We all want our neighborhoods to be safe. We want our families to be safe. There are some key points of safety that we all expect our city to control and manage, and that we feel are necessary to maintain that sense of safe, peaceful, family neighborhoods.
We all drive on the roads of Crystal. These are our necessary routes, but they are also someone’s residential street. Cars and trucks speed on our roads regularly. An accident occurs about once every day and a half in Crystal, according to the State of Minnesota Department of Traffic Safety. Crystal should find ways to prevent accidents and reduce speeding so our roads, and ultimately our neighborhoods are safer.
There have been many changes to our roads recently. Douglas has been changed completely from a four lane road to a three lane road, with the middle lane meant exclusively to be a turn lane. This traffic design has been studied widely and has been found to calm traffic. But there are problems of drivers using the middle lane as a passing lane and other issues. Crystal needs to educate residents about what these changes are and how we are supposed to use them. This design is also supposed to allow bicyclists access on the road as well.
36th Ave. N. has also been reduced to three lanes like Douglas. Only is wasn’t done to the whole stretch of 36th, only between Douglas Dr. and Cub Foods. Problem areas seem to be at the intersections of Douglas and Regent , where 36th Ave. N. goes from three lanes back to four. I’ve heard from residents of many accidents in these areas.
We need to study the traffic data to see where accidents are occurring, talk with experts about proven strategies given our cities data, engage residents in the process through feedback, input, and explanation, and take the time to come up with a realistic plan that will have our desired effect. There could be many parts to this. It could include adding another traffic officer at identified problem areas, crosswalks for pedestrian safety at areas such as Florida and 42nd Ave. N. to more easily allow children to cross to the library, adding a stopsign at a key location to facilitate turning, such as at Douglas Dr. N. at Fairview.
We need to have a community conversation about neighborhood speeding. I’ve seen it on my own street, cars flying through stop signs, drag racing down streets, and speeding in general. We should look at options that might work. I’ve heard residents talk about speed bumps. Minneapolis does speed bumps, so I know they can work. I also know there are some issues with this, such as either needing to be removed before winter for snow plows or if permanent, plows have to operate more slowly around them. Citizens could organize to have neighborhood traffic watches. This could be put together with a contact at the police department when bad driving is observed in our neighborhoods. I think citizens aren’t quite sure what to do when they see this. We could make it easier, since we can’t have a traffic officer on every street. We all have to work together to make our neighborhoods safer, but it should be done through a visible, easy partnership with the city. Crystal needs to make this partnership more visible and reachable.
Many of the cars and trucks on our roads are not citizens of Crystal. Many people from surrounding communities and trucks from area businesses share the roads with us. Speeding and problems on our main roads are many times a problem involving these vehicles. If another traffic officer were added, many of the people stopped would be these people. Also, the large trucks create wear and tear on our roads, which comes back to us in increased infrastructure costs. Also, there are many garbage trucks that drive up and down all our roads on Mondays. These trucks are very large and are increasing the wear and tear as well. Weight limit restrictions should be looked into on Crystal roads to expand the life of our roads.
The Crystal police need to be maintained to keep crime down. We expect to be able to walk safely down our streets, to have our children play in our neighborhood, to keep our property free from theft and ourselves free from harm. The police perform a vital function in keeping us all safe, and are a necessary service that we need to support.
Fire and Medical Emergency Safety
We all want and expect fire and medical services if we have an emergency. The West Metro Fire District has been good at responding to citizens, and we must ensure that we always have a strong fire department that is responsive to all our needs. The fire department also provides a vital function in keeping us all safe, and we must maintain support for these services.