I know - this is a hot topic in Sleepy Eye!
Well, the good news is nobody has been run over crossing Main Street at First Avenue (yet). The bad news is the reason no one has been run over is since the traffic doesn’t stop anyway, nobody has the nerve to step out and walk in the crosswalk. Me? I’m still jaywalking. I don’t expect anyone to stop—I just look both ways and wait for a big opening.
At the city council meeting last week, they talked about the crossing situation quite awhile. They’re not satisfied. The council members and police all see the same things.
The flashers go off when a vehicle makes a right turn under the sensor. They also seem to go off for no reason sometimes. (I know it can’t be, but I see them flashing when it is raining kind of hard. That can’t be causing it—can it?)
We all know the end result. Drivers have seen the lights flashing for no reason so often that they just ignore them.
I’m pretty sure most people don’t want to do this, but the way to make the traffic stop is to walk across the street. Of course you don’t step out right in front of a vehicle, but if you see that they have enough time and space to stop at the crosswalk, you just have to go. Anyway, that’s what the MnDOT guys told me. They also said to look at the driver and be sure they see you before proceeding.
Here’s the thing: pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. Whether flashing lights are in place or not, vehicles are supposed to stop when a pedestrian proceeds into a crosswalk. At First Avenue and at every other crosswalk along Main Street.
Back to the city council. The mayor said, and I agree, that MnDOT has been very responsive to questions and concerns. Councilors had some good ideas for MnDOT to consider. Could the flashing light bar be larger? Could it be higher, or farther out over the roadway? Unfortunately, any structural changes will likely not be made until next summer when Highway 14 is resurfaced through Sleepy Eye.
In the meantime, look before you leap (walk) and pay close attention when driving.
Jenna, our circulation manager, crosses there a couple times a day as she goes to the post office or bank. The other day she said, “I wanted to cross, but a sheriff didn’t even stop. He was talking on his phone.”