Pedestrian Hit by Car. Driver OK, Say Authorities

Last weekend, a car driver ran over a man trying to do what should have been the simplest of tasks: crossing the street. On Wednesday, the victim, Theodore J. Ferrara, died from his injuries.

Lyndale at 25th

Ferrara is far from the first pedestrian seriously injured on Lyndale. The street is designed to accommodate cars to the detriment of every person (driver and non-driver alike) who uses it. Unfortunately, coverage of tragedies that are bound to happen on streets like Lyndale continue to avoid addressing the root cause of the problem.

These stories tend to portray drivers as unlucky participants in tragic accidents, rather than active agents in frequently fatal collisions. Any mention of deadly street design is out of the question. The bulk of the responsibility is instead heaped on the maimed or deceased. Coverage never fails to mention the victim’s flouting of the law when they crossed the street at the wrong place, or their recklessness when they chose not to wear a helmet.

Take the reporting of Paul Walsh in the Star Tribune (whose coverage of similar instances has been contested previously):

“A man who was run over by a vehicle last weekend while crossing in the middle of a south Minneapolis street has died,” writes Walsh. “The vehicle couldn’t stop and hit Ferrara.”

The writing reads like an account of a rogue driverless vehicle. This reporting separates the driver from their vehicle of destruction.

“The driver stopped immediately and ‘was fully cooperative,’ said police spokesman John Elder.”

This is, of course, what the driver was required to do by law. To do otherwise would have been a hit-and-run. Yet, for complying with the law after running over another human being, the article continues to portray the driver as blameless.

“Ferrara was ‘crossing midblock’ while others with him were ‘holding their hands up to stop traffic,’ Elder said….While expressing sympathy for those who knew the man, Elder also said the circumstances of this death ‘boil down to us reminding people to utilize traffic control devices and cross in crosswalks.’”

Here is the crux of the article’s car-friendly reporting, and police-spokesman Elder’s anti-pedestrian attitude. Because Ferrara wasn’t following the law perfectly at the time of the incident, they load him up with responsibility for his own death.

So why does this article omit any information about the driver’s compliance with the law? Was the driver distracted? Were they obeying the speed limit, or did they exceed the limit by enough to make the collision fatal? We don’t know. Did the police not bother to find out, did Walsh not find it important enough to report, or did the Star Tribune remove the information in the editing/publishing process? (Elder did not respond to requests for comments. Walsh said he is planning a follow-up to this initial article but did not provide further details about the crash or his reporting.)

Since its publication, the article has been sharply criticized online by Twin Cities proponents of safer streets. But of course, it’s not really the poor coverage that is the cause of their anger—it’s the poor street design that leads to these tragedies.

Lyndale is a dangerous place to be a pedestrian. Just look at the area where Ferrara was hit. It’s approximately .3 miles from the stoplight at W 24th St. to the stoplight at W 26th St. There are two lanes each way for cars, plus street parking on both sides (but no protected bike lanes). The speed limit is 30 mph, but drivers frequently exceed that speed while they weave dangerously around other drivers and pedestrians. The only marked crosswalks on that stretch of the street are at 24th and 26th. There is an unmarked crosswalk at 25th; and according to Minnesota law, drivers are obligated to yield to pedestrians crossing at unmarked crosswalks. But as this woman demonstrated, the chance of a driver actually stopping for a pedestrian in an unmarked crosswalk is exactly zero—even when the driver is a police officer.

Such design forces pedestrians to cross the street in dangerous places. If you’ve spent any amount of time outside of a car on Lyndale, you probably know this to be true. Rather than travel nearly a quarter of a mile to the nearest stoplight, pedestrians cross wherever they can, marked or unmarked.

Even if Ferrara had been crossing at the unmarked crosswalk rather than in the middle of the road, as Elder claims, the chances of him being hit and seriously injured would still have been dangerously high.

The city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County need to make serious improvements to Lyndale to prevent something like this happening again. Steps such as reducing the speed limit (something that Minneapolis is considering for all city streets), adding stoplights and giving Lyndale a road diet to make way for dedicated bus lanes and/or protected bike lanes would go a long way toward making the street safer for everyone. (Banning cars entirely would go further.) It is our duty to demand these changes.

The day Ferrara died was also the last day for the public to weigh in on the draft plan of Minneapolis’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which purportedly seeks to eliminate tragedies like Ferrara’s. Before finalizing their plan, I hope city officials take a field trip to Lyndale and try to cross the street themselves.

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75 thoughts on “Pedestrian Hit by Car. Driver OK, Say Authorities

  1. Eric Ecklund

    Just this weekend my friend and I were crossing Lyndale at 28th and a driver flew by when we had already been given the walk signal.

    I fully support a road-dieted Lyndale whether I’m walking, biking, taking transit, or driving.

  2. Drew

    Don’t attempt to cross one the city’s busiest streets at mid-block in the middle of the night. It’s illegal, reckless, and the highest level of self-endangerment. Not everything has to be turned into a war on cars and you can’t blame the driver any more than you can blame a driver who was following the law going through a green light and T-boned an illegal red-light runner.

    It’s a shame that this accident ever happened, condolences to his family.

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      Neither you nor I have any idea whether the person driving the car is blameless. We don’t know, because as Tim pointed out, no one seems to bother to ask.

      1. Mark

        Obviously the media needs to choose their words better and stop their pro-car bias, but I think its a dangerous to assume the police did not ask any questions of the driver or plan to continue their investigation in the coming weeks/months. Not all facts are available immediately, and not all information can be disclosed while an investigation is active. Just because you don’t have the information you want right now, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been collected or isn’t forthcoming.

        1. Rosa

          Maybe you should ask the police what they investigate, then? Since the majority of drivers on our streets do speed it’s pretty reasonable to assume this driver was speeding.

          Also since the death here was at the hands of a driver you cringing up the “war on card” is callous as hell.

          1. Mark

            That’s not how our legal system works. We’re judged on our individual actions, not what the majority of the people do or do not do. Regarding the police, they would be doing a full reconstruction of the incident which includes vehicle speed, when the brakes are applied, distance the vehicle traveled once the brakes were engaged, any evasive/avoidance maneuvers, checking cell phone records to determine if the driver was active on their phone in the moments before the incident, confirming the driver wasn’t impaired, taking statements from all witnesses, checking possible camera footage, etc…

            And you have me confused with someone else, I did not bring up the ‘war on card’ I merely stated the absence of information does not mean it wasn’t collected, nor does it warrant indictment of any particular party.

            1. Rosa

              That’s in court. In talking about incidents we get to assume people are normal. And, normal drivers on Lyndale speed. It’s so normal for drivers to speed that reporters don’t even ask if it was a factor.

              I’m sorry to have mixed you up with Drew (and now that person’s comment isn’t showing for me.)

    2. Julia

      Drew, stop victim-blaming–unless your goal is actually start a war on cars.

      Crossing midblock is legal, though hitting and killing people isn’t. From MN Statutes:
      “every driver of a vehicle shall (1) exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle or pedestrian upon any roadway”

      If you think the driver was sincerely exercising due care based on the road design (and I don’t disagree–we have zero information to know that), then the street is designed to kill people, and we need to hold the City, County, and their engineers and planners accountable.

      1. Marc

        You’ve quoted section (d) but omitted section (a) from:

        (a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

        Section (d) which you quoted just clarifies that drivers have to be careful around pedestrians even when they don’t have the right-of-way.

        Pedestrians must cross at intersections, or they must yield to motor traffic. Also, see Sub division 2 part (a):

        No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

        Crossing mid-block and failing to yield to motor vehicles is not legal, it is actually a misdemeanor. See Subd. 2(d)

        1. Sean Hayford OlearySean Hayford Oleary

          Failure to yield is illegal but in its own right it’s definitely less serious for society than killing someone — something to generally be avoided regardless of circumstances.

          Having not seen any clear info of where the crash occurred other than the seemingly anti-pedestrian statement by the police spokesman, I’m not totally clear it is midblock? Police frequently describe minor intersections (such as the two-way stop controlled intersection at 25th) as “midblock” when they are not.

        2. Julia

          I’ve honestly never seen a person leave a “place of safety” (ha! as if the curb protects people!) to “walk or run into the path of a vehicle so close that it is impossible to yield.” I’m sure it happens, but I’ve literally never seen it and I’ve walked tens of thousands of miles, mostly in Minneapolis. I have, however, misread a walk signal (it had been hit and moved by a driver but I didn’t realize until after, so I was seeing the other direction’s light) and stepped into the street with enough time that the driver could have yielded (I don’t assume drivers will stop for red lights, based on my experience)–but they actually sped up at me and I had to jump back. Did I deserve to die if I’d been less able-bodied, or with my elderly father (as I often am)? It was a genuine mistake on my part (and I called 311 to report it when realized what the problem was, caught my breath and calmed down). That’s far from the first time I’ve had drivers use their vehicles like that at me or seen drivers turn their vehicles on others as weapons of intimidation, including attacking children and elderly people (absolutely horrifying).

          You’re not saying what your view is, but it’d be weird to assume that it was impossible for the driver to yield, but the person trying to cross (who wasn’t alone) clearly understood otherwise. Driver wasn’t just going fast enough that they didn’t yield in time, but they were going so fast down a city street that they KILLED a person. Why do you assume the person walking was behaving illegally (running into the street as if they had a death wish), but not the driver (who’s in a city, in a dense neighborhood, at a high-foot-traffic time of day)?

          And frankly, I hold moral duty to be above legalities–we have a duty to one another that far predates any formal law. Core to that duty is DO NOT KILL. And within that, you don’t kill those more vulnerable and less powerful than you. To attack the weak, the elderly, the unarmed? To kill with a weapon? That’s anti-heroic and it’s at the base of our disgust with bullies and central to rules of engagement around war.

          If the driver was put in a position–by the design of the road–such that they violated that most basic human instinct? The city and county should absolutely be held accountable–to live knowing you’ve killed another person is brutal. And both the city and county have long-known that Lyndale is a dangerous street–this person’s death was predictable, the result of social and civil engineering that ignore people and communities.

          1. Michelle

            That literally just happened to me today. Driving towards Hennepin on Lagoon right by the Target store a guy just waltzed out between two parked cars in the middle of the block and crossed in front of me. He didn’t even turn his head to see if any cars were coming and I had to slam on my brakes. If I had been even remotely distracted for a second changing the radio station, I would have hit him. And that’s not even close to the first time that has happened in Uptown.

          2. Marc

            If the police account is correct then the crossing was ‘mid-block’, speed was not at factor, and there is no indication of “wrong-doing” on behalf of the driver (Southwest Journal coverage). The pedestrian was in a group of people who were attempting to stop traffic by holding out their arms; meaning they saw the traffic and chose not to yield to it, but rather compel it to stop. This was reckless and resulted in a death. Also, the quote says that the person was “run over” which can be fatal at any speed.

            If the reported facts are wrong, then obviously my analysis and conclusions may be wrong also. I have no basis to question the facts, they sound reasonable to me. People cross this way countless times per day with no incident. I have done this too.

            My view is that the driver acted legally, and the pedestrian acted recklessly, illegally and his death was a consequence. This conclusion flows from the facts and the law and is not a moral judgment. The death is tragic and undeserved. The true culprit is urban design that favors the automobile over the pedestrian. Crossing the street is so frustrating that regular people take extraordinary risks with tragic consequences.

          3. Brian

            How is “impossible to yield” defined for drivers? Is it okay for pedestrians to start across so long as a driver can stop with an absolute panic stop?

            I walk in downtown every day and I would never walk out in the street in front of a car assuming they are going to make a panic stop to avoid hitting me. I am way overly cautious and assume no car is going to stop even at a marked crosswalk that has the “yield to pedestrians “ signs in the street.

            A few years ago I nearly got run over at that crosswalk and I would say it was my fault. The truck’s turn signal was on and appeared to be slowing to make the turn. I started across and the truck was not turning. The driver slammed on the brakes and narrowed avoided hitting me. I realized that the driver was driving with hazard lights flashing and I missed that. I never would have started across had I not thought the truck was turning.

    3. Steve Gjerdingen

      I don’t see how people can possibly argue that crossing mid-block is always illegal, even on a street like Lyndale. I think that it in this case it wasn’t. The only argument one could possibly make here about the pedestrian breaking the law was that the pedestrian didn’t yield to the oncoming vehicle (Sec 169.21 sub. 3a), but if the driver had been speeding, I’m not even sure we’d have proof of that.

      Many people confuse mid-block crossing with illegal jaywalking behavior. MN law only prohibits mid-block crossings between 2 traffic control signalized intersections. 25th street and Lyndale does not have these elements.

      The law that people often associate with illegal midblock crossings reads as follows:

      Subd. 3.

      (c) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

      For further clarification, here is the definition of a traffic-control signal:


      §Subd. 85.Traffic-control signal. “Traffic-control signal” means any device, whether manually, electrically or mechanically operated, by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and permitted to proceed.

      I fail to see how someone who crosses mid-block anywhere on Lyndale is a committing illegal behavior. Now crossing Lyndale between Franklin and 22nd would definitely fall under the description of the laws provided above and I would agree that such a person would be jaywalking and that it would be illegal.

      1. Marc

        Crossing Midblock and yielding to all vehicles upon the roadway is legal.

        Crossing Midblock while failing to yield to all vehicles upon the roadway is illegal.

        You’ve quoted section (c) but omitted section (a) from:

        (a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

  3. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke

    This is a well written piece calling attention to both the deadly street, and how we ignore and justify it in our media, policing, and language. Lyndale Avenue should not be four lanes. It’s far too dangerous and (in this case) deadly. You can set up a lawn chair and watch people try to cross the street, and it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed. You can set your watch by the crashes that occur here. I used to spend hours outside Cafetto Coffee on the bench watching near misses from speeding, swerving drivers around the intersections.

    BTW the new speed limit law only applies to city streets, not county, so neither Minneapolis nor Hennepin county will not be able to reduce speeds here.

    It’s time to change Lyndale Avenue from a deadly arterial to a local street designed for the people that live in the neighborhood.

    1. Andrew Evans

      Speeding and swerving drivers seem more like an enforcement problem than design. Remove that behavior and the road becomes less dangerous. It’s too bad our leaders don’t have an interest in enforcement and saving lives.

      1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

        Swerving is definitely a design issue. Can’t swerve into to another lane that isn’t there.

        Speeding is also a design issue. The road is to wide and people driving feel “safe” going too fast.

        Enforcement is no substitute for design that doesn’t encourage the behavior we’re trying to get rid of.

        1. Andrew Evans

          You’re right, and you should tell the family of Ubah Hussen that her death was a design issue which allowed that accident to happen.

          I happen to drive my 911 the speed limit in town, it’s both extremely safe at speed and handles better than the average car, and I feel safe when I’m in it.

          Oh, and I don’t swerve in it, although there could be a lane right there, before looking around and checking to make sure it’s safe.

          All of those things are choices drivers make. Start to have real consequences for those choices and more drivers will stop making them.

          1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

            People haven’t changed their behavior to avoid the rather considerable consequence of killing someone but maybe if they get an expensive ticket one out of 1,000 times, it will all be magically better.

            1. Mark

              An expensive ticket isn’t a real consequence then. Take a look at the Nordic countries, DUI limits are ultra low (.02 in many cases) and the penalty is losing your license forever. The result? Very few drunk drivers.

              1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

                Yes, but having designed a transportation system entirely around cars, it is economically crippling for us to take someone’s license, and it doesn’t actually stop them from driving.

                I agree that driving should be much more of a privilege than a right, but we have a very long way to go for that to really be an option.

                1. Alessandra

                  If a persons car is forfeited and they can’t buy a replacement without a valid license then that goes a long way to actually enforcing revoked licenses.

                  Also economically crippling? By that logic we should just double down on car infrastructure so people aren’t inconvenienced. Instead we’re trying to force people to change their behaviors. We’re stopping ramps from being built, we’re asking for road diets, more bike paths, more BRT routes, numerous ways to get people to stop being car dependent. Proper enforcement with real penalties helps that, and in conjunction with road changes it enacts real change.

                  1. Andrew Evans


                    Adam forgets that 10-15 years ago, before the disbanding of the traffic unit, that speeding was a lot better and more tickets were handed out.

                    Maybe I didn’t pay as much attention as he does or did, but I can’t remember then as much speeding across the bridges in town, due to the threat of a traffic officer there doing a speed trap.

                    I do feel that our court system is a little soft, and suspended drivers can and do still drive, but enforcement can’t be simply overlooked as part of a total solution. Also that other solutions can’t really be complete without some kind of aqueduct enforcement.

                    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

                      I don’t “forget” it. It’s simply untrue.

                      It’s untrue in that I don’t recall any meaningful enforcement back than and that I don’t think there’s been any change at all in speeding. People have always gone as fast as they feel comfortable going.

                      I also doubt that very many drivers in the city actually know the cops don’t do traffic enforcement. In part because they sometimes do.

                    2. Adam MillerAdam Miller

                      You know, that’s not true. People are definitely speeding less on streets we’ve redesigned. 26th, 28th, 42nd, 46th are all definitely closer to safe speeds than they used to be.

    2. Trent

      This is another chapter in a predictable back and forth which occurs when one of these sad episodes occurs of a pedestrian or cyclist injured or killed in an Collison with a car.

      The paper writes in a certain style that outrages pedestrian foot traffic activists who then dissect the article sentence by sentence like a Fox News Opinion show host, unpacking paragraphs from the choice of a word. Apparently describing the collision as happening with the driver would make people happier even though it’s not as accurate as acknowledging the contact occurs with the vehicle, or the entirely redundant “Vehicle being driven be a person at the time” phase could be used, I suppose.

      The idea that the pedestrian made a mistake that unfortunately turned fatal is just not possible. It’s the drivers fault. It’s the design of the road fault. It’s the speed limits fault. People pull out state statute and start lobbing selected sections back and forth with great authority. The definition of a traffic control device is dissected.

      Contrary to to the snark that bursts forth immediately after these articles publish, the police do investigate these things. They get witness testimony, re-created the scene, data from the vehicle, the driver, BAC, etc…. and sometimes it takes a little time to make this determianation – but when the article is first written when the accident is fresh and raw, little is known. Think about the case on North Side where that man plowed into a bus shelter of people. Despite the community agitation and protests and people jumping up and down with all kinds of accusations, the police plodded along did their thing, gathered the evidence and made their charges. It happens all the time.

      Even if Lyndale was reduced to 2 lanes, and 25 MPH, this will not guarantee that should a pedestrian step out mid block into traffic, a vehicle, driven by a driver, might hit them and it may be a bad injury or a fatal event.

      And as long as I ‘m throwing unpopular opinions into this forum, spare a thought for the driver. While you may consider them the driver of a “vehicle of destruction” and your highest priority is validation that the driver was the one ultimately at fault, chances are they did not set out that morning hoping to run over a pedestrian who would later die. Chances are that they dont’ bear as much guilt as you would like to assign for this event and they are traumatized by the death which has occurred, independent if there is a criminal charge or not.

      1. Pat Thompson

        Things are incremental. If Lyndale were reduced to 2 lanes and 25 mph you can bet money that fewer pedestrians would be hit, there would be fewer close calls, and when a pedestrian did get hit, they would be less likely to die because the drivers would be much more likely to be going a slower speed than they are now.

        We all know that this driver is likely to live with guilt for the rest of their life, and that’s part of the tragedy of a street that’s designed to encourage “level of service” to cars and not safety to people whether in cars, on foot, or on wheels.

      2. Rosa

        They didn’t set out to kill someone, but chances are if they drove like a regular, normal driver in this city, they had a whole set of habits – speeding, not regularly yielding to pedestrians, not stopping before crosswalks, turning right while looking left – that set them up to kill someone.

        Pointing out their responsibility may help other drivers not habitually drive in such a way that it takes constant vigilance to not murder someone with your car. Which, like you pointed out, is pretty traumatic.

        Couple weeks ago I saw a group of 6-8 teens trying to cross Bloomington Avenue at a legal, unmarked crosswalk. They were standing in the parking lane of the street (so none of this “I don’t have to yield if they are still on the sidewalk” nonsense) around 3:30 in the afternoon. Car after car after car sped past (i was coasting on my bike for about a block and a half, hoping they’d get across before I got to where they were and had to come to a full stop). Finally two big boys just walked out in front of a car – I’m sure the driver thought “without even looking!” – which stopped, so the whole group started crossing. And then as they got to the middle a car coming the other way HONKED AT THEM instead of slowing down, and then had to slam on its brakes because those same boys stepped out in front of it.

        That’s the kind of heroics it takes to cross a Minneapolis street. If drivers are not the ones at fault for this, who is? We talk about design solutions but the designers who don’t physically block drivers from killing people are not the ones behind the wheel.

  4. Matt L

    Lyndale needs a road diet yesterday. I’m sick of putting my life in danger just to walk to a restaurant a few blocks from my condo. Or just getting home from my bus stop every afternoon.

    I’m done with the excuses from Hennepin county. This road has killed people for far too long.

  5. Sean Hayford OlearySean Hayford Oleary

    I think the City of Minneapolis should fund delineator refuge islands immediately at 25th and 27th. Here’s an example in downtown Richfield.

    For Lyndale, I would do something much larger, including being at least 8′ wide and crossing the entire intersection, forcing traffic to/from 25th and 27th to be right-in/right-out only.

    This could inform future decisions, could be done for a small amount of money, could result in an immediate safety improvement — and if the city funds it, they can avoid a tedious jurisdictional haggle that could delay action for months or years.

    1. Sean Hayford OlearySean Hayford Oleary

      Having a real, decent crossing at every corner would do a lot to encourage people to use it. As it stands, there is zero benefit in walking to the corner of 25th or 27th, because although you have right-of-way there and not mid-block — your actual ability to get cars to stop for you is exactly the same: 0.

      If cars don’t stop for you at the corner, and don’t stop mid-block, why would you go out of your way?

      1. Julia

        Plus if you cross at the uncontrolled intersection, you have to contend with turning vehicles (who’re generally only focused on other vehicles, not looking for people), which adds danger to your crossing.

    2. Andrew Evans

      That’s a great idea, especially there. Talk to the old timers at Bobs Java and you will hear plenty of stories about that intersection and accidents.

      No real reason to cross Lyndale there either, with 24th/26th/28th nearby.

  6. Andrew Evans

    I do get a laugh when reducing the speed limit is brought up as a potential fix, unless those talking about it mean taking it down from 40+ to where it is posted at 30. The city and our fearless leaders haven’t shown any interest at all in increasing (in a meaningful way) the traffic cops. Post the limits to 25 or 20 and without consequences drivers will still go however fast they feel.

    One fix for Lyndale/Hennepin is putting up a barrier between lanes north of 22nd, or about in the same place that no left hand turn signs appear.

    Once the 35 exit opens things may be better, but without any good options to get out of uptown those roads will still be pretty busy.

    1. Julie Kosbab

      Out west I saw some reverse speed bumps into intersections (dips, really) that had a natural slowing effect. I doubt they work in a snow/ice climate, alas.

      1. Andrew Evans


        On the parkways I wished they did more speed bumps, ones that really made a person slow down. Rural France as a ton of them, and let me tell you that they really do make you slow down and you only drive fast over them once.

        There is a speed bump like that in NE off of the path crossing on 4th street and 18th ave. It’s done in a way (either on purpose or by accident) that (for me at least) I can’t go over it with the 911 any faster than 20. As opposed to the ones down by the Northeast Park that I can basically go over as fast as I want and don’t pay attention to them.

        In all honestly they wouldn’t really need to be that big, just jolting and annoying enough to force a car to slow to around 30.

    2. Brian

      With the current crime issues, real or perceived, I can’t see the city adding a bunch of traffic officers before adding more regular officers. Mayor Frey wants to add traffic officers, but the council might not approve that part of budget.

      Traffic officers could potentially cost less to employ if they only handle traffic stops and perhaps require less training.

      1. Andrew Evans

        Brian the thing about that is Vision Zero had been (before it turned into Zero Effort) in the city transit plan, and still needs to be if there is a honest push to get more folks riding bikes and taking alternative transit. Part of that would be traffic enforcement.

        However, now that the city is saying in the news that police will be less able to chase, it’s turning into Zero Effort, and we will see more deaths like this and the mother of 10 that was hit in her mini van up in North last week. We can’t have safe streets with unsafe drivers facing no consequences for their choices.

          1. Monte Castleman

            Seems logical that crime will skyrocket if criminals know the police will no longer chase them.

            1. Julie Kosbab


              Do you really think criminals think “I will have to have a high speed police chase, and I’ll TOTALLY get away!”


              They think “This is a perfect opportunity!”

              No one ever thinks their crime is going to turn into an outtake reel of a Hollywood chase movie, and they don’t plan on that assumption.

              Most of the recent police chases have been for property crimes, and have endangered bystanders. They’re not running down al’Qaeda. They’re running down a holdup.

              1. Monte Castleman

                A holdup is not a “property crime”. A property crime is something like vandalism or an auto burglary where there’s no human victim around. And yes, I think that fear of being caught by the police and prosecuted keeps our already unacceptable crime rate from going even higher.

            2. Adam MillerAdam Miller

              I mean, no it doesn’t. I don’t think anyone is thinking, “I’d do a crime, but the police will chase me.”

              You can argue that fear of prosecution is a deterrent (I actually don’t think it is much of one, but that’s another discussion), but the chased it self most definitely is not.

        1. Andrew Evans

          I guess the union has been re-negotiating now for the past 8 years as downtown has got worse. Usually I thought it was done in contract years, and not over that long of a span. But what do I know.

        2. Brian

          There is another article just posted about living in North Minneapolis. The author mentioned their house has been broken into at least once. A comment on that article talked about someone having something shot out of their hand.

          The author of the article isn’t phased by a break-in, but a lot of people I know would be ordering the moving van if they got broken into, especially if it happened a second time.

          Do you really think that Police officers are allowing crime to flourish simply because their contract is up for renewL?

          1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

            “Allowing crime to flourish?” No, they (and their political allies) are talking about a “flourish” that isn’t real and, like you, pointing to single incidents to project a trend.

            Heck, you’re even pointing to things that Ms. Jorrell wrote about as having happened at some unknown time in the past and a comment that ended, “quite a bit of that is over now” as though they are evidence of a recent trend.

            Also, they don’t get the crime numbers up by letting things go. It’s the opposite. No doubt they are using some of their discretion there too.

          2. Andrew Evans

            Brian that was my comment.

            I should have worded it better but most of my neighbors issues were 15+ years ago. Looking at the crime map, around my little corner of North, it seems about the same as the rest of the city, sans the shootings/shots that were a few blocks away. It still could slide, especially with the recent rental changes the city made, but I’m not too worried about it. I have no issues parking my current 911 outside on the parking pad overnight when I’m too lazy to put it in, not that doing this is the end all be all of anything, but I don’t really have much of a issue with doing it where I live.

            I’m not going to touch on the rest that much, but I don’t think anything is related to a specific contract year. MPD has a strong union and weak chief and the union leader has had disagreements with MPD and city leadership for a while now. They may have taken a blind eye to things, but that’s mostly at the urging of city leadership and/or national events than anything the union would do on it’s own to make a point about a pending contract.

            I do think that certain council members take positions that are soft on crime. The younger public funded Ellison won in a 3 way race or primary, and Mr. Yang won before on a similar split vote. Him being hard on crime would end up with him losing his 6 figure job.

            Similar with our Mayor, if he put in as much effort into traffic and safety, especially after recent events such as this and that mother of 10, as he did hating on Trump or even the Redskins protest, we would be having a different conversation here. It seems like he has more national or state ambitions, and focusing on crime doesn’t resonate as well in his social or political circles.

    3. Sean Hayford OlearySean Hayford Oleary

      I’m not even clear if the current 30 zone on Lyndale is enforceable. If it is, I doubt it is regularly enforced.

      If 30 mph were truly the 85th percentile speed (ie, 85% of drivers were driving exactly 30 or less), Lyndale would be a much more humane street.

      Long-term, I think designing for an 85th percentile speed to hit 25 would be good, but the street would have to be radically different to achieve that at free flow. Right now, 30 is a common urban speed limit, so I agree that focusing on the design of the street right now is more important than the posted number.

      I also agree strongly with adding median. One of the many safety issue now is cars zooming around like angry hornets, bouncing from left to right lanes. Eliminating left turns from the left lane will help avoid this unnecessary lane changes.

      1. Andrew Evans

        Well again Sean, left turns were my biggest issue driving through there in traffic. The ones at the lights were fine, and although light timing could be changed it really wasn’t that bad to wait behind someone (I made the choice to stay in the left lane the whole time).

        Thing of it is the more frustrating ones were mid block lefts over the double yellow. Take those away, and improve timing, and at least from a driver point of view it’s smoother. The only way to remove them would be a barrier, so then too we could have pedestrian islands you were talking about.

        Ideally it would be nice to have right and left hand turn lanes, with barriers, but I doubt there is room like that. Previous comments by Monty also put doubt on doing a 3 lane road like they did on Broadway in places now, due to the traffic.

  7. Tim Pate Post author

    In writing this post, I wasn’t trying to determine whether Ferrara or the driver acted legally. I was pointing out that coverage of these crashes tends to heavily favor the driver; but my larger point is that Lyndale is poorly designed—so poorly that it’s sometimes deadly. If Lyndale were designed for people instead of for cars, we might not have lost Ferrara. Streets should be designed to keep people safe instead of to accommodate cars at the expense of people (including those inside cars!).

  8. Brian

    How come pedestrians are never wrong?

    I’ve had a pedestrian run across an intersection in downtown after the light in my direction was already green and bounce off my car as I had started moving. I had only moved a foot or two so she wasn’t hurt and went on her way. However, she glared at me like it was my fault she ran across an intersection after the light was already red. (This happened in probably 1999 and I almost never drive in downtown even though I am there five days a week.)

    I regularly see pedestrians haphazardly cross either Central Ave or University Ave in the northern suburbs where they are state highways with 50 MPH speed limits. Pedestrians will cross at any point they please and ignore the fact that there is heavy fast traffic. They seem to think they are invincible and that traffic will part like the Red Sea. They typically run fast enough that they make it across without being hit, but it is mostly luck.

    Yes, University and Central in those areas is a poor design for those on foot, but that doesn’t mean pedestrians should be just running across in heavy traffic.

    1. Will

      How do people think traffic will part like the Red Sea but will also be running across? The latter would imply they don’t think the former will happen. And with traffic lights being far apart over there, just going to the next one to cross may add a mile to the total walking distance.

  9. Will

    Often times, I prefer to cross mid-block as there is seemingly always someone looking to make a quick turn without looking directly where they are going, but trying to beat out cross traffic.

    Any investigation would say the drivers’ maneuvers were legal.

    It comes down to design. And for God’s sake, eliminate turn on red in the city.

    1. Brian

      What are the chances that a majority of drivers would obey “no right turn on red”?

      I constantly see drivers not wanting to wait and turning right on red when not legal to do so. As a driver I won’t turn right on red if prohibited. I have even been honked at for refusing to disobey the law.

      1. Will

        I live right by a turn lane that is prohibited and has a turn arrow: Jackson/6th in St. Paul. Few obey it. But it’s also only one of few intersections where it is prohibited. Do it across the urban landscape and it becomes a new, learned habit. And more readily enforceable by any LE on patrol.

        1. Brian

          The reason drivers don’t obey no right on red is because they don’t want to wait for the light to turn green. I don’t know how that changes just because every intersection is now no right on red. I doubt a lot of drivers are simply not seeing the signs.

    2. Monte Castleman

      Except that turns on green isn’t necessarily safer because the same cars that would have from made a turn from a dead stop across the perpendicular crosswalk are now making much, much high speed turns across the parallel crosswalk. Studies have shown conflicting results, with the possibility that that studies that show a benefit are skewed by intersections not being specifically posted that should, or an adjustment period right after the law changes. Nor are Barnes dances a panacea because the lengthy wait times for pedestrians encourage them to cross illegally when motorists aren’t expecting them.

      1. Mike

        The other consideration which is a positive for right on red is that cars which can turn right on red do so when Pedestrians cannot cross that same road. This avoids the problem of when the light turns green and the crosswalk turns “Walk” that everyone wants to go at the same time and depending on pedestrian traffic you may have motorists who feel they need to nudge into the crosswalk NYC Style to ensure they get through before the light changes again.

        1. Rosa

          except it doesn’t, because the cars that were turning right on red have other cars behind them that turn right on green. So there is just no time when it’s safe.

      2. Rosa

        What makes you think drivers turning right on red are doing so from a dead stop? In general they do not stop unless there is danger from a car coming perpendicular to them, and in that case they are looking left toward perceived danger, not right toward where they are driving.

        It’s even worse where there are turn cutlets – I cross Hiawatha at 35th or 32nd street every work day, twice, and drivers heading turning off Hiawatha at the turn cutlets at 35th rarely even slow down unless there is a train, and literally never stop before the crosswalk.

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