On a sleepy block in the Lyndale neighborhood of Minneapolis stands the city's hardest working street sign.
It's located two blocks east of Lyndale Ave. at the intersection of Harriet Ave. and W. 34th St.
The unofficial title comes not because its the City of Lakes' busiest by any means. It stems from the fact it gets run into or run over by drivers and cyclists with such frequency, the neighbors say the sign deserves its due.
The sign's yellow color means it's a warning. A straight left arrow alerts drivers it's a sharp curve. Damn straight it's sharp. In a stop sign kind of way.
Norm Munk has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, and bikes and uses the roadway often. According to Munk, the unconventional crossroads and accompanying signage have been that way ever since he's lived there. He's not a fan.
"It's ridiculously awful," he says. "It's a two-way street. It's narrow. Not only I have seen cars hit the sign, I've seen bikers."
Munk remembers on five different occasions when he's personally come upon the area to see the mangled sign and a guilty motorist standing beside their ride that looked like it had taken the worst of it.
"I think what it does is create real confusion," says Munk. "If the city had warning signs before drivers got this far to let them know what was coming, maybe that would help. But God forbid if you're going too fast or God forbid you're distracted and not paying attention."
Or maybe hammered.
Maria, who asked that only her first name be used, suspects that's what happened one late night when she witnessed a slow-motion collision.
The driver was going no faster than 15 m.p.h., she estimates. The man drove straight into the sign as if the sharp left curve warning never existed. He backed up and sped off, leaving his bumper at the scene.
"He was probably drunk and trying to take the backstreets, and wasn't familiar with the area," she says.
Icy weather throws another wrench into the mix. But accidents can happen in good weather during daytime hours. Such was the case this spring.
Neighbors noticed a motorist driving too fast and probably distracted. Her reaction time saved her from hitting the sign. But by taking the corner hard and late, she managed to take out a parked car. The woman's vehicle was so badly damaged the wheels were off the axle.
The most recent incident occurred last week. The sign stood upright when residents left for work Monday morning. By the time they returned in the late afternoon, the hardest working sign in Minneapolis on its back, damaged in a way that could have only been caused by a motorist who hadn't heeded its warning.
Oddly enough, despite residents' tales of how often someone smacks the sign, this latest misfortune is the only recent one the city has on file.
According to spokesperson Casper Hill, "Public Works has no records of any other damage at that intersection going back to 2009."
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