I live on Longfellow St NE and the service road. This last weekend I hosted the end of season baseball party for my son’s little league team. It was a lovely day—we had a water balloon fight, laughing kids throwing around baseballs and Frisbees, parents enjoying the sunny day and lots of great food.
Later in the day a mom was playing Frisbee with the kids with a huge bright orange Frisbee. It flew across the service road and landed in the grass between the service road and East River Road. She looked around quickly, took two steps into the road and was struck by a young driver. I don’t think it is possible to explain the things that rush through your brain when you see a human being flying through the air after being struck by a huge metal vehicle. The sound that was made can’t be put into words—and the sound of the other parents and children reacting was just as bad.
Here is my issue—first the kid was more concerned with the dent on the front end of his car than the human being he just hit. If he would have hit one of the children we would have been planning a funeral this week. Second, once the police came and I expressed that for six years of living in my home we have had constant issues with excessive (I mean EXCESSIVE) speeders on that side service road. Almost every family on my street has children or grand children. The officer’s response was that I should go to Menards and buy my own “slow children” sign. WOW.
Today we found out that the kid that hit the mother did not have insurance. We now have a situation where a kid was driving down a car lined street loud with the laughter of kids, proceed to strike an adult in the road and is not able to cover the bills associated with the accident. AND we were told at the scene that being in the road puts a victim at fault. One of the dads at the scene asked that cop, “So I could kill a kid in the road and as long as that kid was not in a cross walk I get into no trouble?” The officer confirmed that he was correct.
I am having a hard time accepting that stepping into the street makes you fair game for a vehicle. Anyone familiar with Longfellow (just north of Riverboat gas station) knows that turn is sharp and half blind. It is baffling to me that we are offered so little protection. What happened to letting your kids ride bike, play ball or going from neighbor to neighbor? That is how I grew up—summer was time to play and enjoy. I know that parents and children must be diligent and be aware of their surroundings. But I also believe that when you are old enough to operate a motor vehicle it is your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and be in complete control of your vehicle at all times as well as making sure that you are fully insured.
We are circulating a petition to bring to the Mayor and the Fridley City Council asking for a stop sign on the service road as well as a “caution children” sign. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to help out. I will also be hosting a neighborhood meeting with Senator Barb Goodwin to talk about what options we have to keep our neighborhoods a safe place. Anyone interested in joining us is more than welcome!