Police up enforcement at Jefferson and Hwy. 246 By: DAVID HENKE Staff Writer
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:21 pm
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Cars line up at the intersection of Jefferson Parkway and Hwy. 246 on a Wednesday morning earlier this year. To address traffic safety concerns at the busy intersection, the Northfield police will increase their patrols in the area. If you drive through or near the intersection of Jefferson Parkway and Hwy. 246 in the next few months, expect to see more Northfield police cars out on the road.

In response to concerns voiced by the city and its residents, the Northfield Police Department is increasing its presence around the area, which includes three Northfield schools, Police Chief Mark Taylor said Thursday.

The purpose of the extra patrols, Taylor said, is two-fold. Having more officers in the area issuing warnings and citations will improve driving conduct through the busy intersection, Taylor hopes. But the patrols will also give the police department — and the city — a better handle on the dangers of the intersection and the driving conduct of motorists passing through the area.

The city and the Northfield School District are involved in an ongoing traffic safety study of the intersection where a pedestrian was struck and killed in April 2008. Study findings showed the intersection is heavily traveled around school arrival and dismissals times, but not at a rate to warrant a traffic light. Observers involved in the study noticed that drivers were often inattentive and agitated when traveling through the area.

The extra patrols began last Friday, Taylor said, and will continue for the next several months around school start and dismissal times . But increasing enforcement near the schools is only a temporary solution, Taylor warned, and will mean that the department will have to pull patrols from elsewhere.

“By us being present out there, stopping people if there are violations and writing warnings and citations, we hope to change people’s driving conduct or behavior,” Taylor said.

— David Henke covers city, business and youth issues. He can be reached at dhenke@northfieldnews.com or 645-1100.