Thursday, October 24, 2013

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater--my views on the crosswalk ordinance

Gentle readers, as you know, I support Ann Arbor's current pedestrian safety ordinance. It requires that drivers yield to pedestrians waiting to cross at marked crosswalks. This is not to say improvements in the execution are not needed. Personally, I would like to see better ways to communicate the law to commuters, out of towners and new residents. Specifically, I think we need large, clear and concise signage at the main arteries into Ann Arbor, and before and at busy crosswalks. 

Also, I think we need something more in the style of HAWK Walks rather than RRFBs for crosswalks that cross 4 lane roads. The RRFBs seem good for crosswalks on busy 2 lane roads. 

Despite the shortfalling in the execution of the ordinance, I think it is a good step in increasing walkability. Currently, forces are mustering to mount an effort to repeal the ordinance. If you feel as I do, I encourage you to sign this petition over on I don't always sign online petitions, but when I do, they are in support of walkability issues.

Another thing you can do is contact your city council person and let them know your thoughts on the pedestrian safety ordinance. Here's their contact information:
John Hieftje (D)
100 N. Fifth Ave. 48104

Sabra Briere (D)
1418 Broadway 48105 734-995-3518

Sumi Kailasapathy (D)
2530 Mallard Ct., 48105

Jane Lumm (Independent)
3075 Overridge Drive 48104

Sally Hart Petersen (D)
2976 Hickory Lane 48104

Stephen Kunselman (D)
2885 Butternut
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Christopher Taylor (D)
1505 Brooklyn Ave. 48104

Marcia Higgins (D)
1535 Westfield 48103

Margie Teall (D)
1208 Brooklyn Ave. 48104

Mike Anglin (D)
549 S. First St. 48103

Chuck Warpehoski (D)
2020 Winewood, 48103

Alternately, you can email all the council members in one fell swoop with the following:;;;;;;;;;;

Keep in mind though, that after the Nov. 5th election, there may be some new faces on council. I'd like to take thes moment to give a shout-out to CM Briere. Two years ago, when I was again raising the alarm about a possible repeal of the pedestrian ordinance, two of my lab mates emailed the entire council saying they supported the ordinance. CM Briere took time and wrote thoughtful responses to both of their emails and they really appreciated it. Thanks CM Briere.

Gentle readers, whether you agree with me or not, it is important to participate in your city's governing. Please take this opportunity to share your opinion with your leaders. For more information, check out the Washtenaw Biking and Walking Coalition's website.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree. As a bike commuter on Plymouth Rd, there is noticeable improvement in respect for pedestrians. Cars eventually actually stop now, vs. before when they simply would not.

    One further consideration to your point about HAWK vs. RRFB: A pedestrian only crosses two lanes at a time on Plymouth, there is always a pedestrian island. Personally, I think the RRFB is sufficient in this case.

    I think a potential problem is framing this as the "enforcement of a law!" rather than simply "encouragement of common courtesy" towards fellow humans...

    I don't want people slamming their brakes to avoid a ticket. I want them recognizing a safe opportunity to do something nice.

    I have signed the petition and e-mailed my council members. Both personally responded via e-mail.