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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Mayor to veto repeal of Ann Arbor's crosswalk law

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Ann Arbor's City Council voted 6-4 Monday night to repeal its controversial crosswalk ordinance.  The rule requires drivers to stop if a pedestrian is waiting on the curb to enter a crosswalk.

But it looks like the rule won't change.

The Mayor of Ann Arbor, John Hieftje, says he will veto the repeal before it has a chance to take effect.

He thinks the current law makes things safer for pedestrians. 

"We're seeing a dramatic improvement in the number of drivers who are stopping for pedestrians now. Pedestrians and anybody who walks a lot has seen that," Hieftje said. "I just think it would be a big mistake to turn our backs on the progress that's been made."

He said it's dangerous if cars don't stop until a pedestrian is already in the crosswalk. "If it's a pedestrian or if it's someone in a wheelchair, that mean's being in harm's way."

Supporters of the repeal disagree. Among other reasons, they think the city's ordinance is confusingly inconsistent with state law, creates unsafe conditions for drivers, and gives pedestrians a false and dangerous sense of security.

It doesn't appear there are enough votes to override a mayoral veto. Eight votes are needed.

Hieftje said there is substantial agreement that pedestrian safety is a priority. He said he anticipates flexibility in the budget going forward to allow some funding for education, enforcement, and physical infrastructure improvements for that purpose.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom