- Charles A. ZelleMinnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner
- Jeff VlaminckMinnesota Department of Transportation, District 6, District Engineer
Ask MnDOT to Change Their State Highways Traffic Rules to Keep School Children and Residents Safe
Ask MnDOT to Reduce the Speed Limit and Follow the Safe Route to Schools Recommendations of the Sections of State Highways That Become City Streets
Cities grow outward and, in the process, many state highways in the state of Minnesota become part of the cities they serve as they pass driveways and schools. The situation becomes very dangerous when the speed limit of the highway is not adjusted automatically to the pace of city life by slowing vehicles down from 45 or 55 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour and the highways don’t follow the Safe Routes to Schools recommendations. These highways are unsafe when residents have to cross them to access their schools or residents have to drive into high speed traffic as they leave their homes. Cities and school boards seem powerless as they face rules they cannot alter; rules that are governed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). And MnDOT’s rules in this matter are dangerous: if there is not enough traffic to justify an inconvenience to drivers, MnDOT will keep the higher speed limit and not follow the Safe Route to Schools recommendations. It doesn’t matter that the highway becomes a dangerous trap for drivers and pedestrians alike during some hours of the day, especially in the morning, when the school day begins and commuters start their day and the afternoon hours when school ends or there are concerts or sports events.
A section of State Highway 246 in Northfield in Southern Minnesota passes by the Middle School and the High School and a whole neighborhood. The safe speed limit around schools and driveways should be no higher than 30 miles per hour, yet, in Northfield, the speed limit by the Arbor St. and Anderson Dr. neighborhoods across from the Northfield Middle School and the Montessori Children's House goes from 45 to 55 miles per hour. Under those conditions, no one is allowed to cross the highway on foot to access the Northfield Middle School. The School Board had to impose mandatory bussing for all the students at the Northfield Middle School, even for students living across the highway from the Middle School. Under the Safe Route to Schools recommendations, areas like Highway 246 by the Northfield Middle School should have a metered traffic light, a roundabout or an underground tunnel for students to safely cross the highway. MnDOT recognizes the problem in Northfield and many other cities around the state of Minnesota, but the agency is not changing their rules to prevent major accidents from happening.
The 246 Solutions Group is a group of concerned Northfield residents that has been working with city and school officials and local representatives who share the frustration we all feel that MnDOT will not reduce the speed limit and follow the Safe Routes to Schools recommendations around neighborhoods and schools. Please join us in asking MnDOT to put the safety of our children and residents first everywhere in Minnesota.
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Thank you very much for your support.
The 246 Solutions Group in Northfield, Minnesota.
- Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner
Charles A. Zelle
- Minnesota Department of Transportation, District 6, District Engineer
Ask MnDOT to Change Their Traffic Rules to Keep School Children and Residents Safe
Highway 246 Solutions Group started this petition with a single signature, and now has 247 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.