state law. There is a State Police recommended ordinance *because* there is no state law. If there were a state law, they wouldn't recommend an ordinance. The state does not mandate yielding to pedestrians in marked mid-block crosswalks explicitly, though you could argue that they kind of do, because they allow you to put the crosswalk stripe in, call it a traffic control device, and mandate that you obey the traffic control devices - only problem is, there's no state law to tell you what you're supposed to do there. Uniform Traffic Code (UTC) is intended to fill in blanks like that. There's no state law that says what to do with bike lanes either - its in UTC. The State Police and the Michigan Municipal League recommend that communities adopt UTC, and the legislature put a few carrots into the law to encourage it, but local jurisdictions aren't required to adopt it. Ann Arbor didn't until a few years ago.
Woman in Ypsilanti
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.
FWIW, I don't have any problem with Ann Arbor enforcing the more reasonable state law. The problem with the Ann Arbor ordinance is that it requires drivers to stop for people *approaching* the crosswalk but, because pedestrians approaching a crosswalk are more difficult to see than pedestrians in a cross walk, drivers don't usually see them in time to stop safely. So they slam on their brakes which dramatically increases the likelihood that they will be rear ended. The dumb thing is that this new ordinance is going to be enforced about as well as the old ordinance, i.e. not at all. Or worse, it will be enforced just enough to have some minority of people slamming on their brakes. I am not even sure exactly how enforceable the current ordinance is anyways. I've already decided to ignore pedestrians approaching cross walks if they aren't actually standing and waiting to cross because otherwise it isn't clear that they want to cross. And if I don't see the pedestrian in time to stop safely, I'll just risk the ticket and take it court if I get one. If I can stop safely, I'll continue to stop but I do reserve the right to roll down my window and yell, "Hey $%#&^%#, are you going to get off your phone and cross the street?" to anyone standing at a cross walk talking on the phone who doesn't cross when I stop. (that has happened to me multiple times) As a pedestrian, I'll just keep doing what I've always done which is to cross at signaled crosswalks or to wait until I can safely cross at unsignaled ones. I might note as a frequent pedestrian that this ordinance has not improved my ability to cross the street. I still have a lot of close calls with drivers in signaled cross walks.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.
KJMClark, please clarify if you would. Does the "approaching" part of the Ann Arbor ordinance equate to that in the State Police recommended ordinance? That is, is the "approaching" portion of the Ann Arbor ordinance relevant only for a pedestrian already in the roadway, and refers to the approach of the pedestrian "from the opposite half of the roadway?" Does it not refer to someone not in the roadway at all but approaching the crosswalk from (for example) the sidewalk? Secondly, I have been under the (apparent) misimpression that this is a law/ordinance throughout Michigan. By your comment, am I correct in understanding that this is not mandated in any Michigan community by the State of Michigan, that the state (via the MSP) has a recommended (or model) ordinance they recommend, and on which the Ann Arbor ordinance was based? Thanks in advance.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.
I will note that the middle picture above is an example of how the signs do not reflect the law. They reflect the old law. "within crosswalk". It would be sort of like dropping a speed limit from 45 to 35 but not changing the signs.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.
Those of you who have been rear-ended: Class action suit, anyone?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.
Ya! Why should we be responsible for the cops starting to enforce the law?!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.
Totally predictable results. And to have researched it so poorly that the points they tried to hit us and threaten us with with are not even allowable under Michigan law! I for one, will be careful, as always, of pedestrians, but will no longer try to stop in one of their crosswalks if there are any cars behind me.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:02 a.m.
This is the problem with politicians making decisions instead of traffic engineers and law enforcement officers. Did council ever consult with professionals about this? I doubt it. Council is short-sighted and clearly has an overly developed sense of it's own expertise on what our city needs.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.
I wonder how members of the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition will feel when an elementary school kid is killed by their advocacy? You see, we are now confusing school children about how to cross the street safely. Even at a crosswalk it is prudent for kids to wait for cars to clear at intersections with 2 way stops before entering the crosswalk if they are crossing without the benefit of the stop sign. If fact, that's what kids have been taught for years at safety town. But now we change the rules, eliminate all but 11 crossing guards and increase the walking zone. Are we really going to wait until an elementary school kid is killed to do something? Enforce the state law and repeal the ordinance.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.
Apart from the "approaching" part of the Ann Arbor ordinance, my understanding is that the rest of the ordinance is basically the same as state law. The "approaching" portion of the ordinance is stupid and should be repealed. Education about, and enforcement of, the ordinance otherwise should be done uniformly on a statewide level since it is a state law and all drivers in Michigan should be following the law. If a statewide evaluation deems the law to be ill-advised, the law should be repealed statewide or modifications should be made to the law to make it reasonable for all involved, pedestrians and drivers. This needs to be done on a state level, not community by community.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.
So, Mayor and Council and Ms. Briggs - is it as obvious to you as it is to everyone else now that your "tweaking" has resulted in a dysfunctional and dangerous mess for pedestrians and motorists alike? Even the Mayor is now realizing that it's going to take a better solution than wishful thinking. And will you hurry up with your "rethinking" on this before someone gets seriously injured or killed.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:51 p.m.
Fact - if a ped is 1/2 way across and an accident occurs, then the new law didn't cause it... Fact - Plymouth Road's speed limits, like most, are not followed. Fact - City Council passed an ordinance, with legal guidance, that assesses points, but "The court is not reporting the violations to the Secretary of State for point assessments because it's been determined the ordinance doesn't substantially correspond with the state motor vehicle code." In other words, someone is not competent and wasted time and money... And this is the first we're hearing this. Fact - if a person crosses a road without looking because "the law requires cars to stop" they are taking a stupid risk. The law says it is illegal to rob someone, but you don't go into a bad section of a town eating money around. Reality - Peds need to carefully check before crossing. You don't OWN the road, you SHARE it. Reality - Hiring one extra patrolman to just put up speed traps would generate multiples of his/her salary.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.
Haven't stopped yet. Won't stop for em. If i'm downtown and the college kids are en masse, then yeah, sometimes you gotta let the herd through. That's as far as it goes. Not a chance I'm stopping anywhere else in town, for sure no way im stopping for em on Plymouth, thats just stupid. Call it what you want, but physics dictates that if your sense of entitlement to cross goes up against a cars sense of inertia, you lose. Peace
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:59 a.m.
Speaking of "just stupid" is YOUR level of entitlement...and I am opposed to this new twist on crosswalk behavior. Deliberate disobedience is short sighted. Just because you are propelling 3,000 lbs of metal doesn't give you the right to not yield.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.
To City Council Members: This is a serious issue on multiple lane roads. One day a car might stop, pedestrians start walking and a second car goes around in the adjacent lane causing serious injury or a fatality. As council members you often do things for which I do not agree (too numerous to mention) and through your arrogance you continue on and continue to be re-elected. Please repeal this ridiculous ordinance. Given that professionals like your chief of police, traffic engineers, and others are warning you, you might want to check to see if you have personal liability if you continue. You are certainly putting the city at risk through your reluctance to admit (yet another) mistake.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.
Police Chief Barnett Jones said "City Council has tweaked the ordinance a little, but it's caused a lot of dysfunction, and I know that the City Council is now taking a look at it." Man up Chief. Admit it has been a boondoggle. The officers aren't enforcing the ordinance if only 9 tickets have been written. Especially since you made them go to selected crosswalks throughout the city for a 2 week period. The only things dysfunctional are Ann Arbor City Council and the Police Chief. Vote Tuesday!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.
Erica Briggs, a city planning commissioner and board member for the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, has been one of the leading proponents of the crosswalk law. i am so tired of the bicycling group taking over ann arbor. they have cut the traffic lanes down because they need more space on the sides. well you talk about about money cost. i talk about useage. i have not seen enough bikers in those lanes to justify the lanes. roads were made for cars. now they are taking over crosswalks concept. come on lets vote on it and see whom is right. you need to stop listening to this group of bikers. listen you common sense. this what is best for the people.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.
ron we went from radio to tv. so time does change things. right now i would consider cars are not the center of the world. try doing with out them?!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.
"Actually, roads were made for pedestrians, horses, and bicycles." That's strange, because those funny white and yellow lines painted on them are just the right size for cars. And why do we bother paving them, horses would probably prefer dirt roads?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.
bikers do not give a darn. i have seen them cut between the left turn lane and the straight ahead. then they turn left. i have never and mean never seen a biker stop and let people go ahead. nothing against bikers i think it is fun and healthy to ride a bike. but they do not stop any time. if they do sorry i have not seen them.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.
Bicyclists and crosswalks don't mix. A bicyclist must stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk too, because they (are supposed to) follow the same laws as a car. If a bicyclist is riding their bike IN the crosswalk and that crosswalk isn't part of a bikepath, then they are riding illegally.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.
"roads were made for cars" Actually, roads were made for pedestrians, horses, and bicycles. Cars came much later. Driving a car, however, does not make one the center of the world.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.
I am all for bicycle lanes because it keeps the bikers from riding down the middle of the street and holding up traffic with smug and obtuse expressions. "Look at me, I can ride down the middle of the road and you have to respect me so there!"
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.
It's easy to hop on the rhetoric bus and blame "distracted driving" but there's a foolish assumption from those who apparently don't really know how to drive that you cannot drive with tunnel vision. First, it's humanly impossible to not be distracted when confronted with all the things on the road. Secondly, pedestrians "approaching" a crosswalk aren't in your primary line of site and you don't have time to focus on them to determine their intentions. Third, it's often difficult to see what cars ahead of you see and sudden stops are the most dangerous thing on the road. Further, some of these crosswalks are positioned in areas where you cannot see a pedestrian until you are shortly upon them. E.g. there's one on Stadium that you encounter as you are coming out of bend in the road where Stadium converts from east-west to north-south and another near Jackson where a pole obstructs the view of pedestrians. Worse, many pedestrians may be dangerously misunderstanding the law. Several times now I've seen pedestrians jump into an intersection against the traffic light assuming that cars need to stop because they are crossing the walk. Another instance, I saw a man with his dog cross a street where there was no crosswalk at all and saunter across it with cars approaching assuming the cars must stop. I've not seen anything like that before this law was passed, but I see it once every week or two now. This is a poorly thought out law. Ms. Briggs now wishes to hide behind a mantra of "distracted driving" and I'm sure believes another ordinance is the solution to a poor one. What we need are fewer laws passed on supposition and perception. Laws should be evidenced-based and drafted only when the problem is clearly demonstrable and only to the extent it can be shown that a law will correct the problem without creating worse ones. Laws shouldn't be visceral responses born of political opportunism.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:25 p.m.
Typical: car stops for pedestrian or to let a car enter traffic. Dummy, oh say 3 cars behind, decides everyone stopping is an idiot and speeds up in open lane to get ahead. pedestrian crossing of car entering is sitting target for idiot driving car. see it every day in ann arbor. if WE HAD ENOUGH POLICE TO HAVE ACTUAL PATROLS traffic could be better monitored and idiot could be ticketed heavily for being so stupid and dangerous. Please vote out as many sitting city council members as possible on tuesday. they have done a miserable job across the board and ann arbor deserves better.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.
Bob, how about Ann Arbor just outlaws internal combustion engines?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.
Just like grade school, we should hire a crossing guard with a safety vest and stop sign to protect the vulnerable from the dangerous stupid idiot drivers. Plymouth Road should be marked 25MPH, filled with speed bumps, and converted to three lanes.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:22 p.m.
Well if the state would have an law and enforce it for texting & driving or screwing around with your phone there wouldn't be so many rear end accidents. Also, if your marking the cross walks, why not put in a simple warning light (flashing red or strobes) so like in the old days when a pedestrian approaches a cross walk they push a button, waid 30 seconds then proceede across the street. If you have ever drive on State street through UofM the students just step off the curb without even looking, they are crazy. If a car hits a pedestrian the person is going to loose every time, I think it is the pedestrians responsabily to look & confirm the vehicles have stopped befor they step off the curb. Remember, stop, look and listen .....BEFORE you cross the street!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.
There IS a state law against texting while driving. It Also outlaws evven reading a text while driving.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.
While some of what you write is sensible your first assertion about a state law on texting is conclusory speculation at best and resonates with the typical hyperbole surrounding "distracted driviing". It's as if we never had rear-end collisions before cell phones? I don't engage in texting but I can assert that Ann Arbor does have such an ordinance and it doesn't seem to have played a part in any of this. The article doesn't say that anyone who rear-ended another was texting or even using a cell phone. I don't believe that this problem has much, if anything, to do with cell phones.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.
Brian, I believe there is a law against at least texting while driving. Having said that though I do agree with you about driving on or near the campus area. No one bothers to look before crossing and just assumes since they are a UM student the motorist has to stop.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:22 p.m.
I think this ordinance is idiotic but to be fair, EVERYONE is in too big of a hurry all the time. SLOW DOWN!!! And pay attention while your driving and you won't rear end somebody if they have to stop in front of you for any reason.
Charlie Brown's Ghost
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:02 a.m.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.
It should be mandatory that not only should vehicles stop, but drivers should have to get out of their cars, thank the pedestrians for saving the environment, and present the pedestrians with a fruit basket.
Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.
I deal with the public every day and I believe Mike Judge has predicted the future! As I say this I realize I should turn off the computer and go do something! haha
Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 8:55 a.m.
I will have to watch it. Thanks LizMurdo!
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.
@ Richard: Have you seen the Mike Judge movie, Idiocracy? If not, go now, rent or download it (legally, of course)! It is farcical, but completely supports the theory of "dumbing down." It is almost scary...
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.
I love you! I'm sure A2 news will delete your comment even though its awesome. Here is my comment to be deleted by A2 news. There is a growing number of scientists who believe humans are starting to dumb down. Essentially we are becoming sheep, or slaves to our technology. Also, if vegetarians don't get correct amounts of seven essential proteins, they become stupid. Ann Arbor is the perfect place to test these theories and they can start with local government.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.
an organic fruit basket please.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.
What has become abundantly clear to everyone now that the new law is in place, and was clear to many pedestrians prior to 2010, is that our crosswalks require enhanced engineering to make them safe for all users. Pedestrians (especially children, our aging population, individuals with disabilities) and motorists require well designed crosswalks. Accidents and frustration by the public should not be ignored, but the solution is not to revert to our old ordinance, but rather to seek appropriate engineering and education solutions. Rear-end accidents are a problem across the city, not only at crosswalks, but at locations where engineering cannot be blamed (stop lights and stop signs). Enforce anti-texting laws and speed limits. We will not be able to eliminate all rear-end accidents in our city through enforcement, engineering or education, but we can properly place the blame on the individual who is responsible- the driver who was driving too fast or not paying attention around a curve and caused the accident. While WBWC does agrees that crosswalk design is likely playing a role in some of rear-end crashes we are seeing, it is not the only culprit.We can perfectly engineer our crosswalks and educate all motorists regarding the new law & we will continue to see rear-end accidents at crosswalks, as well as many other locations around Ann Arbor. See crash data below. WBWC shares the anger and frustration voiced by many commenters regarding safety, but we continue to urge the city to carefully look for solutions to the problems that both improve safety and enhance our community's accessibility and livability. Crash data: In 2009, there were 1032 rear-end crashes in Ann Arbor -986 of these crashes did not involve turning movements -380 rear-end crashes were at intersections -42 of these crashes were on Plymouth Road -0 rear-end crashes noted a pedestrian as a factor
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.
Enforcement of distracted driving laws and speeding will solve all of our problems? Ah yes, when all else fails, fall back on the "speed kills" mantra that's been repeated since the 1970s. I'd love to see these laws enforced to the degree that would make the pedestrian ordinance work properly; perhaps you could arrange for the sun to rise in the west tomorrow, while you're at it.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.
@KJM I believe you're right and stand corrected. I would note that the recommended State Police ordinance contains a clarification of "approaching" ("...or when the pedestrian is approaching SO CLOSELY FROM THE OPPOSITE HALF OF THE ROADWAY AS TO BE IN DANGER, ..."), which the City Council omitted. However, regardless of ordinance language, I think the intent of the ordinance is clear, but the implementation is less than adequate. I, for one, am not opposed to the ordinance if it is clearly written, but also call for reconsideration of HOW it's been implemented on wide thoroughfares such as Plymouth Rd. and Washtenaw Ave. Rather than finger pointing (distracted drivers, aggressive pedestrians..etc., etc.), we should be looking for a solution that makes it safe for drivers and pedestrians alike, and the present situation is neither.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.
WBWC-the car is king. Will continue to be until otherwise. Heck, even mainland China are moving away from bicycles. I wonder though, was the WBWC in this much of an uproar when the 600 space parking garage was planned? I don't remember. Also, how do you (your group) suppose those cars are going to get out of downtown in a efficient manner at 5pm. each day when Division was reduced to two-lanes from four. Or, bike lanes added to downtown city streets? A2 can't have it both ways. Cars will clogged the streets of downtown at 5pm., increasing frustrations to the lack of a good flow of traffic. And don't even begin to think that we should get out of our cars and bike or walk. Tell that to the 20K commuters who come into our city daily. In the winter.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.
"-0 rear-end crashes noted a pedestrian as a factor" That was in 2009. Now there have been 8 citing pedestrians as factors since Sept. 18. What does that tell us?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.
All of this is MUTT since the ordinance was passed after 2009. It what we call a red herring.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.
Waterdipper, there is no state law, no matter how many times Mr. Stanton reports it wrong. However, the current State Police recommended ordinance reads: R 28.1702 Rule 702. Pedestrians; right-of-way in crosswalk; violation as civil infraction. (1) When traffic-control signals are not in place or are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right -of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger, but a pedestrian shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into a path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. (2) A person who violates this rule is responsible for a civil infraction." Passing another motorist who is stopped for a pedestrian is also illegal: "R 28.1703 Rule 703. Passing vehicle stopped at intersection to permit pedestrian to cross prohibited; violation as civil infraction. (1) When any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle. (2) A person who violates this rule is responsible for a civil infraction."
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.
"Accidents and frustration by the public should not be ignored, but the solution is not to revert to our old ordinance, but rather to seek appropriate engineering and education solutions. " Wait...how does the "new" AA ordinance really improve on the "old" (State) ordinance? As far as I can tell, all AA did was added the words "approaching" and nothing else, without bothering to provide a definition of "approaching" as used in the new ordinance. The real problem persists...drivers not stopping. Sounds like the real problem is not the "old" ordinance, but enforcement AND driver education, and a lack of good traffic engineering. IF the problem were just one of "distracted" drivers, we would have a lot more rear-enders at red traffic signals. I suggest the difference is one of visibility...it is often just difficult to spot a person standing at the edge of a crosswalk when you're on wide busy roads like Plymouth Rd or Washtenaw Ave and trying to keep track of everything else around you. Those crosswalks need a traffic control system (expen$ive) to be safe for both pedestrians AND drivers. Perhaps the City can hire a local artist to "dress-up" the HAWK system, then declare it "public art" and use the $2M+ public art fund to pay for those systems at appropriate crosswalks!!!
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.
I have a feeling the person making this comment is Erica Briggs, maybe not. But if I'm right, why create an ordinance that causes more rear end accidents and potential causes danger to pedestrians? Is is so hard to accept the idea is bad and something better needs to be in place? Would it totally destroy your ego to concede to this when even the Ann Arbor police, the real experts in public safety are saying the ordinance is bad?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1 p.m.
What about 2010, 2011?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.
Nice partial look at data. Not one rear-end crash "noted a pedestrian as a factor". Hard to believe, like in just because the report didn't note it, doesn't mean that there wasn't a ped in a crosswalk. And "42 of these crashes were on Plymouth Road" has no relationship to crosswalks.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.
How many were a result of texting while driving, they don't keep track of that statistic because it is not against the law.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:58 a.m.
An additional problem at one of the crosswalks on Plymouth is that it is directly in front of a bus stop. I have come to a stop several times thinking a person was waiting to cross, and it turned out they were just waiting for a bus. AATA needs to move that stop far enough down the road in order to stop needless interruptions to the flow of traffic and possible accidents.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.
Actually, the need to repeal the law. This is just another great example as to why.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.
Sadly predictable by anyone who has prior experience driving. This is because City Council tried to do pedestrian safety on the cheap. How many crossing could have been improved for the three-quarters of a million dollars spent (to date) on City Hall art? Cost of getting a ticket for not stopping: $100 fine + $30 "fee" = $130 tax. Cost of stopping and getting rear ended: $1000+ rear-end damage + injury + you might be pushed into a pedestrian and injury him or her. You do the math. Elections are next Tuesday. Ask your City Council member if they voted for this. If so, vote them out. (If they don't respond to you, it means they voted for this.)
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.
PLUS, let us not forget the TWO,2, points that goes on your record and increases your insurance rates. This was poorly thought out. A recent search of articles relating to the pedestrian crosswalks in Boulder, Colorado (that our law is supposedly modeled after) reveals that they took SIX, 6, years to study the issue. In addition, there was extensive education of the public.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:02 a.m.
I understand the math, but somewhere in your costing has to be striking a pedestrian and injuring/killing them. That's likely to be more than $130, but less than $1000...unless you have to make bail.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.
Common Sense missed another meeting of the A2 Council. Why should a string of cars all slam on their brakes because one person wants to cross the road? I always let the cars go, number one for safety's sake and number two because they can be way down the road on the way to where they're going while I walk my 100 feet accross the road.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.
Here's a novel idea! Look, Wait, listen before you cross the street?
Left is Right
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.
WBWC, OK, good for the greater community. Fine. What was put in place to measure the effectiveness of the new ordinance in achieving that goal? What was the problem before? How severe was it? How was the new ordinance expected to help and has it achieved that? What are the likely unintended consequences? (rear-end collisions? pedestrians getting whacked on multilane roads?) What did our Safety Town people say about the ordinance vis-a-vis teaching children to cross safely? I'll hazard a guess and say that there is no validated method in place to assess the effectiveness of this ordinance. I'll also say that there is no way extra laws should be passed unless there is expert agreement on methods for evaluating their effectiveness over time. A city council that passes such? Either they're incompetent or they don't give a ***; in either case, we have a problem. As a long-time pedestrian (and biker and driver) in this city, I agree that there are occasional car-pedestrian issues as well as poorly thought out crosswalks; however, this law borders on criminal negligence in that there is a high chance that it will result in injuries that would have not otherwise occurred.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.
"What's the big hurry?" "Why is your time more valuable than anyone else's?' I was going to ask the pedestrians the same thing.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.
What's the big hurry? What makes pressing the brake pedal such a massive burden? Why is your time more valuable than anyone else's?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.
Could WBWC be Erica Briggs?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.
Thanks for your comments Huron 74, Here's a different perspective: Good laws are created not because the are good for an individual, but because they are good for the greater community. Drivers can not assess individual need, but there are plenty of people who need the help of this law to cross safely on multi-lane roads/high-volume roads... the disabled, elderly, children. When the more vulnerable user has the right-of-way, our community becomes more accessible. If you feel strongly that you don't need motorists to stop for you, we urge you to keep a few steps back from the crosswalk and approach when all motorists have passed. But when you wave motorists on, they become frustrated and are less likely to take the time to stop for the next pedestrian-- someone who may truly need/want that motorist to stop. Also, no one is required to slam on their brakes for this law. That would be unsafe driving. Motorists with safe stopping distances are required to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. The people slamming on their brakes are those that weren't paying attention to the action's of the driver in front of them.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:23 a.m.
"Briggs agreed with Jones that the larger problem is distracted driving. She said it'd be a mistake to repeal the ordinance just because of the accidents that are happening". Maybe a couple of serious injuries would do the trick for you?
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.
The WBWC would like see have all cars removed from the city and bikes only. The car is king. Will continue to be despite how others feel, or would like to change. Their agenda is what drives this issue and its sad that the mayor has aligned himself with this small voting block. This, again, from the same city that is building a 600 space parking garage in the middle of downtown. Yup. Lets see that traffic attempt to get of dodge at 5pm with bike lanes reducing some streets from 4 lanes to 2.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.
"Erica Briggs, a city planning commissioner and board member for the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, has been one of the leading proponents of the crosswalk law." Thanks Ms. Briggs for all you had to do with making this law a reality and bringing the same quality of public service you provide to the city as a city planning commissioner to our driving and walking safety.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:19 a.m.
My experience on Plymouth Rd was, I had stopped for pedestrians to cross and the lane next to me was open and other cars in the lane next to me were just driving right through at 35 or 40 miles an hour unaware there were people in the crosswalk. It gave me a bonechilling feeling this was a perfect storm for a potential serious acccident. Some drivers are from out of town and are not up to date on these changes and just drive normally.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:12 a.m.
"said Police Chief Barnett Jones.... "City Council has tweaked the ordinance a little, but it's caused a lot of dysfunction" earth to city council, earth to city council, do you copy? The chief of police doesn't like your ordinance either.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.
That's not what that means at all.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.
As the "head honcho" of city law enforcement I would suggest his expertise in the area of law enforcement which includes traffic control , would carry more weight than the average civilian.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.
How is the chief of police any different than citizens who've said the same?