Thank you for publishing the story “Road rage: Pedestrian death on Lyndale ignites protests” in your Oct. 31 issue. In particular, I want to thank you for reporting on who Ted Ferrara was as a human being — this has been a missing component of the media coverage thus far.
On behalf of the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association, I send condolences to Ted’s friends and loved ones. This is the event we have feared and have been working to prevent.
Lowry Hill East (aka The Wedge) is one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the city and has one of the highest walkability scores in all of Minneapolis, arguably in the state. Yet crossing one of the main roads out of our neighborhood — Franklin, Hennepin, Lyndale or Lake — can be a terrifying experience. The 2017 Minneapolis Crash Study confirmed our anecdotal experiences: Three of the most dangerous intersections in the city occur in the neighborhood we call home.
When we first began working to address the unsafe conditions of our roads (especially for pedestrians and cyclists), we were surprised by how difficult it was to even determine who is responsible for making these roads safer. We have been trapped in a tangled web of overlapping county and city authority, with ultimate decision-making power existing far away among those who have likely never been to The Wedge and who don’t understand the crucial role walking and biking plays in the lives of the people who live here.
We are grateful to our local county commissioner Marion Greene for announcing a community meeting on Dec. 2 to discuss these concerns. In light of Ted’s tragic death, we hope that Greene and our other local leaders will make the strongest possible case for us. As they do so, here are some relevant facts to add to the conversation that should cause real concern for Hennepin County leadership. According to the 2017 Minneapolis Pedestrian Crash Study, eight out of the city’s 10 intersections with the highest total of pedestrian crashes involve county roads: Lyndale, Lake and Franklin are among those eight. According to the city’s Vision Zero study, 60% of the top 10 bicycle crash intersections involve county roads. To put it plainly, the county is failing us.
We have asked our local leaders to put in place a temporary solution to improve pedestrian safety between Franklin and Lake by January 2020 to implement a more permanent solution by June 2020. The Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association and its members are eager to support our local and regional leaders in meeting these reasonable safety requests.
In addition, we are also asking all of you who drive through our neighborhood to look up and to SLOW DOWN. The county can make improvements and the city can pass all the road safety laws we want, but if the people behind the wheel don’t take responsibility as drivers to care more for the lives of others, the injuries and deaths will continue to occur.
President of the Lowry Hill East