Farmington officials took another look Monday at a proposed ordinance designed to better protect pedestrians crossing city streets. But they remain divided as to how far the new rule should go.
The ordinance requires drivers to stop for a pedestrian crossing within any marked crosswalk, or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except where traffic is controlled by a police officer or traffic signal. Currently, drivers are only required to yield once someone has stepped off the curb into their lane.
For Mayor Steven Schneemann, that’s not enough. He’d like to require motorists to stop even before pedestrians have stepped into the crosswalk.
“I’d like to see it in as strong language as possible, weighted toward the pedestrian as much as possible,” he said. “We like to say we’re walkable, and maybe we’re walkable, but there’s a risk.”
Other council members pointed out that people who stand near an intersection may not want to cross. Mayor Pro Tem Sara Bowman asked how the city could require a motorist to know what a pedestrian intends to do.
“I don’t know how we can regulate intent,” she said, adding her support for the ordinance as written. “What I like about this one is that the sign is now changed from ‘yield’ to ‘stop’. That, to me, was the biggest change I wanted to see.”
City attorney Beth Saarela suggested shifting the language toward where the pedestrian is located. “I think there are ways to demonstrate intent.”
Council member Joe LaRussa suggested “mirroring” language that regulates signalized intersections, requiring motorists to stop for those “who have started to cross the roadway”.
“I’m not willing to support that,” Schneemann said. “Basically, that’s what we have now.”
The ordinance will come back for discussion at a future meeting.