Hennepin County Launches New Pedestrian Safety Plan
Name the street corner, in any part of the Twin Cities, and you'll see the dangerous dance that goes on between drivers, walkers and bicyclists.
"You should be able to move along our roads safely, and it should be convenient to you,” according to Karen Nikolai with Hennepin County.
The county kicks off a series of community meetings soon to develop strategies to support walking - bankrolled in part with $46,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nikolai explained, “Just between 2007 and 2011 the Twin Cities has had an increase of 18 percent in walking rates, that's a pretty big deal, that's actually a really big deal."
She points to recent changes on Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis as a perfect case-in-point.
“The walkability factor is awesome, I completely feel at ease," Kari Sohlberg walks the area regularly, and loves the changes because of wider sidewalks, next to a street that now only has two lanes of traffic.
Crosswalks are clearly marked -- crossing lights have a countdown clock.
Yet not everyone sees the benefit.
"I wasn't thrilled,” laughed Emily Gilbertson. But she changed her mind, when Olivia, Gretta, and Ruby came into this world.
Gilbertson explained, "I have little ones to worry about, it is nice that cars go slower."
Anything to slow the cars down, and keep her girls out of that dangerous dance, is a-ok.
As for the CDC’s involvement in this -- it is looking at the issue due to the health benefits of walking.
Here’s a link for more information on the plan, and how you can get involved: http://www.hennepin.us/pedestrianplan