Pass a State Crosswalk Law for Michigan.
Michigan does not have a state crosswalk law, only a section in the MUTC, which the State Police recommend that local communities adopt. A state law would supersede any local ordinances. A state law, based on the MUTC, would be consistent with the state laws and codes of most other states, further improving consistency. Pedestrians and drivers would know what to expect: pedestrian safety would be improved and driver ambiguity would be reduced.
Supporting Statements for Michigan
- Michigan requires standard transportation signage, including the “STOP for pedestrian within crosswalk” sign and prohibits local, non-standard signage.
- Michigan certifies professional engineers. Traffic engineering is extremely complex and best left to trained, certified professionals who adhere to rigorous standards, follow engineering best practices and are most qualified to understand unintended consequences.
- Michigan issues driver licenses and provides driver-training handbooks based on the state laws and codes.
- Michigan’s economy relies on tourism, and Ann Arbor specifically, has thousands of visitors every year from around the world. Florida, another tourism state, has an effective state crosswalk law and an effective pedestrian safety program. One example is in Gainesville, Florida.
- Most Michigan residents believe the MUTC is a state law and are not aware of the subtle distinction.
- Traffic engineering standards for determining the location, requirements and design of crosswalks are based on state and national standards.
- The MUTC is consistent with the policies of the: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets and Michigan AAA School Safety Patrol Program.
Problems with Ann Arbor's Local Ordinance
- Ann Arbor’s local crosswalk ordinance was adopted based on citizen advocacy and without the involvement or support of the city traffic engineers.
- Ann Arbor’s local crosswalk ordinance is inconsistent with the MUTC and with the posted signage at crosswalks.
- The local traffic ordinance result in many drivers not knowing the law and this inconsistency endangers pedestrians and puts an undue burden on visitors.
- Pedestrian crashes in Ann Arbor increased to 60 in 2012 and 63 in 2011 from 45 in 2010 and 42 in 2009, per MichiganTrafficCrashFacts.org.
- Three years after adopting the local ordinance, Ann Arbor’s implementation, in terms of the five “E’s” of non-motorized transportation planning, is still very poor.
- Engineering – lacks support by city traffic engineers, many different crosswalk designs and markings throughout city, lighting and sight distance is inadequate at many crosswalks.
- Education – primarily limited to pedestrians with the non-standard “Pedestrians Rule” campaign rather than the standard, safety-oriented “Share the Road” and “Stop, Look, Listen” campaigns.
- Encouragement – ???
- Enforcement – limited police enforcement and may not be enforceable, per City Attorney, “Judge will decide.”
- Evaluation – no formal evaluation by city staff.
- New crosswalk implementation is even worse. On Saturday, October 26, neighbors reported that a new, mid-block crosswalk on Packard was striped (looked like a crosswalk to pedestrians) but no signage was installed, thus drivers were not aware of it. (See photo below.)
Based on the above, a state crosswalk law is needed. Also, it is imperative that Ann Arbor reverts to the MUTC until a State crosswalk law is passed.