Home > Announcement, Complete Streets, Representing, Safety Issues, Walking > City May Pass Ordinance Requiring Stops at Crosswalks

City May Pass Ordinance Requiring Stops at Crosswalks


The Traverse City city commission will consider an amendment to the City’s Uniform Traffic Code tonight to require that drivers stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. This is the first official action to come out of the August 22nd study session concerning rules and regulations concerning pedestrians and bicyclists.

Currently, state law is can be interrupted as simply don’t hit anyone. It states that drivers must “yield” to pedestrians, both at marked and unmarked crosswalks. Local representative Wayne Schmidt has written a bill to clarify state law, but that bill hasn’t seen any action beyond a sub-committee. The change in Traverse’s ordinance is modeled after Ann Arbor’s crosswalk ordinance passed in 2010 (MI Daily).

Prioritize People

This is a right step to take to prioritize people’s movements on foot or wheelchair. It will add importance to establishing more marked crosswalks in the future. We are typically familiar with crosswalks in the downtown district, but this amendment will also impact a crossing like that found at the notorious Garfield Ave. and Washington St. intersection.

Still, culture is changes slowly, don’t expect consideration for pedestrians like that found on the west coast right away. This change, if passed obviously, will take time to change the awareness of people driving in the community.

The entire part of the Traverse City Code of Ordinances to be altered is Section 410.03 and can be read below beginning on page 59 of the packet for tonight’s meeting (PDF).

Also of interest on tonight’s agenda:

  • Motor vehicle parking amendment to eliminate off-street parking requirements for new businesses in select locations (pg. 37).
  • Authorization of yet another study regarding Boardman Lake Ave. (pg 47).
  • Approval of the Natural resource element of the master plan (pg 67).


  1. Max
    September 6, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Can you explain what “marked crosswalk” means? Does it mean paint on the road or a sign…and a sign…? Is the crosswalk at NMC (Front/College Drive/Fair St) a marked or unmarked crosswalk? It’s certainly one of the most dangerous for pedestrians.

  2. September 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I am always surprised at how long it takes people to stop at cross walks (and also how FAST people will zoom through crosswalks). If we want to be bike & tourist friendly, we need to have this law on the books.

  3. September 6, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Gary: I love your Freudian slip that “state law can be INTERRUPTED as simply don’t hit anyone”. Great sentiment.

    Your post put a real smile on my face this morning. I’m delighted the City is taking this on.

    I’d only point out that the current law is actually quite sufficient, if we would only enforce it. That’s where the real hole is in all this. Without either a budget mandate or some other incentives for law enforcement agencies to prioritize pedestrian safety over vehicular expediency none of it will really matter.

    I’m in support of the City ordinance. I’d also be very interested in hearing from any law enforcement officials as to the types of conversations going on about this issue in their circles. Without their support and commitment to such an ordinance, we can assume its ineffectiveness and ultimate failure.

  4. Max
    September 6, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Oh nevermind, I guess it helps to actually read the agenda…

  5. September 6, 2011 at 10:35 am

    This was sent in as a reminder via email. I agree with it:


    Remind cyclists that they should do the same thing as vehicles at crosswalks… this past week I saw a cyclist downtown miss a person in the crosswalk by about 3 inches as he did not stop, slow down or even say sorry after almost hitting her. Both Vehicle lanes had come to a complete stop and he just kept flying by. It drives me nuts when I see cars do this so I thought I should mention when I saw a cyclist do this as well.

    Max, my recollection is that either pavement delineation or a sign are considered marked. That said, almost all intersections, unless so stated, are crosswalks.

    Lostgears, the trend is to clarify the law and many states are doing that. I think a “yield” leaves too much discretion to the officer called to a scene. Requiring a full stop I think provides added prioritization and unqualified understanding if something goes to a court of law. As far as the support and commitment, this is where strong or poor leadership from a city manager (in Traverse City, the ultimate authority) will clearly be evident.

  6. Ashlea
    September 6, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Signs would (hopefully) help to let drivers know about this already-existing law, but I still worry when I step out into a signed crosswalk (like Front near J &S) that a driver won’t yield to me so I just hang back and wait. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t even slow down when a pregnant lady with a toddler in tow are crossing the road. Yikes!

  7. matt
    September 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    FYI, I just moved back from the Chicago area and they recently installed these in front of my building when I was there. Needless to say, cars always stopped when no one was there, and rarely stopped/yielded to pedestrians- it almost made it more dangerous.

    I think it’s a great idea and hopefully the people of Michigan have a bit more sense to understand the signs.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Send MyWHaT a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: