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A pedestrian safety push is coming to four Michigan cities over the next week — Detroit, Warren, Lansing and Kalamazoo — per the state's office of Highway Safety Planning, an office of the Michigan State Police.

From Thursday through Sept. 11, police will be working overtime, literally, and "will focus on the laws applicable to pedestrian safety." Specifically: illegal turns, drivers not yielding to people at crosswalks and vehicles blocking the roadway.

But pedestrian safety cuts both ways, and officers will also be on the lookout for pedestrians who don't follow traffic signals or don't use sidewalks when they are provided, those who fail to yield to drivers who have right-of-way, and those not walking facing traffic when they're on the roadway.

The four cities, in addition to being population centers, were identified by the Office of Highway Safety Planning "as having some of the highest number of pedestrian crashes over a five-year period," from 2013 to 2017.

Over that time, Detroit had 2,330 crashes involving pedestrians, while Kalamazoo had 264, Lansing had 261 and Warren had 193.

In 2018, 145 pedestrians died in car crashes, while 1,820 pedestrians were injured, according to Michigan State Police statistics. Slightly more than 11 percent of pedestrians killed were 21 or younger, and 8 percent were 75 or older.

The grants are funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The grants require a 20 percent local match, said Kari Arend, a spokeswoman for the Office of Highway Safety Planning. Accounting solely for federal dollars, Detroit received $44,720; Warren, $42,000; Kalamazoo, $78,416, and Lansing, $8,339. Those are 2019 totals, not just for this round of enforcement. 

The September enforcement push comes six months after a similar effort in March targeting three cities: Detroit, Kalamazoo and Warren. 

The two enforcement periods are mandatory, Arend said. Enforcement beyond that requires a plan from the local communities, based on crash data.

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