Do you love walking? You’ll soon have more safe streets to stroll in Richfield. While all major routes currently have sidewalks, the City will be expanding the network to provide safer pedestrian options in our community.
Also, did you notice the three temporary crosswalks constructed on Nicollet Avenue at the intersections of 71st, 72nd, and 73rd Streets? These crosswalks were designed to help make drivers and pedestrians aware of safe crossings and to educate our community on best safety practices while crossing a street. The crosswalks were part of a temporary demonstration project made possible by funds received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention. Here is what we learned from the project:
- Cars did not yield as hoped and intended
- Crossing increased 83% at Nicollet Avenue and 71st Street
- Motorists took most notice of the delineators
- A. The median—a safe space for pedestrians to wait, limiting their exposure in the street
- B. Highly visible crosswalk markings
- C. ADA accessible curb ramps
- D. Clear signage—alerts drivers while they are still a safe distance from the crosswalk
There are a number of practices that will enhance your safety while you’re walking.
- Always look carefully before you cross
- Make eye contact with the driver of a vehicle before you begin crossing the street
- Clearly show your intention to cross
- Remove headphones and stay off of your phone while crossing the street
- Obey all traffic signals
- Cross streets at the corner, not mid-block
To increase safety for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, the City of Richfield and Hennepin County will be installing traffic-slowing roundabouts in the busy intersections of 66th Street/Lyndale Avenue and 66th Street/Nicollet Avenue. These circular designs will work by helping traffic to flow seamlessly in one direction. Traffic slows but doesn’t come to a standstill, so the potential for bottlenecks and serious accidents is greatly reduced.
For many pedestrians, roundabouts are a new experience, but the usual common sense guidelines apply. Check for approaching traffic, just as you would if you were crossing a typical street. Wait until there is a gap in traffic—or until all approaching traffic yields to you—and cross to the median island (the area at the center of the roundabout). The island gives you a safe spot to wait before again checking for traffic and crossing to the other side of the roundabout.
Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs) installed at crosswalks increase safety for everyone by alerting bicyclists, drivers, and pedestrians to be aware of one another’s presence. When you see them, use extra caution and care.
How to use RRFB as a pedestrian:
- Push the button
- Look left for cars to yield
- Cross to median
- Look right for cars to yield
To see images and learn more about RRFBs, visit the Federal Highway Administration’s website.