Lyndale Avenue in south Minneapolis is one of the best places to walk up and down in search of a coffee shop, dive bar, or a tattooed person locking their bike and daydreaming of co-op kale.
But walking across Lyndale? That's a little dicier.
Ever steal second base in a major league baseball game? OK, but did you ever steal home? Are you legendary Hong Kong and Hollywood film star and stuntman extraordinaire Jackie Chan? Were you good at Frogger?
That stretch of Lyndale's one of a shockingly small number of streets (2 percent) that make up a disporportionate number (36 percent!) of bike and pedestrian accidents.
The danger posed was re-proven earlier this week during a "Walk and Talk" event staged by Our Streets Minneapolis, an advocacy organization that pushes for more bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalks. (They're also behind the popular Open Streets events where cars are briefly banned and rerouted.)
The purpose of Monday's meet-up was to "experience walking down the street and talk about how to make it better for those on foot." Key word there: "down."
When it came time to get to the other side—specifically at 27th and Lyndale, an intersection without a stoplight—one bold walker tested drivers' willingness to stop for someone stepping into the crosswalk.
Result: Nobody stopped for her, not even a cop.
"Really?" the woman implored drivers as they blew right past her. "I'm a human being."
When it's the cop's turn to roll on by, she turns back to the camera, incredulous, and says, "That just happened."
Check out the police NOT STOPPING FOR SOMEONE CROSSING THE STREET at the end of the video. pic.twitter.com/WuvkrqbVUs— happify (@happifydesign) September 16, 2019
The video (since seen by 27,000-plus people) has divided opinions, with some saying the woman was "jaywalking," saying they wouldn't have stopped for her, either, or genuinely asking if she's allowed to cross there.
Answer: What she's doing is legal as hell, and she's got the right of way under state law, which reads like this:
Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped. No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
Another passage in the statute clarifies you're not supposed to "overtake and pass" a car stopped at a crosswalk, because you might kinda make the pedestrian they stopped for go splat.
So! That's the law, and now that you know it, everyone else knows it, and pedestrians will be crossing risk-free by... well, if not lunch time, surely by evening rush hour today.
(Don't hold us to this. Look both ways, run for your life, trust no one, etc.)
One more thing, for those who'd say you should only cross at intersections protected by lights. A couple years ago, the city of Minneapolis looked into which intersections had seen the most pedestrian crashes in the previous 10 years. First on the list: Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue, just a few blocks up from where this woman's crossing, with 20 pedestrians hit; Lyndale and 26th, just a block away, came in 10th, with 15. Both have lights and clearly marked crosswalks, and are still popular places to get a very up-close view of someone through their windshield.