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Ann Arbor, MI

Walk Friendly Communities - Gold Level

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Community Highlights

Ann Arbor is designated as a Gold-level community due to the city's outstanding planning practices, excellent sidewalk network, and walking volumes. Highlights of Ann Arbor's application include:

  • Ann Arbor stands out among other cities by its focus on creating a walking environment that is comfortable and attractive. Among other amenities, Ann Arbor provides sidewalk furniture, planters, wayfinding signage, fountains, and information kiosks. They also stipulate that 1% of city funds must go to public art, which makes walking an interesting and worthwhile activity in the city.
  • Among the many great programs in Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Transportation Program operates the Ann Arbor Safe Streets and Sidewalks Taskforce, which brings stakeholders together around pedestrian safety issues. The diversity of the group is noteworthy in particular and includes city employees, law enforcement, public health, transportation officials, public relations personnel, legal staff, university officials, and pedestrian advocates.
  • Ann Arbor's journey to work walking mode share is substantially higher than the US average. This is certainly due, in part, to the fact that 98% of arterial roads have sidewalks on both sides and 82% of non-arterial roads have sidewalks on both sides. Ann Arbor has done a great job putting the infrastructure in place to create a safe walking environment.
  • Providing crossing amenities is clearly a priority in Ann Arbor. Aside from strengthening pedestrian ordinances to require drivers to stop for pedestrians in/or approaching crosswalks, they also have a crossing location prioritization scheme, regularly maintain crosswalks, employ in-road stop/yield signs, and implement advance stop/yield lines and raised crosswalks. The focus on pedestrian crossing amenities highlights the commitment to pedestrian safety in Ann Arbor.
  • Traffic calming initiatives (PDF) are also strong in Ann Arbor. Using a neighborhood based program, the city has met with success in reducing speeds along residential streets by employing speed humps, chokers, traffic circles, road diets, and raised intersections among others.
  • A successful Crossing Guard Program has been in place at schools in Ann Arbor for some time. Crossing guards are hired following a successful drug screening and background check and undergo a training course. Providing crossing guards can create a safe walking environment for children and foster a culture of walking in a community.
  • Counting pedestrians is fundamental to prioritizing where to target pedestrian infrastructure investment. Ann Arbor has conducted pedestrian counts at 31 intersections each year since 2006 during the summer months, which has led to better planning initiatives and targeted engineering treatments at the places where people are walking most.