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Traffic calming uses engineering design and traffic signage to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. The City of Saint Paul uses a variety of techniques to slow and calm traffic including, but not limited to:

  • "20 is Plenty" yard signs to remind drivers of new lower speed limits  Saint Paul residents can pick up free lawn signs (and stakes) at Public Works Traffic Operations Office (899 Dale Street) from 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 
  • Lower speed limits on City-owned streets
  • Visual speed limit monitoring (digital speed signs) on arterial (main) streets
  • Bump outs at intersections
  • Pedestrian refuges (medians) in the middle of wider streets
  • Pedestrian centerline signs
  • Pavement painting and markings
  • Traffic circles or roundabouts

The traffic calming techniques used vary based on the type of street, whether the street is residential street (20 mph) or arterial street (25 mph or over). Most of the traffic calming techniques listed above are better suited to arterial streets with higher traffic speeds and volumes.

Traffic calming features such as bump outs and pedestrian refuges are generally installed as part of larger street improvement projects but may also be considered to address specific safety problems on a case-by-case basis.

Additional traffic calming features including speed bumps or humps and Paint the Pavement may also be used on residential streets. Speed bumps/humps are rarely used because they are expensive to build and maintain and cannot be installed on all types of streets due to state rules. Due to the new lower citywide speed limits there is a pause on accepting any speed bump/hump requests until 2022.

Residential Streets
Residential streets in Saint Paul are 20 mph, have lower daily traffic volumes, and do not have centerline paint, bike lanes, or traffic signals. View the Citywide Speed Limit Map.

Street Ownership
Not all streets in Saint Paul are owned by the City. MnDOT and Ramsey County coordinate with Saint Paul Public Works to address traffic and public safety concerns on non-City-owned streets (e.g. West 7th Street, University Avenue, Rice Street, Snelling Avenue, Maryland Avenue, Lexington Parkway).

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University of Minnesota Pedestrian Safety Study

The safety of people walking and crossing our roads remains an important issue in our Saint Paul community. This summer, the City of Saint Paul Public Works is partnering with a research team from the University of Minnesota to study and implement pedestrian safety measures across the Twin Cities at selected signalized crosswalks.

The study will measure how drivers react to pedestrians at crosswalks at selected sites in the two cities. In both cities, some of the sites will receive engineering treatments to improve pedestrian safety and other sites will be continuously monitored for comparison. Starting in July, average yielding measured in each city will be posted and updated each week on blue signs at select sites in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The blue signs will help raise awareness of pedestrian safety and help the community track the progress of the treatments to improve the rate that drivers stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. The study will run through November 2021.

More information: https://tcsafetycup.umn.edu/study-information

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Twin Cities Safety Cup Pledge

To promote and reinforce safe behaviors the University of Minnesota research team is urging all Twin Cities residents to pledge to take a few common-sense safety behaviors as pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists. The research team will be tracking the number of pledges received from each city in a friendly competition called the Twin Cities Safety Cup.  

To sign the Twin Cities Safety Pledge, please click the link below and share as widely as possible.

Sign the Twin Cities Safety Pledge
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Visual Speed Limit Monitoring

Dynamic digital speed limit signs, which show vehicle speeds in real time, are used on arterial (main) streets. Arterial streets are signed at 25 mph or higher.

Public Works has 8 temporary digital speed limit signs, which are moved around the City to help calm traffic. Generally the digital signs are in one location for about 4 weeks.

To request a temporary digital speed limit sign for a specific arterial (main) street, please email Traffic Engineering at PW-trafficgeometrics@ci.stpaul.mn.us with the desired location, including the name of the arterial street and the cross street. Eligible streets will be added to the list of locations for digital speed limit signs in the order that they are received. Note that not all streets are eligible for a digital speed limit sign.

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Bump Outs

Bump outs are curb extensions that extend the sidewalk into the parking lane to narrow the roadway. Bump outs enhance pedestrian safety by increasing pedestrian visibility, shortening the crossing distance, slowing turning vehicles, and visually narrowing the roadway to help slow vehicle traffic.

Traffic calming features such as bump outs and pedestrian refuges are generally installed as part of larger street improvement projects on arterial streets but may also be considered to address specific safety problems on a case-by-case basis.

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Pedestrian Refuges

Pedestrian refuges (pedestrian islands) are small sections of pavement surrounded by roadway where pedestrians can stop midway through crossing the street. Pedestrian refuges shorten the distance a person needs to walk in order to cross a street and allow for crossing the street in two segments. They are generally used on multi-lane streets where traffic speeds and volumes make pedestrian crossings more difficult.

Traffic calming features such as pedestrian refuges are generally installed on arterial streets as part of larger street improvement projects but may also be considered to address specific safety problems on a case-by-case basis.

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Paint the Pavement

Paint the Pavement is a program that enables residents and/or organizations to build community and increase awareness about traffic speeds by painting a mural on low-traffic volume residential streets in Saint Paul. Murals are usually painted in the intersections of residential streets.

To learn more or propose a Paint the Pavement location, please complete this form.

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Traffic Circles or Roundabouts

Traffic circles (roundabouts) are used in Saint Paul neighborhoods to slow traffic speeds and often replace stop signs at four-way intersections. They are also used on bike boulevards to help make bike crossings of intersections easier.

Traffic circles are usually implemented as part of larger construction projects or in conjunction with the addition of bike boulevards.

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Pedestrian Centerline Signs

Pedestrian centerline signs are temporarily placed within the roadway on the centerline or between lanes of traffic to remind drivers to stop for pedestrians at busy intersections without stop signs or traffic lights. These signs are generally used on arterial (main) streets.

Public Works rotates the locations of these temporary signs throughout the year.

To request a temporary pedestrian centerline sign for a specific arterial (main) street, please email Traffic Engineering at PW-trafficgeometrics@ci.stpaul.mn.us with the desired location, including the name of the arterial street and the cross street. Eligible streets will be added to the list of locations for pedestrian centerline signs in the order that they are received. Note that not all streets are eligible for pedestrian centerline signs.

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Other Traffic Calming Techniques

Public Works uses other traffic calming techniques throughout Saint Paul.

Crosswalks
Pedestrians can cross streets anywhere there are pedestrian ramps on both sides of the street. Drivers must stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, whether it is painted or not.

Crosswalks are painted at some locations. A painted crosswalk must have a minimum average of 20 pedestrian crossings per hour and pedestrian ramps and sidewalk on both sides of the street.

Stop Signs
Stop signs are strategically placed to create a citywide "basket-weave" design (every other intersection) to calm traffic on residential streets. Four-way stop signs are used at intersections with higher traffic volumes.

Bollards
Bollards are short posts used to create a visual perimeter and mark boundaries. Saint Paul uses bollards to designate protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands and bump outs for crosswalks.

Speed Limit Signs
Speed limit signs are placed at specific intervals on arterial streets. Speed limit signs are not posted on residential streets (20 mph). Citywide gateway speed limit signs are posted at all entrances to Saint Paul, stating "Citywide speed limit 20 mph unless otherwise posted."

Pedestrian Signals
Pedestrian signals are installed at intersections with traffic signals. Some pedestrian crossings on high volume arterial streets have standalone pedestrian signals, such as flashing LED or HAWK signals.

Last Edited: August 27, 2021