It's no surprise that Minneapolis, our state's most populous city, has the highest rate of pedestrian accidents. What is surprising, though, is where these accidents take place. The worst intersections for pedestrians aren't downtown, despite the busy workday crowds and rush-hour traffic. Instead, they're just south, in the flourishing Uptown and Lyn-Lake neighborhoods.
Five Most Dangerous Neighborhoods
This revelation comes from a study recently published in the Star Tribune that examined pedestrian traffic deaths over the last decade. According to that data, the most hazardous Minneapolis intersections for pedestrians are located in the following neighborhoods:
- Lyn-Lake with 24 collisions at West Lake Street and South Lyndale, 17 at Lake and Pillsbury, and another 17 one block over at Lake and Blaisdell
- Uptown with 20 at Lake and Hennepin and another 11 at Hennepin and Lagoon
- Near North with 23 at West Broadway and Lyndale
- Stevens Square with 21 at Franklin Avenue West and Nicollet
- Ventura Village with 16 at Franklin Avenue East and Portland, and another 16 at Franklin and Chicago
In all, the neighborhoods south of downtown have seen 215 pedestrian accidents in the past decade, compared with only 86 downtown.
Lake, Hennepin and Franklin are the worst thoroughfares. All have high volumes of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic - a dangerous mix.
The single worst intersection - Lake and Lyndale - is a hub for eateries, shopping and transit, with bus stops on three corners. It's also one of the city's busiest intersections. Drivers are often in a hurry, rushing to make left turns or get around stopped buses. Signage, buildings and parked cars make it difficult for them to spot pedestrians - especially after dark.
Steps To Make Them Safer
Depending on the factors at play, there are numerous ways to make intersections safer, including:
- Widening crosswalks and adding zebra stripes to create stronger visual contrast for drivers
- Adding refuge islands or curb bump-outs to make waiting pedestrians more visible (and reduce the distance they have to cover)
- Enabling left turns only on green arrows
- Prohibiting right turns on red lights
As part of its ambitious Vision Zero plan to eliminate deadly traffic collisions, the City of Minneapolis will be looking closely at these areas in the coming year.