Yard signs pronouncing “20 is Plenty” have been popping up across Saint Paul and Minneapolis to remind motorists about lower speed limits being imposed on many streets. Meanwhile, road signs informing motorists of the new limits began going up on major entrances into both cities in October.

The “gateway” signs indicate that the citywide speed limit is 20 mph unless otherwise posted. The new speed limits will be in effect once all the gateway signs are installed by the end of the year. A public awareness campaign on the new speed limits is scheduled to start in November.

Over the past several months, Public Works crews from both cities have been posting signs announcing the newer, slower speed limits. The new limits are 20 mph for local residential streets, 25 mph for busier arterial streets and 30 mph or more for a few city streets determined on a case-by-case basis, such as the 45 mph limit on Ayd Mill Road.

The speed limit changes were allowed under a 2019 state statute that lets cities set lower speed limits on streets they have jurisdiction over. Saint Paul and Minneapolis used engineering, traffic and safety analyses in deciding where speed limits could change. County streets like Randolph Avenue and Ford Parkway, and state roads like Snelling Avenue and West Seventh Street are not affected by the changes.

Speeds are being lowered on city-owned streets to make them safer for all who use them. Saint Paul had 75 vehicle-pedestrian crashes in the first half of 2020 alone. Sixty-six people were injured and four were killed. There have been 28 vehicle-bicycle crashes with 22 injuries.

“We know that lower speeds give drivers more time to react and greatly reduces the chance of serious injury to those involved in crashes with motor vehicles,” said Saint Paul Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Mike Ernster. “Speed enforcement is one of our top five focus areas in regard to traffic enforcement. For now, we’ll focus on educating the public in the areas where the speed limit has changed.”

The Police Department began focusing on the new speed limits this summer. Ernster said police have not issued many citations for violations in the new 20 and 25 mph zones.

“We’ve mainly been stopping and educating drivers who are violating the new limits and that will continue for the time being,” Ernster said. “Tickets are only being issued when egregious speeding is witnessed.”

“We’ve mainly been stopping and educating drivers who are violating the new limits and that will continue for the time being,” Ernster said. “Tickets are only being issued when egregious speeding is witnessed.”

Minneapolis crews have installed 1,235 new or updated speed limit signs and will be installing 130 gateway signs over the coming weeks. Saint Paul crews have changed or installed approximately 750 new 25 mph speed limit signs and expect to install 150 gateway signs. The two cities will generally not be posting 20 mph signs on local residential streets.

Both cities have been conducting ongoing public education campaigns on the new speed limits and have more than 4,500 free “20 is Plenty” yard signs to distribute to the public.

Saint Paul residents can pick up yard signs at the Works Traffic Operations Office, 899 Dale St., from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. weekdays. They should wear a mask or face covering or email publicworksinfo@ci.stpaul.mn.us to schedule a time to pick up signs at the City Hall Annex, 25 W. Fourth St., Suite 1500.

Several district councils are also distributing yard signs. Those who wish to host a pickup site for yard signs can email publicworks info@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

Some people have made their own yard signs. One set on Fairview Avenue in Merriam Park is reminiscent of the old Burma Shave road signs, asking motorists if they know the speed limit there is 25 mph.

For more information about speed limits, visit tinyurl.com/y4uebrlt.

—Jane McClure


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