You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Vehicle idling ordinance back on Ann Arbor City Council agenda after 5-month hiatus

By Ryan J. Stanton

Members of the city's Environmental Commission are planning to give an update on a proposed vehicle idling ordinance at tonight's Ann Arbor City Council work session.

The council received a report and draft copy of the ordinance from the Environmental Commission last August, recommending a citywide ban on idling vehicles. But the council never took action on the ordinance and the idea hadn't resurfaced until now.

"The Environmental Commission requested an opportunity to update council on the draft idling reduction ordinance," City Administrator Steve Powers wrote to council members in memo, noting Commissioners John German and John Koupal will be presenting tonight.


Cars sit parked outside the U.S. Post Office on East Liberty in Ann Arbor. Cars are often left idling outside the building.

Angela Cesere |

No action is taken at council work sessions, but it's expected there will be some discussion and the issue could show up on a future agenda.

"The purpose of tonight's item is to update council. What happens after that, I don't know," said Powers, who has not taken a stance on the issue. "Council has not discussed it, so I cannot tell you what council's thoughts are on the need for an idling ordinance."

The council meets at 7 p.m. on the second floor of city hall at 301 E. Huron St.

The intended goal of the ordinance is to reduce unnecessary idling from internal combustion engines of all types. Many exemptions are allowed that recognize the need for some idling.

Matt Naud, the city's environmental coordinator, has argued an ordinance banning "egregious idling" could improve the community's health.

"Exposure to internal combustion engine exhaust is known to contribute to pulmonary diseases, particularly for sensitive populations, including asthma, lung cancer, bronchitis, acute respiratory infections, and emphysema," reads the draft resolution.

The resolution mentions the pollution caused by idling motors and notes the rates of asthma in Washtenaw County exceed asthma rates in the state of Michigan and the United States, with rates especially elevated the Ann Arbor zip codes of 48103, 48104 and 48105.

The proposed ordinance is based on recommendations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other model ordinances adopted in other cities and states.

That includes California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, as well as specifically in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Houston, St. Louis and other places.

"Unnecessary idling of internal combustion engines wastes a significant amount of non-renewable energy resources," the draft resolution states.

The Environmental Commission has recommended the City Council adopt the proposed idling ordinance and take the appropriate steps to educate the public about the negative effects of unnecessary idling on public health and non-renewable energy use.

As proposed in August, the ordinance would make a $100 ticket the minimum punishment for a driver who leaves a vehicle running while unoccupied for any amount of time or running for five minutes while occupied. For commercial vehicles, that minimum fine increases to $500.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Ming Bucibei

Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 6:18 a.m.

Pitch forkes, torches, boiling tar & feathers!! ride'em all out of town on a rail!! Vote them all out of office (the liberal-progressives)!! Cut spending, cut taxes (we are all over taxed as it is!!), cut cut cut!!! Ming Bucibei

Paul Epstein

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:24 p.m.

Maybe this idea could lead to cessation of Ann Arbor's traffic engineers' initiative of requiring stopping at 100% of the traffic signals by 100% of the vehicles or the closest sum possible to that goal? Our lights are SO atrocious that it makes me believe that it has to be deliberate, rather than just sloppily timed signals. Besides, many of the sensor-actuated lights turn red on approach instead of green, like they were designed to do, and stay red for cars sitting instead of turning green. All this adds up to tons and tons of idling that should not occur. Even at 3 or 4 in the morning you sit for several minutes at practically every light. Why? What's the purpose?


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

To those of you who feel that the city council is out of touch and outrageously liberal: "The proposed ordinance is based on recommendations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other model ordinances adopted in other cities and states. That includes California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, as well as specifically in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Houston, St. Louis and other places."

Stan Hyne

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

The answer is obvious, don't sit and Idle your car, drive around. In the winter or when it is raining, I would love to watch the traffic at the elementary school, driving in circles instead of sitting in their parked cars waiting for their children.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:18 a.m.

I love all these comments saying well I own a hybrid so i should be able to idle. Actually if you take into account all the emissions produced from mining the lithium shipping refining shipping making batteries shipping making battery packs shipping all before it gets to the car all in countries w few envriomental regulations your prious has a lager carbon footprint than say a BMW m5. If the city wants to reduce pollution it should fix the traffic grid. Also most catalytic converters don't work well till fully warmed up so dr iving while they r cold will increase pollution.

Stuart Brown

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:06 a.m.

If one has been following this issue, it is possible to read between the lines and understand what really is motivating the city to pass this ordinance now. Hint, the penalty increases from $100 to $500 for commercial vehicles; limos or non-taxi cars for hire are commercial vehicles. There was an article recently in the Ann Arbor news where city officials were whining about not having state authority to regulate non-taxi cars for hire or limos (cars for hire that charge a fixed price for going from point A to point B.) I suspect the real reason for this ordinance is to harass the limo operators giving competition to Ann Arbor's regulated taxis. My prediction: air quality will not be affected to any significant degree but Ann Arbor residents will suffer fewer options when getting a ride from a private car for hire. Also, ordinary citizens trying to stay warm in the winter will suffer the consequences. Given that there are not provisions to measure air quality and determine if the law is having any impact what so ever on said air quality, i'd say we should all remain suspicious of the city's motivation in passing this ordinance (hint--the only thing this law measures is the money collected from the fines!) This law is being considered right at a time when technology is and will continue to reduce the pollution coming out of our car's tailpipes; this law should have been passed in the 1950's (if at all) when it might actually have done some good. The best you can say about this proposal is that it is a day late and a dollar short.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

ann arbor BONDED taxis(with windshield stickers)are commercial vehicles.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Are there REALLY 140 comments on an article about an idling ordinance?

Susan Pearlman

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 3:57 a.m.

Any City council that spends time on this must be do we turn THEM off??

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

at the ballot box.

Sandra Samons

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

Who was it who said that the government that governs best is the one that governs least? Maybe someone should make that into a large motto to post on the wall of city hall!


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:59 a.m.

Ryan, Can you/ try to post some of the council's agenda topics such as this one 24 to 48 hours before each meeting? Just curious, but was information unavailable until today pertaining to the tonight's discussion topics? I would have liked to go but was unaware of the meeting until after the fact. Thanks.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

This is another nonsensical inane action being considered. If the rational is to make it more Inconvenient to be A 2 continue on.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

What's the deal with Ann Arbor govt? It seems to fast becoming a big brother.

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

I understand that some people fear this is bureaucratic and unnecessary. However, if you consider the amount of idling by young drivers around campus, and how much the downtown area continues to fill up with traffic, the need becomes clearer. If a simple education campaign would work, I'm sure that's the path the city would take. However, such a campaign would be an extremely uphill battle that would ultimately be fruitless. So, there will be an ordinance that will eventually lead to ticketing. I think the shock that people have over the ordinance, similar of which is enacted in other mid-to-large cities, demonstrates exactly why there needs to be some teeth in this.

Left is Right

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:40 a.m.

"If a simple education campaign would work, I'm sure that's the path the city would take. However, such a campaign would be an extremely uphill battle that would ultimately be fruitless." And your credentials for predicting the future are?

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

... and yes, the city should update the traffic systems as well. We could do both.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

I said it once before and I'll say it again, Ann Arbor is so out of touch. That I refuse and will continue to refuse to venture downtown to spend money. If you can't get your act together with all those ridiculous laws, then the businesses downtown dont deserve my dime. THe bottom one, the voters continue to be at fault. You an argue all you want, but the more you continue to allow these people to hold office, the more you city becomes a detriment to itself. In the meantime, I'll continue to spend my time and money outside the city where these more a sense of reality, and I'll continue to tell anyone who is willing to listen.

Jim Walker

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

The ordinance has noble goals, no one is against clean air. But the principal and actual result will be "gotcha" tickets to visiting truckers and small businesses who deliver only occasionally. Won't that give Ann Arbor a wonderful reputation for small businesses and part time truckers? James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

That volcano in Iceland spewed more ozone-destroying substances in three DAYS than did all of humankind in the last century. This is ridiculous.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

This is all about the old gardening hat wearing bitties in Burns Park and Toumy Hills with nothing better to do than hassle people.

Left is Right

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

"Matt Naud, the city's environmental coordinator, has argued an ordinance banning 'egregious idling' could improve the community's health." Then let the Environmental Commission design a scientific study to prove it.

John Devine

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

Go to your Doctor and get a precription to idle your vehicle in the winter for health reasons and in the summer for another health reason always a way to beat the Ann Arbor system. You have to try to be one step ahead of the Country of Ann Arbor.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

I'm really torn about this. I have asthma and agree that unnecessary idling pollutes. However, I also like to get into a car that is a little bit warm and has clear windows on a frosty day. And I'm wondering about cab drivers who want to keep their cabs warm for passengers. It's a dilemma.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

So, city council. What will you do when all the downtown restaurant owners complain about not receiving deliveries because the trucking companies don't want to pay the $500 fine for commercial vehicles idling?

Scot Mathison

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

Seriously, why is time wasted on an idling ordinance. Who really cares? If I want to idle my car, then I should be able to. I did photo inspections in Ann Arbor and would spend literally 2 min outside my car. If I had to make 30 stops that day, I would leave my car idling. Much better on my car, then the start it 30 different times. Give me a break people.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

If City Council's doing this, they don't have enough real work.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

One more "joke" by our "City Council". You can't start your car to clear the windshield but then you get a ticket because your windshield isn't cleared. Used to think you couldn't afford to complain unless you voted but now starting to think why bother; these days everything is a complaint.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 11:17 p.m.

Well, this is getting a bit silly. Just out of curious, do we have a broken muffler ordinance? I asks because of everyday I get to listen to very loud cars and it is driving me ms. daisy.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 11 p.m.

As someone with asthma, I as all you negative commenters to please show some empathy for us who care about our health and our environment. I for one support this proposal.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

Another minority with council's ear pushing through another questionable ordinance. First it was WBWC and the pedestrian safety ordinance FIASCO, and now the "Environmental Commission" and their "egregious" (give us a break) idling ordinance. Another case of a lot of hand-wringing over what is mostly a non-issue. A non-issue that will go mostly unenforced due to everything else being far more important.

Robert Granville

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

People need to be educated about idling.... not compelled by law.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

Next the city council will want to ban exercise and maybe living because it creates "TOO MUCH" CO2! Who elects these people? Certainly not smart people!


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:21 a.m.



Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

What a pity we can only vote on Council members from our own wards. Can't help but wonder how a city-wide vote on all incumbents at once would turn out.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

"Matt Naud, the city's environmental coordinator, has argued an ordinance banning "egregious idling" could improve the community's health." I tell what else would improve community health.....cutting back on "egregious government servants" This is a classic case of a solution in search of a problem


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

Living with someone with COPD, I can see reasons for this. For example, in front of hospitals or medical facilities where people are apt to be sick or compromised, not having to pass through idling exhaust would be a good thing. Similarly in front of elementary school buildings where you have children with developing young lung tissue, it might be harmful to have to breathe a lot of exhaust fumes. But the ordinance should be tightly written so that it is clear exactly how long and where a car may be left idling and not just some vague proposition.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:26 a.m.



Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:26 a.m.

What was the cause of said cold? Smoking maybe?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Oh, Yay! The "egregious idling" discussion is back. I'm glad, because the weather has been so dreary, I needed the comic relief. Thanks By the way. There is a cow farm out on Parker, where the cows stand around all day, egregiously farting. Now there is a smelly, environmental issue.

City Confidential

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

Aside from the need to defrost windows in winter, the main concern I have is that lots of people travel with their dogs - stopping off to pick up a loaf of bread on the way home from the dog park or vet or whatever. This stupid ordinance might scare people into leaving their animals in a hot car during the summer months, when just a few minutes can mean a roasting hot vehicle interior. Since my car is a hybrid that gets SIGNIFICANTLY better gas mileage than a full sized SUV, I don't feel the least bit guilty about leaving my car on to keep my dog safe from the heat. Why isn't city council banning vehicles that get less than 50 mpg? That would certainly cut down on the amount of exhaust in the city... and the high rates of asthma...

paul wiener

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

Wouldn't it be a better use of A2 police time if they inspected every tire on every car parked downtown, including the garages, and issued summonses for those that are 1/8 of an inch too bald?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

So if I get a flat tire in the middle of winter on the side of the road and want to keep my car running to stay warm while I wait for a tow truck ill get a ticket?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

It's not just the winter that this would be an issue. For those who cannot control body temperature, it's actually a seriously dangerous health risk to not run the AC in the summer. Those who arbitrarily decide at what temperatures cars are allowed to idle clearly has no idea about real life or those who live with actual real life and death situations that could arise because every time someone lets a car idle they have to go to court and challenge the idiocy of a law that would force people that can't control body temperature to become house-bound. If I didn't work in A2, I would NEVER come here. They pass more ridiculous laws than anywhere I've ever seen with little concern for the people they're effecting. It's also interesting how the parts of A2 with the highest traffic density are not mentioned with the highest rates of asthma. All the zip codes mentioned have large rural areas where those with asthma may be affected by the dirt/dust, or plant allergens that might be in the air...nope those can't be the problems here since everyone knows that idling cars makes everyone's asthma worse.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

The council works for the citizens of this community, not the other way around. This is tyrany. Stupid idea 6 months ago...Stupid idea now. It is completely un work-able.

ralph mcgraw

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

Could you please put these ridiculous matters on a ballot during an election and let the people decide? $100 for idling your car? Are the Idling Police going to be putting stopwatches on your car? Was it idling a full 5 minutes or was it only 4 minutes and 30 seconds? Please, please, City Council just go ahead and start charging us for the amount of air we breathe. Everyone entering the city gets a card and when they leave they get charged for the air they breathed during the time spent here. You charge us for rainwater runoff, you charge us for sidewalk repair, on and on. By the way, did they ever catch the person responsible for the assaults on women during the past year? Could you spend some council time on resolving THAT problem???


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

I hope this is enforced at schools in the afternoon - so many parents needlessly chauffering their children sitting with their engines going for 20-30 minutes. This exhaust ends up inside the schools - it needs to stop.

Linda Peck

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Note to City Council - If you don't have enough to do, go home.

craig matteson

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Won't more energy be wasted ENFORCING this idiot law than it will save?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

You ever scrape your windshield, then get in your car but the inside frosts up from the moisture in your breath, then you have to wait a few minutes for your car to warm up for it to clear the frost off the windshield. Can't do that any more so now just drive 80% blind or with your head out the side window. Oh wait city council probably all have heated garages so this is just a problem for the common man. The lack of common sense of the citizens of Ann Arbor who elect these idiots is astounding.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

Our city council and mayor have managed to "trivialize" the democratic process of government. They should concentrate on governing their own behavior with a formal "ethics" policy. When will the citizens of Ann Arbor wake up and realize they are not being governed but harnessed like "beasts of burden" domesticated to serve their elected masters.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Are these people for real?? They need to get rid of anyone that votes for this! With all the problems facing Ann Arbor this is the least of my worries. The comment about being stopped for traffic lights and the idling is correct. More gas is wasted and pollution is created by improperly timed lights than vehicles idling - spend your time (and our money) on this instead!!!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

"Egregious idling" must be annarborese for show me da money! $$$$$$$$$$$$$


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Please, please, please just leave me alone. I'm doing the best I can with the balancing act. I care about the environment, the price of gas, and the health of those around me. I also occasionally have to wait in the car to pick up my child or my blind friend at various places. I won't let the car idel too long, but it the temp is below zero, please just let me get a little warm. Once in a while. Please?

Andrea Zastrow

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9 p.m.

I suppose criminalizing remote starters is next.

Andrea Zastrow

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

"They'll pry my remote starter out of my cold dead Buick."


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:27 a.m.

That less to do with the age of the car, and more to do with the remote starter that was illegally installed on a vehicle with a manual transmission.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

Certain older models should not have this. Why? I found out the hard way that a ford escort with one from the 90's might take off. It did on our street. Got a new front yard.

A A Resident

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

"What's next for the People's Republic of Ann Arbor...a no-farting law?" You've been farting? Shame on you! I gave it up several years ago, because methane is a "global warming" gas.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

What does anyone who lives in Ann Arbor expect when we keep electing "far out" liberals to run the show. It started back in the 60's when Dick Balsizer (sp.?) was defeated for mayor and has been downhill ever sense. We are a liberal town , but we need to start electing moderates to run it, not our lives.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

"The resolution mentions the pollution caused by idling motors and notes the rates of asthma in Washtenaw County exceed asthma rates in the state of Michigan and the United States, with rates especially elevated the Ann Arbor zip codes of 48103, 48104 and 48105." .....isn't there a large congregation of AATA vehicles in these zip codes as well? What are the emission rates for the AATA buses? Do they fall within acceptable guidelines? I agree as well with posters regarding the poorly timed traffic lights...


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

You can't fix stupid and we have it all..time to put these clowns back in the side show where they belong..can't believe for a town thats supposed to be so intelligent the citizens put up with this get what you vote for ....

r treat

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

@bobbyjohn. Its pretty hard to drive when your windows are iced up. Get real!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

Thankfully, the majority of the drug sales in Ann Arbor involve those conscientious dealers who will only idle their vehicles for a 30 second that's a group that cares about our air quality!

cactus charlie

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

The City Council agains shows that it has no practical sense. Let's first get ALL of our left turn arrows flashing yellow rather than red unless it is either time for the green arrow or time for the cross traffic to go. Sitting at a red left turn arrow with no oncoming traffic waste more gas and causes more pollution. Also, do they not realize that when the temperature is in the single digits it makes sense to have the engine running rather than 'freeze' when waiting on one's child to get out of school. It is time for the voters to get more sensible council members and fewer 'tree huggers'.

Dan Darbor

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

I planned ahead and had an automatic shut-off installed on the remote start for the Volvonator. Remote on for 59 seconds, remote off for 61 seconds , remote on for 59 seconds, remote off for 61 seconds. Passed on the bumper sensors for potential ticket writers...

Bob W

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Think about this folks, (council members in favor) how will this be enforced? How would you ever get accurate information on when the 5 minute grace period starts? Can't wait for the first citation to be challenged in court and the city can spend more money unnecessarily on legal contractors, etc. Duh!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

how about the Environmental Commission and the art commission merger. they both are some where in outer space. i just can not get over what this city is doing. art, environmental and crosswalks all in one year. i can not want to see what the council does.. then i can not wait to election time. nail me, blast me. sorry but enough dumb ideas is enough.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

sorry not want but wait. fast fingers.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

Council is "hired" to hear our concerns and needs, to act in the interests of the majority of those that "hired" them. However, it seems the only citizens interested in letting Council know what they want are a small minority of people who have an agenda. Citizens need to get involved...let Council know what you want by talking to them, emailing them, showing up for Council meetings and firing them if they don't listen. When I worked for the City, we would get tired of Council's silly requests, projects, etc. BUT we got even more frustrated at citizen's apathy. I doubt Council reads these comments but if they do, I doubt they give them any serious consideration. Tell them this is a waste of their time by calling, emailing or showing up at meetings. Get involved and stop being so apathetic. They'll keep listening to small special interest groups as long as the vast majority of their constituents remain silent.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

you mean the washtenaw county walking and biking coalition??


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

Yes, but what are they doing in Boulder, because we all know that's what really matters. Mark my words, this is going to get as ugly as the crosswalk issue. I recommend council members remain mum until they know what their constituents want. So....I will have to scrape thin ice off my windshield without starting my car first so that the ice will melt a bit? Waiting to park in one of our overly expensive, overcrowded parking lots - do I have to turn my car off? The city is wacky with capital "W".


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

So AATA is exempt? Seriously? Have you never driven or walked down Fourth Avenue during high traffic bus times? The smell is horrendous...I've been stuck behind more than one bus at a light and had to put my window up from the fumes...this is a joke. But thank goodness there isn't a problem with crime or underge drinking or home invasions in this all of the "authorized" personnel can issue citations for the really important protecting us from flagrant, disrespectful to Mudder Nature, buffoons [oh wait that's us]...only the Council knows what is good for us, because we not be lern'd enuf to know.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

Why not a cruse ship safety ordinance too?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

They tried that one. It sank.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

You people have way too much time on your hands, maybe your NOT NEEDED. can't afford to park it in Ann Arbor either. It's a good thing all the expressways go around Ann Arbor, there are far too many other communities to shop eat & do things in. One other thing...Why don't you do something about the pan-handlers in Ann Arbor?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Police or any local government car should idle either. I see this all the time, and it is a complete waste of tax money, and is environmentally unfriendly. Nobody should idle!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

So zip codes 48103, 48104 and 48105 have unusually high rates of asthma? I live in 48103 (outside AA) and I am willing to bet that a lot more particulates and dust are produced from the multiple gravel pits, dirt roads and agricultural activities (48103 is mostly rural - look at your map!) than engine idling! Also, recent results show that a lot of asthma may be caused by people being too careful to keep things ultra-clean causing their immune systems to look for other things to worry about - I personally know a lot of Ann Arborite soccer mom who are obsessive in this department! Since 48105 also contains a fair number of dirt roads and low population density areas, it's hard for me to buy allegations by "Environmental Commission" that engine idling is that big a contributor. It's AA, not LA!

Go Blue

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Pure lunacy! So if I pull over to make a phone call I get a ticket for idling? Guess everyone better continue to drive when they have to make a call and be unsafe. What would be wrong with trying to EDUCATE the city population about idling instead of making yet another fine mess? And for this brilliant work you get PAID? I want a refund or a new city council that has their priorites in order, like police, fire, etc., not this nonsense.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

80% against it. Sounds like a done deal for out tone deaf city council.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

City government is more fun than Disneyworld, which is great. But they charge me more than Disneyworld, which is bad. And I don't get to leave, which is horrible.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

So those without garages and/or long, private drives driveways will be disproportionally penalized for trying to stay warm and keep their cars running? How about the City Council members all promise to park on the street and abide by the temperature/time limits for warming up their cars?

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

no overnight parking.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

I believe that the delivery guy who leaves his truck idling for 15 minutes while he unloads EVERY morning would be a good person to target. Just knowing that the ordinance is out there should reduce the unnecessary idling and make the air less polluted.

G. Orwell

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

Classic nanny state. All these so called "Commissions" and "Authorities" are nothing more than ways to subvert the will of the people for their own authoritarian agendas. Please stay out of my personal life. As I have said before, the agenda is to make driving more expensive and difficult to FORCE us to take public transit, bike or walk. Probably the same people that brought you the idiotic pedestrian death crosswalk ordinance.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

That's exactly it! Another ordinance for the city councils agenda of turning Ann Arbor into their own little Mackinac island without water, but surrounding it with a sea of green from the previous green boarder ordinance. Then the money from fines for this and people not stopping at pedestrian crosswalks will be used to pay for more art.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

"For commercial vehicles, that minimum fine increases to $500." Truckers idle their vehicles while making deliveries. If a few of them get fines, I'm sure the trucking companies will sue the daylights out of the city.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

would fine be levied on driver or owner of guess would be driver.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

A2 city council, you are always entertaining. Worn out roads; businesses folding. Hey, I have an idea, let's make an idling ordinance, like they have on the east coast! Always the followers of east and left coast politics. Good luck with that. Is it alright, if I warm up my U-haul, while I'm packing?


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Boulder, Boulder, Boulder ..... Aren't we sick of it yet?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:10 p.m. time I see a pedestrian at a crosswalk, I'm not stopping for them. Can't spend a minute idling while they slowly cross the street!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

Neither is a City Council who is "idle" on the important issues, yet decides to come up with nonsense like this. DISCLAIMER: In case someone is unaware of sarcasm, despite my previous comment I do not in anyway advocate hitting pedestrians with cars. :)


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Killing and injuring pedestrians isn't a joke.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

This is just a bunch of hog wash. How can anyone prove that the already polluted air and idle cars causes problems. Millions of tons of mercury are spewed into the air via power companies, and the counsel has the stupidity of introducing this. hundreds of millions of cars on the road and they want us to not let them idle. Where is the solid proof of this study? I want to read it myself. I will turn it off at every signal if there is solid proof that idle engines has a measurable effect over and above the rest of the pollutants.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

I do not want to see the police on the side of the road doing Radar with the car running.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

Ann Arbor does not have enough police to man this law. Good luck with this one.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

This is insane, government run amok. We need tor show up at the city council meeting and let them know we're tired of having stuff like this rammed down our throats.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

Everyone get a Prius it only runs to recharge the battery so technically speaking the engine is a generator.

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

& put an American auto worker out of work


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

If this is the best that our city council can do, I suggest we put a no-breathing ordinance on the agenda because if the council stops breathing, they will not be wasting precious air for those who are truly making a difference. Come on city council. We vote you in to run the city in an efficient and effect manner, not to make us the laughing stock of the country.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

For commercial vehicles, union contracts and employee workplace rights will most likely be violated if drivers are not allowed to keep their vehicles at reasonable temperatures during both the summer and winter months. A running engine is usually required to run the AC and heaters.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

Where I work, the paper shredding company has to keep the truck running in order to shred documents. No truck running means no shredding.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

Unbelievable. Is there NOTHING more productive City Council could be working on?? Nothing at all??


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:11 a.m.

They need to do more about abused parrots

Left is Right

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Actually, I think this is a good thing--it keeps the council from doing more damage elsewhere.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

If i can prove my engine was damaged from a law the city passed can I Sue the city to get paid for the damages.

Rod Johnson

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

You can always sue. You may not win, though.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8 p.m.

In the winter it is import to warm up your engine before driving. The oil is thicker because of the cold. The oil has drained back into the oil pan. If you start driving immediately after starting your car cold you will, Damage seals, gaskets not to mention the cylinder rings. That is what happened to my carFrom just starting and driving on a cold engine.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

@EyeHeart, you miust have missed this part: "If it's 25 degrees out, you might want to let it warm up for 30 seconds. If it's 10 degrees out, warm it up for a minute. If it's -10 degrees out, move somewhere warmer"


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

Typical A2 city councel member reply would be you can replace your engine easier than we can replace our lungs. But seriously, if the city was serious about "clean air" they would time lights properly and all city vehicles would be transferring to electric or hybrid technology along with enforcing an ordinance like this. In response to warming your vehicle, this is absolutely correct, even in warmer weather. Metals, plastics, and rubber expand and contract when temperatures go from cold/cool to warm (especially by 100 degrees or so in a short amount of time). Coupled with the first minute of the motor running is practically metal on metal until the oil warms up and circulates throughout the engine. The last thing a motor or other components need higher RPMs along with generating torque to get the vehicle moving.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

" Unless it's below freezing, cars don't need to be warmed up at all." ...which would mean that below freezing we should_____________?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

From "What's your MPG when you're idling? It's negative! You're actually burning gas... and going nowhere. If you're sitting outside a tattoo parlor waiting for your grandmother, and you know it's going to take her a good 15 minutes to get that new Komodo dragon tattooed on her left butt cheek, turn off your engine. You're just burning money. Some people have heard a myth that it takes more gas to start a car than to run it. So they use that as an excuse to leave a car idling. It's complete B.S. If you're stationary for more than a couple of minutes, shut it off, and save gas. This tip also applies to warming up the car. Unless it's below freezing, cars don't need to be warmed up at all. Driving them gently is the best warm up there is. If it's 25 degrees out, you might want to let it warm up for 30 seconds. If it's 10 degrees out, warm it up for a minute. If it's -10 degrees out, move somewhere warmer."


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Another law that will be very difficult to enforce. Would this be a misdemeanor? Better beef up the patrols during those Ozone Action Days.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

OMG! save gas? save money? breathe cleaner air? protect our children? no way. Raise the pitchforks!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

Crazy talk!! Saw a hybrid car idling in front of my coffee joint this morning. Oh, the irony.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

Notes from the new report There appears to be a 5 minute grace period to idle "City Council directed staff to develop a draft idling reduction ordinance." Why I hate city council and think they waste time and money. "The idling reduction ordinance would apply to all motor vehicles, including, but not limited to, automobiles, motorcycles, buses, recreational vehicles, trucks, tractors, earth moving equipment, hoists, cranes, boats and other watercraft, snowmobiles, self-propelling lawn mowers, and off-road vehicles." Why not mandate that we have to turn lights off once we leave a room? (sidebar: have you ever turned a boat on and off, especially if you were sitting for 30 seconds, those engines are quite finicky) It dosent cover city buses or the police, there is a surprise It looks like they kept who can issue citations the same.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

I totally agree about the police. They always leave their cars running. They should have to be cold just like the rest of us.

average joe

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

Why just self-propelled lawn mowers?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

The expense to buy stop watches so that we can time everyone will be HUGE.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

I'm glad somebody is doing something about all the unecessary polluting going on. However, a better solution might be that if you see a car idling, you get a free car!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

You must be from Deeeeetroit....

martini man

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Too many liberals, with way too much power, for way too long.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

How about getting your traffic lights timed..........I spend more time idling driving thru Ann Arbor stopping at every untimed red light.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

I believe the system in A2 is geared towards the mechanics business. You have to stop at every light, and it changes as soon as you come to a total stop. It takes more gas to get your car up to speed then it take five minutes of idle time. The counsel has there facts messed up. If your going to get pollution from cars its at every light waiting for it to change. A2 city counsel get your facts right, please!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Thank you AnnArBo. I created an account just to make that point but you beat me to it. I've lived in several cities and have never felt as annoyed as I do in AA about traffic light timing. Seriously, try driving from the east side of town to the west on Washtenaw/Stadium, for example, and see how many stop lights you get stopped at and for how long. Stop at one, drive the speed limit to the next, and right as you get there, boom, red light. It's ridiculous. Not only is it environmentally unfriendly (and fixing it would make orders of magnitude greater difference than this silly ordinance), but it also encourages speeding.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

ninny state


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

This won't be possible for all the parents who have small children in car seats. In order for children to be safe in a car seat, they are not supposed to wear winter jackets which means you have no choice to but to warm your car up before the kids get in.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

Uh, mine did and mine was in an accident and the car seat held. So I hate to it, this is only an excuse.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

tough luck for your kids, this is much more important than your confort. The future of our planet is riding on this.............too bad for you


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

How long until council mandates we stop and turn off the car at every crossing a pedestrian is approaching?!?!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

will Ann Arbor citizens no longer be able to warm up their cars in the morning? Seems silly


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

Not everybody has the luxury of owning a car in perfect condition. If my car doesn't heat up first it builds up too much pressure and a transmission line comes off causing me a huge problem. I don't have the money to fix this problem but it isn't really an issue if I have my car heat up on a cold day for 5-10 min (usually needed any day below 35). So now what...I'm not allowed to come to Ann Arbor if my car isn't perfect?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:04 p.m.

Sorry, but I really like getting into a warm car. Mine will idle for 5 minutes to get the chill out.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Bobby as someone said below, defrosting your windows. And yes that includes the allowing them to warm so they do not ice up while driving


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

There is no good reason for your car to be idling when it starts. It is now considered negative to idle when warming up. Those who need a warm car, electric seat heaters are cheap and almost instant. I am opposed to much of what the current administration is doing, but this is stopping a silly waste of energy and doing some real worthwhile work in reducing pollution


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

sorry, my bad on the my bad, i was skimming

average joe

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

Up to 5 minutes only if occupied.....


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

my bad it now gives 5 minutes


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Yes. that is what this law is, I think you can if its below 15, or 0 or something completely arbitrary

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

will they send all the frozen taxi drivers to debters prison?i love the part where they can enter your private property to cite your vehicle as it warms tyrants out.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Front row seat for neighbor wars. Details at 11.

Left is Right

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

Seems kind of rude but wouldn't talking to your neighbor be a better plan?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

The minute the ordinance is effective I will drop the dime on a neighbor who starts his poorly muffled car at 5:00 a.m. and lets it idle for 30-45 minutes... no mercy.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

These are the people that would be responsible for issuing citations Code violation citations. The administrators of the following services areas and the persons holding the positions or performing the functions listed within each services area are authorized to issue citations for violations of the indicated chapters of this Code. This designation of authority is in addition to that otherwise provided by law. (1) Community services area. (a) Planning and Development Services Unit Assistant land development coordinator Building inspectors. Electrical inspectors. Inspection supervisors. Housing inspectors Mechanical inspectors Ordinance inspector Plan examiner Plumbing inspectors Zoning coordinator. (b) Community television network - public information services unit : Cable administrator (2) Public services area (a) Field operations services unit Field operations manager City forester. Field operations supervisor Field operations technician. Park ranger. Natural area preservation manager. Natural area preservation technician. Conservation worker. Outreach coordinator. Conservation crew leader. Field biologist. (b) Wastewater Treatment Services Unit Wastewater treatment services manager. Administrative assistant to wastewater treatment services manager. (c) Systems planning unit Environmental coordinator Fertilizer program administrator Land development coordinator. (3) Safety services area. (a) Fire services unit Fire chief Assistant fire chief Battalion chief Captain Lieutenant. Driver operator Fire fighter Fire marshal Fire inspectors (b) Police services unit Community service assistants Community standards officers/safety services area Parking enforcement personnel Telecommunicator . (4) Human Resources Services Unit : Human resources manager. Human rights coordinator. Human rights investigator.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

This list is way too long for issuing citations.....are they all sworn law enforcement and officers of the court. By what authority would a human resource manager be authorized to issue a citation?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

I read the proposal in august. It is an absolute joke. My driveway is not near a school if you are worried about schools, ban the buses idling in front of them. Council needs to say they do not need an update on the proposal until it deals witht the sole reason why it was brought up in the first place. The air quality in the school's from buses idling in front of them. Its easy to fix too, just turn the buses off. If council were to pass this they would only be screwing with the public, and making a big money grab. This is also evidenced by those that would be able to issue the egregious idling citations. Which follows


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

AAPS buses do have a mandate to shut down when in front of a school. Parents won't because they like their heat. Once the buses are gone? Then the schools will start buckling down on the parents. Good luck with this one.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

What buses? don't you remember that they don't have a lot of them anymore. But lots of cars trying to pick up and drop there is a lot of those.

Spencer Thomas

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

AATA buses at Blake Transit Center?

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

No kidding. These diesel guzzling stink machines are disgusting.

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:21 a.m.

Note that over 50% of the AATA bus fleet is hybrid - with a goal of 100% in the next couple years (go AATA!). Regrettably, although Ann Arbor is a particularly green car friendly city, the percentage of consumer hybrid vehicles is not even close to that.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 10 p.m.

Can't. They are only idling for less then 5 minutes or so. Plus if they are down? Then they spend more on diesel heating the bus up. Diesel does take longer in cold weather to get moving.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

What's next for the People's Republic of Ann Arbor...a no-farting law?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Hmmmm...that would reduce gas emissions! Good idea!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

Now THAT would get me to pickup a placard and protest!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Here we go again!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

I could not agree more with this one. Once they get bored they find something or someone else to pick on. Good luck endorsing this one.