Downtown Robbinsdale.

A consideration to reduce the speed limit to 25 miles per hour in all Robbinsdale residential areas is garnering general support. The limit would only apply to locally owned streets: highways and county-owned roadways would not be subject to the new rule if passed.

At the June 7 meeting, the Robbinsdale City Council opened an unofficial opportunity for the public to speak on the issue. Speakers were generally in favor of the limit, but wondered whether the reduction would actually affect motorists who chose to speed in residential areas.

“I have no problems with 25 miles per hour,” said one speaker, who identified themselves as a resident and frequent walker in the Hubbard Avenue area. “But are you going to enforce it? Because you don’t enforce what it is now.”

A Scott Avenue resident said they would appreciate a reduced speed limit but didn’t think motorists would obey it. They believed that a greater law enforcement presence wouldn’t solve the issue, but perhaps better road design would.

“Long term, I’d like to see our roads get narrower,” the Scott Avenue resident said. “I’d like to see drivers feel less safe driving 45 to 50 miles per hours behind my house.”

Another speaker from the Shoreline Drive area said they supported the reduction and would like to see a more severe reduction closer to city parks.

Councilmember George Selman summarized that feedback so far had focused on three solutions to speeding motorists: “enforcement, design and what the speed limit actually is.”

Selman said he believed enforcement was effective, and would like to see a greater conversation about using speed bumps to calm traffic.

Councilmember Sheila Webb said she supported the reduction. She said she hadn’t been biking with her granddaughter yet this year because of her “fear that somebody won’t respect us on the road.” She said detractors of the change were only against it because they didn’t think it change habits.

Mayor Bill Blonigan said he would like to see Minnesota approve photocop machines, which electronically cite speeding vehicles without the presence of an officer.

Councilmember Pat Backen said he believed the reduction wouldn’t make a big difference to curb speeding motorists in residential areas, but was supportive of the measure regardless.

“Let’s lower it. Perhaps over time people might slow down,” Backen said.

Backen added that the Robbinsdale Police Department was prioritizing coverage of basic duties due to limited staff, and so traffic enforcement was likely difficult. He agreed that traffic calming via greater street design might be more effective.

Selman added that the change wouldn’t be a “budget buster” to the city, and would likely require the purchase of some new signs.

The council plans to consider the issue again, beginning with the June 14 work session.

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