At the Ann Arbor City Council meeting Monday night, the council members attempted to address concerns that drivers may be driving recklessly on city streets.

Council members postponed a resolution that would attempt to allay speedy traffic within the city, specifically within residential areas of concern.

Traffic calming has become a serious answer to the question of speeding and traffic concerns for many residents. Traffic calming measures include narrowing of lanes and installation of speed bumps and neighborhood signs, among other things.

For an area to qualify, it must meet certain requirements, including having an average daily traffic flow between 200 and 4,000 vehicles and an 85th percentile of speed averaging 5 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and Ann Arbor Public Schools will soon give input regarding the traffic calming plans for streets that they use.

The council’s resolution tentatively appropriates about $55,000 out of the city’s general fund to the cause, and would amend the budget for the 2014 fiscal year to include the addition.

Councilmember Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) said she has had personal experience led her to support the issue.

“There were days I would stand in the street to allow the ducks to cross … because the traffic wouldn’t slow,” Briere said. “One of my neighbors had the entire front porch ripped off her house because a car ran into it … I would like to see that we include additional traffic calming measures in every future budget.”

Councilmember Sumi Kailasapathy (D–Ward 1) also spoke in favor of measures and said she fears for the quality of life in such neighborhoods where speeding and failure to adhere to traffic standards are commonplace.

Councilmember Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) expressed concern about the haste of the amendment to the budget and its consequences.

“I would request that we postpone this until the next meeting to get a little more information on the traffic-calming program to figure out how we can fund it for a much longer duration or, at least, keep the program in the eyes of the public for a much longer duration,” Kunselman said. “As much as I’d like to spend these monies, I’m still trying to be careful … even though $55,000 is actually very small, this is going to open up the door for a lot of other safety projects.”

Councilmember Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5) echoed Kunselman’s concerns, claiming that the resolution should be postponed due to a lack of research into city areas that truly need traffic calming.

Ann Arbor resident Zoltan Jung argued in favor of the traffic-calming resolution and noted that his street is dangerous due to speeding and lack of adherence to traffic laws.

Sidewalk ordinance

The Council also listened to and unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to change the definition of what is considered a sidewalk.

The new definition would be made to include “any concrete or bituminous walkway” created for the use of bicycles, pedestrians or any “non-motorized” vehicle. This would affect 33 of the 61 cross-lot walks, which are sidewalks or walkways between two or more parcels of land.

Under the new definition, the ordinance also states that the maintenance of all sidewalks outside of the Downtown Development Authority’s jurisdiction would be the responsibility of the owner of the adjacent properties. However, owners of properties that border the cross-lot walks and already pay property taxes to the city, are exempt from responsibility.

This exemption came after the ordinance was sent back for revision Monday night’s meeting. For the most part, this exempts the majority of abutting property owners from responsibility.

However, some property owners will still be liable for maintaining their cross-lot walks.

The ordinance included the option for the city to enter into an agreement with the DDA to upkeep the sidewalks within the DDA’s territory through June 2017. Otherwise, the city could treat these sidewalks as sidewalks outside the DDA territory and make it the responsibility of property owners, who are not exempt, to upkeep the sidewalks.

Briere said one of the noteworthy changes regards winter damage.

“This ordinance change doesn’t just refine the definition of sidewalks; it also accepts those properties adjacent to those sidewalks are not responsible for (winter damage),” Briere said. “Four houses divvying up one sidewalk deciding who has to (maintain it) would be a problem.”

Renters — including students — could see a hike in payment equal to the cost of maintaining these pathways if certain property owners do become responsible for maintaining these walkways as a result of the legislation.

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