Stories indexed with the term ‘pedestrian right of way’

A2 Crosswalk Repeal: To Be Vetoed

After  a lengthy public hearing and considerable debate, the city of Ann Arbor crosswalk law was modified on a 6-4 vote by the Ann Arbor city council at its Dec. 2, 2013 meeting. But immediately after the vote, mayor John Hieftje indicated that he would be exercising his power of veto on the change. The veto would leave in place a crosswalk law that requires motorists to stop, not just yield to pedestrians. And it further requires that motorists extend the right-of-way not just to pedestrians within a crosswalk, but also to those waiting at the curb or curb line of a ramp leading to a crosswalk.

The council had given initial approval to a complete repeal of the ordinance at … [Full Story]

DDA Reviews First Quarter Financials

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Nov. 3, 2010): The DDA board passed a single resolution at Wednesday’s meeting: to reorganize its committee structure to include a communications and economic development committee.

DDA board members before their meeting began: Bob Guenzel (foreground); John Mouat (arms extended); Sandi Smith (partially obscured); Russ Collins (jacket and tie). Mouat was not demonstrating how a HAWK pedestrian signal flies. (Photos by the writer.)

But board members heard a series of reports, including a look at the financial picture from the first quarter of FY 2010. Fund balances are lower than they’ve been historically – something the board knew to anticipate with the construction of the new underground parking structure along Fifth Avenue. The report from the capital improvements committee indicated that the project is proceeding apace, with headway being made on solving a problem with de-watering the site. During public commentary, the board heard from proponents of putting a community commons on top of the underground parking garage once it’s completed.

At the meeting, the board indicated that they’d take an extended look at their 10-year budget projections at a board meeting in early 2011. Affecting the DDA’s 10-year plan are at least two major items: (1) the Fifth Avenue underground parking garage construction, and (2) ongoing negotiations with the city of Ann Arbor on the amount of “rent” to be paid by the DDA to the city as part of the parking contract under which the DDA manages the city’s parking system.

Other reports from the meeting with a potential effect on the DDA’s budget included an update on the City Apartments project planned by Village Green and located at First and Washington. The DDA is slated to purchase the parking deck component of the project on its completion – for $9 million. Included with the board’s packet were a series of proposed amendments to the parking agreement between the city of Ann Arbor, Village Green and the DDA. Village Green is scheduled to complete its purchase of the First and Washington parcel in May 2011.

Other potential impacts to the DDA’s budget included a report from the board’s partnerships committee that noted a request for grant funding from the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, plus an additional grant funding request from the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County.

The report from the board’s transportation committee included discussion of enhanced service between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, as well as the possibility of adapting the #17 route to serve a partial circulator function for downtown. Also related to transportation, the board received a presentation from Pat Cawley, a city of Ann Arbor traffic engineer, on the installation of a new HAWK pedestrian crossing signal at the intersection of Chapin and Huron.

The board also heard from representatives of the Main Street Business Improvement Zone on the delivery of a blueprint for creating other such zones in the downtown. [Full Story]

Zingerman’s Moves on to HDC

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (July 19, 2010): On Monday night, Zingerman’s Deli partners enjoyed complete support with no dissent from the city council, or the community at large, for their plans to expand the Detroit Street location. The council approved the site plan for the 10,000-square-foot addition, as well as a brownfield application.


Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) and Ann Arbor chief of police Barnett Jones chat during a break in the July 19 council meeting just after passage of a new pedestrian ordinance. During deliberations on that ordinance, Jones had cited the Canadian cultural practice of pedestrians standing on the curb and simply pointing to the crosswalk, which prompts motorists to stop for them. The remark had earned a thumbs-up from Rapundalo, who is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen.

Intended as an extra measure of support for Zingerman’s was a third resolution communicating to the city’s historic district commission (HDC) the council’s view that the project represents a substantial benefit to the community. The proposal includes demolition of one house and the integration of another house into the architecture of the proposed new construction. Because the site is located in the Old Fourth Ward, the HDC will need to give its approval, in order for the project to be built. The message sent by the council to the HDC was clear: We want this project approved.

The council also sent a clear message to its firefighter and police unions, which the city hopes will soon ratify contracts that will save the city money. At the meeting, the council approved labor agreements with two other groups – the Teamsters civilian supervisors and the Teamsters police professional assistants. That added to bargained changes with the police deputy chiefs union that were approved at the council’s previous meeting on July 6. All three agreements reflected cost savings to the city through greater contributions by union members to health and retirement benefits and no increase in wages.

The implicit message to the firefighter and police unions was given explicit form through a position statement from the council’s labor committee and read aloud by Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2), the chair of that committee. The statement calls on those unions to follow the example of the three who have already ratified contracts.

The council also gave final approval to a new pedestrian safety ordinance, which requires motorists to stop for pedestrians who are in, or even approaching, crosswalks that lack any traffic control device. During deliberations, the council swapped in “stop” to make the ordinance stronger than the originally proposed “yield.”

In other business, the council authorized the specific allocation of over $1 million in already-budgeted funds to nonprofits providing human services, approved liquor licenses for two downtown businesses, authorized the hire of a community energy coordinator using federal funds, got an update on the future of the Library Lot, and heard public commentary on a range of issues. [Full Story]

Council and Caucus: Pedestrian Agenda

 Looking west crosswalk of Liberty at Crest

The crosswalk on Liberty Street, looking west at Crest. (Photo by the writer.)

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (Aug. 16, 2009): Sunday evening’s lightly attended city council caucus reflected a light agenda for Monday. But light as that agenda is, it had not been published in the newspaper – as one caucus attendee pointed out to the three councilmembers present: Mayor John Hieftje, Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5).

Even though the agenda itself is dominated with items like perfunctory rezoning – pedestrian in the sense of “ordinary” –  there’s a presentation to be made at the start of the meeting by Sue McCormick, director of public services for the city, that should draw some community interest. She’ll be giving council an update on the East Stadium Bridge situation. The bridge needs to be repaired or replaced.

At caucus, then, residents and councilmembers were free to focus on some items not on Monday’s schedule. And one common theme cutting across two different resident concerns as well as council discussion were pedestrian issues – pedestrian in the sense of folks on foot.

In other brief discussion, councilmembers indicated, in response to a question, that they had not contemplated re-voting the issuance of bonds that would fund the underground parking garage. The legality of the council’s February vote authorizing the bonds has been challenged by a lawsuit filed last week, which contends that the council violated Michigan’s Open Meetings Act on the evening it approved the bonds.

Also at caucus, councilmembers gave a public indication that they were contemplating possible council rules changes that would affect how email communications are handled during council meetings. [Full Story]