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Public Safety Update

August 29, 2014

> Earlier this week, a man was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after being hit by a Green Line light-rail train in St. Paul. According to Metro Transit, a preliminary investigation found the pedestrian was illegally (and stupidly) walking between the eastbound and westbound tracks.

While this type of questionable behavior concerns me, I'll admit to being more worried about careless and inattentive behavior by pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers on Washington Avenue. The Green Line has been in operation for two months and I've already heard dozens of reports of pedestrians carelessly stepping off the curb into traffic (usually while texting or checking their phone), bicyclists speeding through red lights just ahead of an on-coming train or bus, and motorists ignoring the DO NOT ENTER signs and driving illegally in the bike and bus lanes on Washington Avenue.

To make this bustling, urban campus work, we need everyone to accept the idea that safety is a shared responsibility. You've heard these safety warnings before, and I promise you'll hear them again. But we'll keep repeating them with the goal of keeping every member of the University Community safe.

  • Pedestrians—Cross only at designated areas; cross with the lights.
  • Bicyclists—Obey traffic laws; ride on bicycle routes not on sidewalks.
  • Everyone—Pay attention to the world around you. Put down your phone, take out your earbuds, and be safe.
  • Everyone (continued)—Be courteous to each other. More than 80,000 people come to campus each day and we all share a very limited amount of space.

I know the pedestrian crossing signals at many intersections continue to be a problem and take an unnecessarily long time to change. We'll continue working with the City of Minneapolis and Metro Transit to make the signals work better. In the meantime, be sure to push the walk button when you're waiting at a crossing. Many times, the walk sign will not appear if the button has not been pushed.

As classes begin next week, University of Minnesota Police and Metro Transit Police will be on Washington Avenue advising and educating the campus community on LRT safety. Metro Transit Volunteers will also be on LRT platforms to help point train riders in the right direction. Finally, be on the lookout for a unique "Things to Do While You Wait" campaign at a street corner near you. Be safe.

This message was approved by the Vice President for University Services of the University of Minnesota and sent to all Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff.

Visit the safety pages at the METRO Green Line website for more information on LRT safety, how to use bike boxes, and other safety messages.

For more safety and security information,  see the University's SafeU website.

Previous updates can be found on the University Services website.