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Current Traffic Conditions Put Pedestrians At Risk

July 13, 2017
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

Safety has become an issue for the pedestrians of Emmetsburg. On Monday, July 10, Don Larsen attended the scheduled City Council meeting to bring the danger to the attention of the council members.

As a reminder, pedestrians have the right-of-way in the crosswalks in the city of Emmetsburg, but vehicles very rarely follow this ordinance.

"I came up to Wigdahl's corner and I just about saw a lady get run over in the crosswalk. She had to jump back and the pick-up just kept right on going around," Larsen commented. "I have never been in a town like Emmetsburg that the pedestrians do not have the right-of-way. Somebody is going to be hurt. And I thought I would be the one to do it [bring it to the attention of the council], since my wife has been run over in this town. And something has to be done.

"The comments I got from some ladies- people that work here for the city. They won't even cross the street; they'll drive their car to the bank and the post office. Now those are your employees that you are responsible for." Larsen continued. "Those are your own employees that are scared to cross in the crosswalk."

"I volunteer at Saint Pat's and I can stand at that window and watch the ladies at the courthouse to try their best to get across the street to go to the post office and it is a zoo because almost nobody stops," Mayor Myrna Heddinger agreed.

"My wife and I just went on vacation, and we went to Vegas, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. You put one foot in that street, and they stop. They will not move, they know that they will get a ticket. From my findings, in five years, there has been approximately 16 warnings and 4 fines [for motorists not stopping for pedestrians in Emmetsburg]. The main excuse is that when people have been stopped, they didn't know that the pedestrian had the right-of-way" Larsen remarked.

"I agree with you on the pedestrians," City Administrator, John Bird answered. "Until we start writing tickets, it's not going to get better. I will stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, unless I'm in the inside lane and there is somebody roaring up behind me in the same direction that is in the outside lane. You almost put that pedestrian in danger."

It has become dangerous in Emmetsburg to let pedestrians cross Broadway as drivers are unsure if vehicles in the lane next to them will also stop. It is important for all drivers to know that pedestrians have the right-of-way in the crosswalks.

Another area that is often of concern are vehicles taking a left at the corner of Broadway and Main. The pedestrian still has the right of way at this intersection. Vehicles making a left hand turn must yield and let the citizens cross.

"How come they can do it in Spencer?" Larsen asked.

"They do have 'walk' and 'don't walk' signs in Spencer," Brian Campbell replied.

Larsen also brought up the stop light at Casey's. He noted that trucks from the west often run the red light.

"There's places that have a blinking yellow light that says 'be prepared to stop' and I think that would be very appropriate in that location, coming from the west because it is going downhill and it is hard to see," Larsen mentioned.

"We talked about that actually a few years ago, and at that time the DOT would not allow them inside the city limits where the speed limit is less than 45 miles per hour. It was a DOT issue," Brian Campbell noted.

"Frank and I and several others, have met with the DOT and that's one of the things they are going to look at. Largely, it has to do with the topography with those trucks coming down the hill from the west. They're just going too fast." Bird added.

As traffic has increased due to the summer season, it is important to keep the community safe. Remember to mind crosswalks and red lights as they area high-risk areas for pedestrians.



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