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'It's A Big Issue': St. Paul Struggling To Deal With Speeding Drivers

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- St. Paul are struggling to deal with speeding drivers.

Cars are going too fast on main thoroughfares and in residential neighborhoods, but fewer speeding citations are being handed out than in years past.

Graeme Webster, who lives with his family near Cleveland and Grand, is doing what he can to rid his neighborhood of speeders.

Webster puts out a plastic crossing guard that says "SLOW" when his kids play, and he's given "20 is Plenty" yard signs to neighbors.

"We are well aware that speeding is an issue in our city," said Sgt. Natalie Davis with the St. Paul Police Department.

St. Paul police respond to areas where there are complaints, but Davis says the department's down about 100 officers.

Last year, SPPD's traffic unit was disbanded.

"We are able to still focus on some speeding efforts through overtime and grant money, so people are still getting cited, but the numbers have decreased," Davis said.

There were fewer than 3,000 citations issued last year, down from 11,000 in 2017.

There weren't even 900 citations in 2020.

Making it more difficult is there isn't one problem neighborhood to focus on. Davis says the problem is citywide.

In 2020, the speed limit on residential streets was lowered to 20 miles per hour.

"Speeding complaints are something we get on pretty much every road," said Randy Newton, a St. Paul city traffic engineer.

Newton says there are street design options to encourage drivers to slow down, such as narrower lanes.

"Our lanes are getting narrower than they were in the past," he said. "When opportunities present themselves, reducing the number of lanes."

Newton says safety is part of the city's design philosophy going forward, but revamping existing roads is difficult and expensive.

Newton looks to personal responsibility as the most practical solution.

"We really need drivers to make safe choices and take it on themselves to slow down," he said. "It's their family members, friends and other people they're putting at risk."

Last year there were 18 deadly crashes in St. Paul, which is the highest total in at least five years. Eight of those crashes killed pedestrians.

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