A new, yearlong effort targeting the culture of St. Paul crosswalks has already revealed the dangerous relationship between the city’s pedestrians and its drivers.
In one week of the campaign Stop For Me — organized by the nonprofit group Saint Paul Smart Trips — teams of neighbors and police found that between one-tenth and one-fourth of drivers fail to yield to pedestrians.
Even though Minnesota’s crosswalk law gives pedestrians the right-of-way at any marked or unmarked corner, many cars drive too fast to ensure public safety.
We can blame accidents on distracted drivers and pedestrians who ignore signals or cross at places other than crosswalks, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
In 2015, at least 23 pedestrians were killed and 655 injured in Minnesota. The year prior, 17 died and 837 were injured. Motorists are responsible for accidents with pedestrians about half of the time, MnDOT has said.
At the University of Minnesota — where public buses, the Green Line light rail, car traffic and influxes of campus pedestrians all converge daily — police said accidents tend to be the fault of preoccupied pedestrians.
Considering the high-density traffic routes along Washington and University Avenues, we urge Minneapolis and the University to consider implementing driver “stings” to remind motorists of their duty to pedestrians. We also encourage campus dwellers not to forget their role in public safety and to pay attention to all the forms of traffic buzzing around them.