Walking in the street is HIGHLY DANGEROUS and PROHIBITED by Law

I saw this sign at a new construction project "The Station on Washington" at Washington Avenue Transit Mall and Walnut Street the other day. It says:

"Walking in the street is HIGHLY DANGEROUS and PROHIBITED by Law".

I don't disagree that walking in the street is HIGHLY DANGEROUS. Is it really PROHIBITED though? If I park on the side of the road, must I exit through the passenger door? If so, it is the least enforced law on the books. I know the sign is not official, I can tell from the wrong typeface and mixed use of capital and lowercase letters.

I believe (i.e. the City of Minneapolis tells me) that "Mid-block crossings are illegal if there are traffic signals at both ends of the block." also "State statute requires pedestrians crossing mid-block (between 2 intersections) to yield to vehicles, unless a mid-block crossing is marked. " That is not the case here, only at one end is a traffic signal. They also give me the tip "Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk on either side of the street, or if the sidewalk is inaccessible, walk facing vehicles. "

The actual law says:

Subd. 5. Walk on left side of roadway. Pedestrians when walking or moving in a wheelchair along a roadway shall, when practicable, walk or move on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder giving way to oncoming traffic. Where sidewalks are provided and are accessible and usable it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk or move in a wheelchair along and upon an adjacent roadway.

So if a sidewalk is provided and accessible you do have to use it. Should not a sidewalk be on both sides of the road to be "accessible"? This does not answer the question about exiting a parked car. Maybe I should climb on the roof to avoid walking upon the adjacent roadway.

At any rate, to my disappointment, the sign is not actually lying.

Which moves us to the next question: why does a developer (Opus), pitching itself as transit friendly, get to close a sidewalk in an existing pedestrian district? Why are they not taking space from motor vehicles to create a temporary sidewalk? It's not like Walnut does not have plenty of space and very little traffic.

Furthermore, why do the new traffic signals have pedestrian actuators. Shouldn't pedestrians get phases automatically, without pushing a button? I can see maybe as a call button, but not as the only way to get a ped phase.

David Levinson

Network Reliability in Practice

Evolving Transportation Networks

Place and Plexus

The Transportation Experience

Access to Destinations

Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Intelligent Transportation Systems

Financing Transportation Networks

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on October 11, 2012 7:01 PM.

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