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Minnesotans to Get More Time in Crosswalks

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I have written a number of times about the need to watch out for pedestrians. The law requires that in most instances the walker should be given the right of way. Basically, because you are in a big car and they aren't. It is clearly a safety issue. I was thinking about it today as I was out at a local strip mall picking up supplies for a Super Bowl party tomorrow. I was walking out of a store and along came a car that was full of kids. The driver apparently thought yelling at them was more important than the stop sign, crosswalk, and me in the road. I had been watching, but they clearly weren't.

I saw in a recent Kare11 story that apparently the State of Minnesota is looking at the issue of pedestrians and finding that they need more time to get across the street:

In the United States, crosswalks are timed on the width of the intersection, assuming most people walk at about 4 feet per second. But, researchers looking at our aging population determined people need more time than that. In 2009, the federal government recommended states and cities slow crosswalks to a speed of 3.5 feet per second.

So the State is taking action:

Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic engineer Sue Groth says her department is currently updating 1,300 traffic signals run by the state. MnDOT has reprogrammed around 200 signals so far, and hopes to finish the rest by the end of summer.

"The 3.5 feet per second will give people an additional 2 to 6 seconds depending on the width of the intersection, so we are pretty confident that is going to improve, but you do have to be intentional, we want people to push the button and be ready to move when the walk signal comes up," said Groth.

This is good news. It also, when you think about it, is a relatively small amount of extra time to make sure people are safer. Hopefully, increased awareness will make a difference.