Stay in the Loop

Block Club Members Become Crossing Guards To Protect Pedestrians

In nearly two years of walking the neighborhood in their bright orange shirts, members of the North Loop Safety Block Club have focused largely on trying to prevent crimes like auto theft and burglary–while also being friendly ambassadors.

But now, after witnessing the dangerous driving that often happens in this neighborhood filled with pedestrians, they picked up orange flags and stationed themselves along North 2nd Street Friday night to act as makeshift crossing guards.

“We spoke with one woman who had been hit twice by a car on 2nd,” said Block Club founder Aileen Johnson. “One gentleman told us that he was crossing with his baby in a buggy and his baby nearly got hit.”

Johnson invited Minneapolis city council member Michael Rainville to join them Friday night, and it didn’t take long for him to witness the problems at 2nd Street and 5th Avenue North.

“I’ve been out here 15 minutes and there’s been five cars that have rolled through the stop sign,” Rainville said, “and two of them almost hit people.”

Rainville confronts fast driver

The group later moved up the block to the busy crosswalk near the railroad bridge where there are no stop signs. And again they witnessed aggressive driving, including one driver who blasted through the crosswalk even as the group was holding out their flags trying to help a woman and her dog cross the street.

Driver rolls through crosswalk

“So when I talk to our Public Works department, especially Traffic,” said council member Rainville, “I want to say I’ve stood on the corner and I’ve watched this. I’m not making this up. Pedestrians are at risk here in the North Loop.”

As Rainville pushes the city for more safety measures, the Block Club plans to continue the crosswalk effort–as well as their usual neighborhood walks–and could use more volunteers. If you’d like more information, write to Aileen Johnson at or call 612-516-9705.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

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