$15.5 million in bonds to fund street safety in Ann Arbor

The Downtown Development Authority drew upon data from consultants and the Michigan Department of Transportation to create its new street safety improvement plan. On Aug. 9, a unanimous vote of the Ann Arbor City Council authorized $15.5 million in bonds to pay for landscaping and infrastructure improvements to streets, bike lanes, streetlights and crosswalks.

Council members cited the potential to reduce accidents, especially involving pedestrians and bicyclists, as their reason for approving the projects. Improvements will target multiple streets in the downtown area. To lower the chances of pedestrian accidents, some one-way streets will be converted to two-way traffic. Two-way protected bicycle lanes protected from motor vehicles are also planned for some streets. By making the area more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists, city planners hope to improve retail activity.

The council approved another proposal with only one dissenting vote to improve Huron Street. The project will aim to adjust traffic signal times to give pedestrians enough time to cross and protect left turns from Huron Street to Fifth Avenue. Turns on red lights will also be restricted to keep vehicles out of crosswalks. These initiatives arose from the city’s participation in the Vision Zero movement that seeks to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025.

Modernization efforts like this have the potential to reduce auto-pedestrian accidents. People on foot or riding bicycles typically suffer serious injuries when hit by motor vehicles. A person hit by a car could face large medical bills and lose the ability to work. An attorney could prepare a personal injury claim to pursue damages if a negligent driver caused the accident. Legal help might enable a person to overcome resistance from the responsible party and insurance company.