Drivers may now have a clearer understanding of when they must stop for pedestrians in Ann Arbor, as Ann Arbor City Council members continue to revise and clarify the current crosswalk ordinance.

At its Dec. 19 meeting, city council approved a revision to the city’s controversial crosswalk ordinance that no longer requires that vehicles stop for pedestrians “approaching or within” crosswalks, instead requiring that vehicles stop for a pedestrian standing “at the curb” or “within the crosswalk.”

As one of three members who proposed the revisions in November , councilmember Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) said a major challenge in drafting legislation was avoiding ambiguity and ensuring universal understanding.

“For members of council, ‘approaching’ meant standing on the curb, about to take a step into the intersection,” Briere said, referring to the original ordinance that was implemented in July 2010. “But for people not on council, ‘approaching’ could have meant walking past a crosswalk; it could mean 20 feet away from a crosswalk.”

Furthermore, Briere noted that the previous ordinance was difficult to apply to different road types, citing a revision made to the original ordinance that requires a vehicle to stop when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling.

“On a typical neighborhood street where there’s a crosswalk and two lanes of traffic, it’s absolutely easy for the driver to see a pedestrian on either side of the street and stop,” Briere said. “But when you talk about five lane roads through town like Plymouth Road, it’s difficult for a driver traveling in one direction to observe a pedestrian four lanes over waiting at the curb.”

City Council member Tony Derezinski (D–Ward 2) said council must continue to protect pedestrians in Ann Arbor and seek new ways to ensure safety.

“We are there for a reason,” Derezinski said. “We have an attitude and a value of really promoting pedestrian traffic and making it safe.”

LSA freshman Claire Erba said she believes that the newly passed ordinance is more realistic and will benefit both pedestrians and drivers.

“Pedestrians will now need to clearly indicate their intention to use the crosswalk by standing on the curb,” Erba said. “This will definitely prevent drivers from guessing whether or not someone is about to cross the street and will prevent rear-end collisions.”

Kinesiology freshman Chelsea Morgan said though she was unaware of the revisions, she was confused when cars have stopped long before she arrived at a crosswalk. Regardless, Morgan said she is not concerned for her safety.

“I haven’t noticed the effect of the new law after I arrived back on campus from home,” Morgan said. “But even without the revisions, I felt safe as both a driver and pedestrian in Ann Arbor.”

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