It's been a tough year for pedestrians and bicyclists in St. Paul. Already, 57 have been hit this year and those collisions have resulted in 39 serious injuries, and one death.
Pedestrian Shelby M. Kokesch, 24, of Crystal, died after she and her 64-year-old mother were hit by a sport-utility vehicle in March while crossing Kellogg Blvd. at Mulberry Street in a crosswalk near downtown St. Paul.
On Tuesday, community leaders will join city officials and members of the St. Paul Police Department at that intersection in a "Stop For Me" event to call on motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to slow down, pay attention and make choices that improve safety for everybody.
On average, 150 people are hit by drivers on St. Paul streets every year. In 2015, six pedestrians were killed. In the first 90 days of 2016, a pedestrian was hit on average every other day, according to St. Paul Smart Trips, nonprofit organization that improves access and mobility for those who travel in and around St. Paul.
“Tragedies like this are preventable, and they can no longer be accepted as inevitable, said St. Paul Deputy Mayor Kristin Beckmann referencing Kokesch's death on March 15. “Whether we are driving, walking, or biking, we all share a responsibility to protect the lives of those around us.”
Following a 1 p.m. news conference, volunteers will stage a crosswalk event to raise awareness that drivers must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections – every corner, every turn, every time. Saint Paul Police officers will be issuing tickets and warnings to drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians crossing the street.
“Even one pedestrian fatality in St. Paul is too many, and we’re tragically beyond that,” says Ward 2 Council Member Rebecca Noecker. “We can take collective action today and make Saint Paul a safer city for all those who use our streets.”
Tuesday's event is one 34 being held across the city in 2016. Since the initial "Stop For Me" event on March 17, five events have been held with police stopping 529 motorists and issuing 129 citations to motorists who failed to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross the street. Police handed out seven warnings to pedestrians.
At 3 p.m.,Charles Marohn, of Strong Towns, will talk about pedestrian infrastructure and road safety at the Minnesota History Center.