Robbinsdale and other cities are cracking down on cars who blow through crosswalks, the Star Tribune reports today. "People are driving aggressively, they're not paying attention. ... It's not safe," the city's police chief says. He's right and, of course, it doesn't just apply to Robbinsdale, as anyone driving through downtown Saint Paul can attest.
Robert Street is ground zero for everything that's wrong in the relationship between cars and drivers. Few people -- the ones who are walking -- pay attention to crosswalks, opting to run across the street between intersections as they see fit. And many of the ones who cross at the intersection are unable to understand what the flashing red hand on the light pole means.
And the drivers? Clueless.
Further south, across the river, the average driver constantly has a decision to make about stopping for someone in the crosswalk. Here's a typical scenario: A driver in the left lane stops for someone crossing left to right in the crosswalk. In an era of large SUVs, a driver in the right lane can't see the person crossing and continues driving in the open right lane, often nearly killing the person in the crosswalk. I see it every day. Every day.
Says the Strib:
In the blame game, crashes are often attributed to actions by both drivers and pedestrians. In the 857 cases last year of Minnesota pedestrians killed or injured -- a rise of nearly 50 from the year before -- 35 percent of drivers had failed to yield to the pedestrians. The next biggest cause: distraction or inattention. Of the 40 pedestrians killed, 11 were trying to cross a road without a crosswalk or signal and 12 had consumed alcohol.
MnDOT is about to start a campaign that every intersection is to be treated as a crosswalk, whether it's marked or not.
Here's a suggestion for a campaign for the crossers...
It's been awhile since we've provided one of Steve Russell's fabulous videos from his flights over southeastern Minnesota. He posted a new one this week.
The Minnesota State Fair's pregame show -- the Iowa State Fair -- is underway."A vast, sweet, savory, shameless wonderland that operates on its own terms," the New York Times says in reviewing the latest "on a stick" fare at the fair.
Put anything on a stick and you'll sell more of it, we learn. But you've got to get the idea past the on-a-stick police:
Lori Chappell, the fair's marketing director, said officials look for items with the promise of longevity. The vendor proposing deep-fried Coke, for instance, was rejected as a potential "one-hit wonder," she said, in part because it had no other offerings on its menu. (The treat was to be made by pouring Coca-Cola syrup into batter, deep-frying the mixture, then pouring more syrup onto the finished product.)
The pork chop on a stick is the most truly Iowan food at the fair, which is meant to celebrate the achievements of Iowa's commodity producers, Ms. Chappell said. Iowa is the country's top hog producer.
That may explain a surge of interest in another item: the double-bacon, double-deep-fried corn dog on a stick, for $5. It is a hot dog wrapped in a slice of bacon, then immersed in hot oil until the bacon is crisp. After it cools, it is dipped in a cornmeal batter flavored with bacon bits, then deep-fried again. It is surprisingly flavorless, with the thick coat of cornmeal overwhelming the meat within.
Don't mess with llamas, people. MPR's Molly Bloom visited a man who has deployed "guard llamas" in Park Rapids. It's a cute story and all, but it sure makes Park Rapids sound like a not-fun place what with drug and crime problems and all.
He should dress them up as security guards, though...
It never gets old.
Somebody may tell you something is impossible today. They might be wrong.
(h/t: The Big Picture)