“Get your head out of your app.”
“Look. Cross. Live.”
“Phone down. Heads up.”
Ann Arbor residents and visitors will see more of these catchy phrases popping up all over the city. In a world where instant gratification and immediacy are so prevalent that we can’t take a five-minute drive or cross the street without checking our text messages or updating social media, we constantly compromise our safety and the safety of others.
A2 Be Safe is a promotional campaign to endorse the message- “Be Safe: Everywhere, Everyone, Every Day.”
“Safety is a responsibility shared among us all,” says Lisa Wondrash, Communications Director for the City of Ann Arbor. “No matter where you are or what you are doing, be safe. This isn’t just a campaign, but a culture that we want to support and cultivate in the greater community.” The campaign was launched in April 2017 by the City Safety and Communications units.
“Safety is a core value of the City of Ann Arbor and a top concern for many in our community,” says Wondrash. “As a result, our City Administrator tasked us with creating a campaign to elevate safety messages in every aspect of employee conduct, city services, and city operations.” Simple, bold, and actionable are the three words Wondrash uses to describe the A2 Be Safe messaging. It’s easy to remember and straight to the point.
It’s also all-encompassing: hitting social media, CTN, radio and print and adorning the Larcom City Hall floor, AAATA bus tails, bike helmets, windows, t-shirts and posters with its logo and catch phrases.
A2 Be Safe’s campaign materials are not trademarked and they are available online for anyone to access. Wondrash says this was done purposefully in order to encourage the sharing and usage of the logo, posters, and message wording throughout the community.
The campaign impacts anyone and everyone you can think of- residents, visitors, city employees, students, drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists- there are messages here for all to take to heart. Ann Arbor city staff is meeting with community partners who will commit to prioritizing safety in all aspects of their businesses and operations. To date, these partners include: Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, Ann Arbor Public Schools, the City of Chelsea, the Downtown Development Authority, Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Safety Town, the University of Michigan, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, Washtenaw County Public Health and Washtenaw County Road Commission.
“We will continue to broaden outreach efforts, work to expand our messaging and our target audiences to include school and construction zones and public works winter safety,” says Wondrash.
Fall plans for the campaign include:
— Traffic Tuesdays: 15-second spots on 107.1 radio
— Free A2 Be Safe window clings while supplies last, available at the customer service
— A2 Be Safe poster contest- ideas can be submitted to [email protected]
— Campaign roll-out in AAPS
— Promotional materials in U of M student welcome messages
— Social media ads
— New brochure explaining pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist laws
Striving to cultivate Ann Arbor as a safe haven, the city’s Transportation Department is also hard
at work on increasing safety measures.
The area adjacent to Huron High School will receive new digital signs that will display a 25 mph reduced speed limit during school start and end times. This new speed limit law was implemented in early 2017.
Funding for this project came from Safe Kids Huron Valley when they received a national Safe School Zone grant.
Upgraded retroreflective signs, new pavement markings, and increased street lighting in the form of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs), which are flashing yellow lights that alert drivers to pedestrians using the crosswalk, are also among positive changes made at this location.
All changes are in compliance with the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, according to Robert Kellar, Communication Specialist for Public Works.
This area was specifically chosen for safety advancements after Qi-Xuan “Justin” Tang, a junior at Community High School, was killed last October when he was hit by a car while crossing the street near Huron High School.
Kellar says the city is working towards a local agency safety grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to continue to make improvements.