On the Saturday after Shelby Kokesch was killed by a driver when she was trying to cross Kellogg Boulevard at Mulberry Street in Saint Paul, I crossed Kellogg at the same place. A Wild game was scheduled at the Xcel Center. While I waited for traffic to ease up so I could cross over from the Minnesota History Center, a police officer in a safety vest got out of his parked car near the History Center driveway entrance.
“Are you going to cross the street?” he asked me.
I said yes. And he crossed with me, motioning for cars to stop so we could cross Kellogg.
I’m a fairly assertive pedestrian. But that day, with the increased event-related traffic, it would have been tough for me to cross Kellogg without that cop helping me. I eventually could have on my own, but I would have been waiting quite a while.
We can’t station police officers at every intersection throughout the metro to help people cross the street because drivers can’t be bothered to look and stop.
But we can find better ways to use engineering and enforcement to improve our cities for pedestrians.
Today at 1 p.m., a group of volunteers with the Saint Paul Stop for Me campaign will hold a crosswalk event at Kellogg Boulevard and Mulberry Street by the Minnesota History Center. Drivers who don’t stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk will be subject to tickets and warnings from police officers. This is one of 34 crosswalk events being held in Saint Paul this year.
And at 6 p.m., Marohn will present on similar topics before a local panel discusses how residents can work with them to improve pedestrian safety. Panelists are scheduled to speak at the Wilder Foundation from the City of Saint Paul, MnDOT, the Saint Paul Police Department, and the Stop for Me campaign.
In Saint Paul alone, a pedestrian has been hit by a driver every other day on average in the first 90 days of 2016. We can’t move fast enough on improving safety for people traveling on foot and in wheelchairs.