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Ann Arbor's controversial crosswalk law could be repealed


The Ann Arbor City Council will vote tonight on whether to repeal the city's crosswalk ordinance.

State law requires cars to stop only after pedestrians have entered a crosswalk.

But the Ann Arbor ordinance also requires cars to stop for pedestrians who are waiting on the curb.

Councilman Stephen Kunselman (D-Ward 3) said the local ordinance creates unsafe conditions.

He said it can be frightening for drivers to  look at both the road and the curb, while also checking the rear-view mirror to see if they'll be rear-ended.

He said he has not found another locality with this rule. So out-of-town drivers are not aware of it, creating traffic dangers.

He said it gives pedestrians a false sense of security that if one car has stopped, others will too. 

"While it is inconvenient for a person to wait, it is much safer for them to wait for traffic to clear," Kunselman  said. "There's a huge risk for entering the road right of way when there's a lot of vehicle traffic."

Opponents of the repeal say there's no evidence the ordinance has harmed public safety or caused an increase in accidents. 

"I don't see any reason why we should ask seniors, grown-ups, kids to step into traffic before cars are obligated to stop for them," said council member Christopher Taylor.

Both sides agree on the benefit of providing better education to drivers and pedestrians about crosswalk safety.

If the repeal passes tonight, there will be an opportunity for public comment before a final vote.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom