The Daily printed a letter to the editor I sent in a couple days ago today, but edited it slightly (perhaps for space) and didn’t print the relevant affiliations I provided: a member of Ann Arbor’s Cool Cities Task Force and vice chair of the Urban Issues Collective, noting instead only that I was a former staff member. While I understand they think it important to note which letter authors are former staffers, I can’t help but think it has the effect – intended or otherwise – to cast me as only a former writer and nothing more. Here’s the letter as I sent it in:
“To the Editor:
I was disappointed to read the anti-pedestrian bias of University and city officials in yesterday’s Daily story “Jaywalking causes greater concern since student deaths.”
In a city where many residents choose not to drive or own a car, it is not only fundamentally unfair but degrading to expect pedestrians to scurry squirrel-like across heavily-trafficked streets to get to the Union, class, the supermarket, or to their church, temple, or mosque.
Autos and pedestrians should share the road, and city officials should install well-marked, raised, and lit crosswalks at places where many pedestrians cross the street: on South University, on Madison Street in front of South Quad, and on Plymouth Road, among others.
When there is a glut of automobile traffic, city officials seem to jump to rectify the situation. When there is a glut of pedestrian traffic, city officials frequently blame the pedestrians for not walking far out of their way to get to their destination, something rarely expected of automobile drivers.
Yes, Sgt. Logghe is correct: impatient pedestrians jaywalking are a problem. However, impatient motorists are a more serious problem, whether running red or yellow lights or, in an incident last week, pulling over to slap a fellow motorist who was driving “too slowly” on Liberty Street. City officials should understand they can minimize jaywalking by installing more crosswalks, and increasing the crossing time on “walk” lights.
The LSA freshman interviewed in the story seemed to hit the nail on the head, saying “The crosswalks just aren’t always the most convenient or efficient paths.” University and city officials should spend as much time worrying about whether pedestrians are adequately accommodated as they do worrying about accommodating cars.
Ann Arbor Cool Cities Task Force Member
Urban Issues Collective Vice-Chair
See the letter and as it was printed, below an unrelated clarifying letter from Prof. Matt Lassiter.
Ian Robinson also has a viewpoint about the Lecture Employees’ Organization (LEO) titled “Non-tenured faculty unite! LEO rising” LEO is planning to hold a rally today to coincide with today’s Regent’s meeting.