Urgent! WBWC Call to Action, today April 1

We wish some members of Ann Arbor City Council were playing an April Fool's joke, but unfortunately tonight's Council agenda appears to be a reflection of shifting priorities. There are two items on tonight’s City Council agenda (Monday, April 1st) that WBWC has serious concerns about. One would drastically reduce funding for pedestrian safety and the other would alter how transportation decisions are made in the City of Ann Arbor. Please contact council immediately.

First, we are strongly opposed to resolution 19-0610 sponsored by Council members Lumm, Eaton, and Griswold that would require all road diets to be approved by City Council. The resolution’s wording reflects concern that certain roadway changes could “adversely impact [automobile] traffic flow and congestion” and therefore should come for city council approval. We do not see an advantage to subjecting roadway improvements, which are already the product of qualified engineering analyses and robust public engagement through the master planning process and project development, to an additional layer of political review. Indeed, we believe these proposed process changes could easily undermine citizen engagement by allowing Council to alter/deny plans already vetted through the neighborhood planning process which may be opposed by a small, but vocal minority of residents opposed to change. Furthermore, we are incredibly concerned that the only projects that would come under Council review are road diets (lane reductions) which are projects intended to lower traffic speeds and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Second, we are strongly opposed to changing how the 2017 Washtenaw County Mental Health and Public Safety Millage rebate is allocated (40% affordable housing, 40% climate action, and 20% pedestrian safety) . We oppose resolution 19-0581 introduced by Council member Lumm and support the resolution 19-0565 introduced by Mayor Taylor and Council member Griswold. By way of background, on March 4th, a resolution was introduced by Council member Lumm to allocate the rebate portion of the millage according to the results of a small 2019 community survey, rather than continuing to honor the multiple Council resolutions that guided voter behavior and community support for the millage in 2017. Thanks to your letters of opposition, Council member Lumm pulled her March resolution. However, it appears our victory was only temporary. Council member Lumm’s new resolution would still redirect much needed funding away from pedestrian safety, affordable housing, and climate action based on the responses of the small sample of surveyed residents. WBWC supports the budget resolution sponsored by Mayor Taylor and Council member Griswold that funds pedestrian safety, climate change action, and affordable housing based on the percentages that council affirmed and announced to voters in 2017. The resolution also calls for metrics (“Smart Performance Outcomes”) to ensure that the funded programs utilize the money wisely.

Please attend Monday’s Council meeting and speak on these agenda items or, if you’re unable to attend in person, send City Council an email.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors

Washtenaw Bicycling & Walking Coalition

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