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Accident raises call for better pedestrian safety

In the wake of a fatal hit-and-run Friday night, some people are calling for better pedestrian safety in downtown Rochester.

Nightlife in the downtown area has perked up in recent months, meaning more pedestrians on the streets.

Ginny Smith, owner of Ginny's Fine Fabrics and Support Group, 12 S. Broadway, said she'd like to see more skywalks.

Dave Campbell, who books entertainment for local nightclubs, said he'd like to see flashing lights installed and used when pedestrian traffic is heavy. He also wants the speed limit to be lowered to 20 mph along Broadway, from Fourth Street South to Silver Lake.

"What's that going to cost in the long run of anything, and how many lives will we save in the meantime?" Campbell asked.


He said he recently told a friend who got a ticket for jaywalking that he should argue in court that pedestrians aren't protected well in the downtown area.

"I told him, 'There's going to have to be people killed before they change the law,'" Campbell said.

At least five businesses that serve alcohol are located within a block of each other in downtown Rochester, so Campbell believes motorists need to slow down.

"With so many bars here, it's kind of like an adult playground — so how about playground speeds? It will save some lives," he said.

A U.S. Department of Justice report says that most pedestrian-vehicle crashes happen on Fridays and Saturdays, and that speed makes a marked difference in the survival rate. A pedestrian hit by a vehicle going 20 mph has a 5 percent chance of being killed while a pedestrian hit by a vehicle going 30 mph has a 45 percent chance of being killed, the report says.

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