CHPD Develops Pedestrian Safety Plan

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Recently, MnDOT found that a portion of MN State Hwy 65 that runs through Columbia Heights has a higher-than-average risk of crashes involving pedestrians, including crashes that cause serious injury or death. The study also showed both Central Ave and University Ave are among the most dangerous corridors in the state.

The CHPD, in partnership with Anoka County, MnDOT, TZD (Toward Zero Deaths), and Metro Transit, has started an initiative to make the Central Avenue corridor safer for both pedestrians and motorists. CHPD officers are dedicating time during their shifts to seek out unsafe traffic and pedestrian activities in an effort to educate the public and promote safety through these contacts.

“While enforcement is part of this, our focus will be on public education and outreach,” said Sgt. Justin Pletcher.

Pletcher offers the below tips for better pedestrian safety:

Pedestrian Tips*
     -Look both ways before crossing
     -Make eye contact with drivers
     -Watch for turning and passing vehicles
     -Look across ALL lanes for moving vehicles before crossing
     -Use a walking bridge to cross if one is present
     -Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars, or other obstacles before crossing
     -Cross in a well-lit area at night
     -Wear bright colored clothing and reflective material, especially during dimmer times of day
     -Mount a safety flag on wheelchairs, motorized carts, or strollers
     -Cross streets at marked crosswalks—not mid-block
     -Remove headphones and stay off of cell phones while crossing
     -Obey ALL traffic signs & signals
     -Don’t solely rely on traffic signals; look for vehicles before crossing
     -Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic
 
Drivers*
     -Don’t use your phone when you drive. Put it in the glove    compartment or backseat, or turn on a do-not-disturb app, or buy a holder to clip your phone to the dash. You   can use it in a voice-activated or single-touch mode
     -Stop for crossing pedestrians at every intersection, even those without crosswalks or stop lights
     -Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians
     -Obey speed limits and come to a complete stop at stop signs
     -Do not put earphones in both ears at the same time. That is illegal in Minnesota
     -Watch for people in wheelchairs and motorized carts, who may be below eye level

*From the MN Safety Council and CHPD

8-16-19