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Are Ann Arbor Pedestrians Safe from being Struck By Automobiles?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2013 | Crosswalk |

Persistent and heated is the debate about Ann Arbor’s Crosswalk Law. Most recently, after the city council voted 6-4 to repeal the ordinance that was put into place in 2011, Mayor Heiftje used his veto power to null the vote.

In its current state, the Ann Arbor City, requires vehicles to stop at a crosswalk if someone is “in the crosswalk” or “waiting at the curb.” The 6-4 vote would have repealed the second part of this law, reverting it back to requiring vehicles only to stop if someone is in the crosswalk. The city council can override Mayor Heiftje’s veto with 8 votes but it is unlikely that this will happen; four city council members strongly agree with Mayor Heiftje.

An article on MLive two weeks ago quotes the Mayor as saying “I don’t think this is the time for us to be tweaking this ordinance. I think the city is safer now for pedestrians than it was before. I think a great deal of progress has been made.” The changes made in the law two years ago increase safety for pedestrians. The wording requires vehicles in Ann Arbor to stop more frequently and requires them to be more aware of pedestrians on sidewalks. It is an ordinance that shifts the focus to be more inclusive of pedestrians.

Some argue that the ordinance, the way it is worded now, means that drivers have to guess the intent of a pedestrian standing at the curb; however, there should be no guessing involved. If someone is at the curb then a driver must yield. If that same person does not cross the crosswalk or walks away from it then the driver can proceed. But despite all the disagreement, one thing that everyone can agree on is that Ann Arbor can use more education, enforcement, and engineering around crosswalks to avoid the tragic pedestrian deaths that have occurred frequently in the past three years.