ROCHESTER, Minn. – There are growing concerns about bicycle and pedestrian safety in the Med City, particularly at the intersection of 19th St NW and Valley High Dr NW where recently two cyclists were injured attempting to cross the intersection. In September, it was there that 72-year-old Margaret Miland was hit crossing 19th on her bike. She later died of her injuries.
A call went out to the cyclist community over social media thanks to the group We Bike Rochester, and it was standing room only for the City Council Committee of the Whole meeting Monday afternoon.
Council Member Michael Wojcik addressed those concerns and suggested changes the city could make to improve bicycle/pedestrian safety.
“Probably the biggest and most important is bringing a bicycle pedestrian advisory committee into the city of Rochester,” Wojcik explains. “But certainly with the intersection of 19th and Valley High, we want to direct staff to make some changes to make that safer as well.”
Those suggestions included eliminating the flashing yellow turn signals that conflict with pedestrian signals, reducing the speed limit on 19th to 30 mph, and arranging a Toward Zero Deaths presentation in January for the new council.
While no policy changes can be made at the COW meetings, the council did direct staff to make looking into these changes a priority, and come back to the council with suggestions by the next meeting.
“I think these changes are relatively benign but it’s going to start us in a path forward where we prioritize the safety of pedestrians and cyclists,” Wojcik added.