Stop For Me campaign addresses St. Paul's growing pedestrian safety concern

St. Paul police are reminding drivers to use caution after four pedestrians were struck by a car around 4 p.m. April 17 at the intersection of White Bear and Case avenues. Two of the pedestrians were transported to the hospital.

Police learned a group of people were crossing the street when a car making a left turn struck four people.

The driver, 30-year-old Tonia Youboty of St. Paul, was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian.

St. Paul police highlight the importance of yielding to pedestrians in the Stop for Me campaign.

Stop For Me’ campaign addresses St. Paul’s growing pedestrian safety concern

The campaign is a joint effort between St. Paul police, the city’s 17 district councils, St. Paul Smart Trips and Blue Zones to highlight the importance of yielding to pedestrians.

“A pedestrian is struck by a driver every other day in St. Paul,” Commander Jeremy Ellison told FOX 9.

The year-long effort engages both drivers and pedestrians to become more aware at intersections, crosswalks and parking lots.

On any given day, crossing the city’s Rice Street intersections in particular is dangerous.

“We’re taking our lives into our own hands trying to cross the street just to get to our friend’s house or a key business that we want to visit,” said Samantha Thomas of Blue Zones.

“There have been a lot of sad deaths and near fatal accidents, and we can’t have environments that are killing people or damaging people’s lives,” Thomas said of her purpose with the campaign.

She works with other city organizations and volunteers to survey the city and learn how to apply different design tools, enforcement and education to better reinforce a more people focused environment rather than a car-focused environment.

“We’re out here to respond to complaints of community members and teach them how to cross the street,” Commander Ellison said while patrolling the intersection, “we’re teaching people how to safely cross the street, meaning we’re having them step out into the crosswalk, which is what the law says, having them make eye contact with the drivers, make sure the driver sees them and stops for them.”

St. Paul police say so far this year, 55 pedestrians have been struck by drivers.

“We had 188 people hit by drivers last year,” Ellison said.

Citations and warnings are also issued at the Stop for Me events.

Wednesday’s event is one of 60 the city plans to conduct this year.