Sidewalk of the Week: Lexington Parkway and Selby Avenue
This past week has seen a few too many tragic accidents involving cars hitting pedestrians, bicyclists, and each other.
It makes me think of the similarly tragic incident back in March, where a bunch of high school kids were goofing around and accidentally pushed one of their friends in front of a moving car on close to Saint Paul Central High School
A week or so after that accident, I happened across the Lexington Avenue sidewalk where the tragedy took place, and I found this memorial to mark the site.
In one way, this sidewalk is a rather surprising place for an accident like this. The pedestrian space is pretty wide, and separated from traffic lanes by a good tree-laden buffer zone. In addition, Lexington Parkway is a separated 'boulevard', with a pedestrian median in between the four lanes of traffic.
On the other hand, the width of the street, plus the separated two-lane treatment makes it easy for cars to speed pretty quickly along this stretch. People regularly exceed 40 mph on this road, and anything higher than 25 mph is enough to kill a pedestrian. (This is exactly why calming and medians are so important for places like Snelling Avenue.)
It just goes to show you that cars and people were not meant to physically interact, and that unless you slow cars down pretty dramatically, no street can ever really be safe for kids playing around.