GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Drivers in Grand Rapids will soon be required to stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks within city limits.
The city commission is expected to approve the new ordinance in a final vote Tuesday night. The ordinance replaces a previous ordinance that required drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians instead of coming to a complete stop.
The city says that the new ordinance is part of a new "Vision Zero" initiative to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries. The city says that Grand Rapids has a higher than average rate of pedestrian-involved crashes than other cities in Michigan.
Grand Rapids has seen a nearly 21% increase in traffic crashes from 2009 to 2016. Nationally, pedestrian deaths now make up 14% of total traffic deaths, which is up from 11% in 2011.
Michigan statistics showed that there were 790 pedestrian-involved crashes in Kent County between 2012 and 2015, which was third highest in the state. 439 of those crashes happened in Grand Rapids.
Oakland County, on the east side of the state, saw 866 crashes between 2012 and 2015. Kent County's total is just slightly behind this, despite having half the population.
The city says they have been discussing implementing the new ordinance since last year, but the death of Grand Rapids philanthropist John Canepa last month boosted their efforts.