Maplewood official wants pedestrians to take responsibility for safety

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MAPLEWOOD -

A Maplewood official says that she wants to make pedestrians more responsible for their safety by banning distracted walking.

Committeewoman Nancy Adams says that pedestrians are often distracted by their smartphones while walking around town, putting them at risk of being hit by cars.

“We’d done a lot of road diets and ways to do traffic calming from a vehicle side,” she says. “But I look at this as a partnership between the drivers and pedestrians.

If her plan gets approved, anyone caught crossing the street while texting or otherwise being distracted could be ticketed. She says that fines would be minimal because the goal is to make the streets safer.

“If nothing else, even if we end up not passing this ordinance, just the conversation is alerting people to look up,” Adams says. “It’s an important thing to be aware of your surroundings and be safe.”

Resident reaction to the proposal has been mixed, but many say that they like the idea of walkers taking responsibility for their safety. 

The proposal will head to Maplewood’s public safety committee so that police and fire officials can have their say. It would then be drafted as an ordinance for public comment before a vote could happen.

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