Every year at back-to-school time, I think about all the ways we can be better community helpers. That has resonated with me since I learned about how we may all look out for one another and help each other from Mrs. Austin in kindergarten at St. Anthony Park Elementary School.

And this year, while what it means to return to school may be different because of COVID-19, being good community helpers never seemed more important.

It’s no secret that crossing some streets in our lovely and caring community is at times risky. Hurried cars race through intersections and rumbling trucks cause commotion at crosswalks. So, what should a pedestrian do?

This question has troubled me since kindergarten, so much so that this is not the first letter I have written on the subject. I now believe that the answer is actually quite simple: pedestrians and drivers can be on the lookout and help each other.

First, pedestrians must not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is so close that a driver can’t stop. Minnesota’s pedestrian law also requires that drivers must stop for crossing pedestrians at marked crosswalks and at all intersections without crosswalks or stop lights.

One thing that considerably helps drivers be more aware of pedestrians is slowing down to neighborhood speed limits, many of which are now being lowered by the City of Saint Paul to make travel safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Be on the lookout for new speed limits throughout Saint Paul: 20 mph for local smaller streets and 25 mph for larger, arterial city-owned streets. County-owned streets remain at their 30 mph or sometimes higher speed limits.

You may pick up your own “20 Is Plenty” yard sign at Tim & Tom’s Speedy Market on Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon or Hampden Park Co-op on Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or reserve one today by emailing emily@sapcc.org

Let’s all be good community helpers, protecting the safety of St. Anthony Park’s many avid pedestrians. Our kindergarten teachers will be proud.

Cecilia Ruesga. sixth grade student
St. Anthony Park District 12 Community Council Transportation Committee

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