Pedestrian Safety Downtown

December 29, 2011 02:15 by Ryan

Pedestrian safety is a frequent concern of both the public and the downtown merchants I hear from. Drivers on Commercial Avenue routinely fail to stop at intersections to allow pedestrians to cross and exceed the 20 mph speed limit north of 12th Street. The Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey downtown in July 2010 that revealed this is also a top concern for shoppers.

Making our central business district more active and pedestrian-friendly is a high priority for me, and one of my campaign promises. Getting shoppers out of their cars is key to improving our local economy: more foot traffic means more discoverability of our local businesses.

My sense is that many drivers are unaware of state laws requiring yielding to pedestrians, not just in marked crosswalks, but at any intersection. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices suggests one of the following signs can be placed either overhead above a crosswalk, or in the roadway at the crosswalk on the center line. The sign support would be designed to bend over and then bounce back to its normal vertical position when struck by a vehicle.


I support placing the landscape signs at as many different locations as possible on Commercial Avenue and 12th/Oakes. The portrait signs may have the unintended effect of teaching drivers that they need only stop for pedestrians at marked crosswalks, but would still be appropriate for placement in high-use marked crosswalks.

I’ve talked to Public Works Director Fred Buckenmeyer about this issue. He was quite receptive to the concern. I’ve also asked for a meeting with Police Chief Bonnie Bowers to discuss, among other topics, enforcement of the speed limit.

Comments (4) -

Sharene and Zac Elander

January 2, 2012 10:47

Your blog looks good.  We like your comments at shorter intervals rather than a longer newsletter format every two weeks or once a month.
In addition to the concern about pedestrian safety in crosswalks, we would appreciate it if you would speak to Chief Bowers about enforcement of the 25 MPH speed limit on 8th Street.  Thank you.

Sharene and Zac Elander

Jim Taylor

January 3, 2012 23:39

The 20 MPH speed limit by City Ordinance is actually from 10th Street North, not 12th Street.  However, might be a good time to consider extending it a couple of blocks.

Jim Taylor

Ryan Walters

January 8, 2012 23:36

Jim, thanks for the clarification.

Sharene, I spoke with Chief Bowers about Commercial, and 8th Street, speed enforcement. She indicated she would look into borrowing vehicle speed sensors from the County to check speeds on 8th Street.

Ryan Walters

Sharene and Zac Elander

January 12, 2012 15:48

Thanks Ryan for your quick response and for speaking with Chief
Bowers.  We hope there is closer adherence to the posted speed limits - especially in our neighborhoods - for the safety of everyone.

Sharene and Zac Elander

Comments are closed