Drivers in Grand Rapids required to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks

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.


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  • Clucko

    Another rule that won’t be enforced effectively unless the cop is sitting right there. Too many impatient drivers and too many lazy pedestrians don’t mix.

  • Tim

    “439 of those crashes happened in Grand Rapids” How many of these were pedestrians actually in cross walks and not just trying to cross a street anywhere they want?

  • Rose

    I’m afraid of having a pedestrian suddenly run across the street on one of these crosswalks. Since they have the right of way, it sounds to me like the driver will always be at fault if they get hit. Maybe they should have stop signs at all the crosswalks instead.

  • Old Bob

    I never try to cross at a cross walk. I have a hard time crossing at a light. People don’t pay attention when they are driving. We need a law to make cell phone use illegal in cars. The only place there are cross walks is downtown anyway. What about the suburbs. The traffic light are few and far between on most major streets. I can’t think of any cross walks on Division, Madison, Eastern, Kalamazoo, Alger, Burton, Hall, Franklin.

  • tomkat47

    What is considered a crosswalk, anyway? At the intersection of Grandville and Cherry, it is a 4-way stop. People are always crossing in front of the cars and there are no crosswalk signals. It’s a very dangerous intersection, yet nothing has been done to help the situation.

    • Old Bob

      I was at that very intersection last summer waiting for my chance to cross. I been there waiting for awhile. I am not steeping out in front of any cars. A lady came along, never slowed at all and went right across the street. I went with her, the cars did stop. It surprised me.