Council Delays on Ped Safety Task Force

A resolution that would establish a pedestrian safety task force has been postponed by the Ann Arbor city council in action taken on Nov. 7, 2013. The council will take up the issue again at its Nov. 18 meeting.

Leading to the decision to postpone were concerns about the budget that would need to be approved in order to provide the necessary staff support for the task force. The vote to postpone was unanimous.

The pedestrian safety and access task force would consist of nine residents, including “representatives from organizations that address the needs of school-aged youth, senior citizens, pedestrian safety, and people with mobility impairments.” Applications from interested citizens should be turned in to the mayor’s office by Nov. 22, 2013. [.pdf of standard city board and commission task force application] The intent is to appoint the task force at the Dec. 2, 2013 city council meeting.

The task force would deliver a report by early September 2014. That report would include recommendations for “improvements in the development and application of the Complete Streets model, using best practices, sound data and objective analysis.”

Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) and Sabra Briere (Ward 1) had announced at the council’s Oct. 21 meeting that they’d be bringing forward the proposal to establish a pedestrian safety task force. At the Oct. 21 meeting, Warpehoski stated that the effort was not meant as an alternative to the efforts that other councilmembers are making to bring forward a repeal of the city’s pedestrian crosswalk ordinance.

The city’s ordinance differs from the Uniform Traffic Code (UTC) in two respects: (1) requiring motorists to stop for pedestrians, not just to slow as to yield; and (2) requiring motorists to take action to accommodate pedestrians standing at the curb at a crosswalk, not just those pedestrians who have already entered the crosswalk.

The resolution establishing the task force acknowledges that many residents are concerned that current city policies create an unsafe environment for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

Some of the recent community conversation has included the fact that traffic crashes involving a pedestrian have shown an increase in the last two years, the period during which Ann Arbor adopted its local ordinance that requires more of motorists than the UTC. The charts below are by The Chronicle using data from Michigan Traffic Crash Facts.

Ann Arbor

Pedestrian Traffic Crashes by Year: Ann Arbor


Pedestrian Traffic Crashes by Year: SEMCOG region.

SEMCOG by County

Pedestrian Traffic Crashes by Year: SEMCOG Region by County

Washtenaw Outside Ann Arbor

Pedestrian Crashes by Year: Washtenaw County Outside Ann Arbor

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow.