Neighborhoods hope 50th St. drivers slow down ?? again

Fulton and Lynnhurst neighbors want people to pay attention to drivers–and the speed of their cars–on 50th Street.

This is the third year of a campaign to encourage slower speeds on 50th. Surveys conducted after the initial 2000 campaign showed 75 percent of residents indicated that they slowed down their driving, and 48 percent said the pace on 50th Street slowed because of the campaign.

"We have taken a long-range view," said Kathy Shea, former co-chair of the Fulton-Lynnhurst Neighbors for Safe Driving task force. "Education, enforcement and engineering–they are the only way to truly affect long-term change. We never had the illusion that our public education campaign would do it all."

Those three pieces are coming together this month.

People driving on 50th Street these days will notice the lawn signs that say, "We live here, please slow down." Additional law enforcement will be in the area until the end of the month to ticket speeders. And Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis are in the middle of testing an alternate traffic and parking plan for 50th Street to see if it improves traffic flow and decreases speeding.

"This year’s version of the campaign is unique because we are hitting all three components," said Dave Delvoye, chair of the Fulton Safety Committee. "And there is still a lot of interest out there. When we went door-knocking, people were happy to see us with lawn signs."

Shea also hopes that drivers are happy to check their speedometers, take note of pedestrians and drive safely wherever they are.

"If we are able to focus people’s attention on slowing down on 50th Street, it tends to spill over and affect people’s driving anywhere," Shea said. "I’m asking people to tell us if they can see a difference on 50th Street. I am encouraging people to get out and judge for themselves, because then they will also think about their own driving."