(LETTER) Bad Driving: Carelessness or Defiance?

A Hopkins resident wonders why more people don’t follow the rules of the road.

To the editor,

Some fool almost hit me head-on in the dark this morning because they chose to go the wrong way down Monroe's southbound one-way street off Excelsior.

When I got home, of course, I started with Facebook and we got going on a discussion about traffic laws, people doing stupid, dangerous things and went from there.

So are people really that stupid or just don't care about laws-especially traffic laws anymore? I was on my way to pick up my granddaughter at 6 a.m. this morning—like many mornings taking Monroe northbound to Excelsior and 169.  Monroe, for those of you who are unaware, is a one-way street southbound. So a stupid fool in a pickup truck was coming head-on at me going the wrong way on that one way! I honked but couldn't quite get a license number.

My girlfriend said she was almost hit head-on last week by a lady on Highway 81 going the wrong way, too. If the right lane wouldn't have been clear, she couldn't have gotten out of her way.

What is wrong with people these days? I honestly don't think it would do any good to make everyone re-take their driving test to renew their license because I don't really think it's a matter of knowledge—more carelessness, being in a hurry and not thinking laws apply to them.

Part of the problem with Monroe, I'm sure, is the fact that is was changed to a one-way several years ago, making Jackson the southbound route from Excelsior to Harley Hopkins, Superalu and the residences in that direction. Now with all the increased traffic, Jackson has become a minefield of rough road so no one wants to drive down it. Heaven forbid, you drive down the next road (Van Buren) or come around by Honda (Fifth Ave South) and use the truck route designed for heavier traffic. Let's just go the wrong way on the one-way instead!

This is not the first time I've met oncoming vehicles on Monroe either. I've honked, shook my head, my fist and my finger... the driver looks at you like you’re in the wrong, ignores you and even laughs!

What has happened to our "rules of the road," driving etiquette, courtesy and even our respect for the law?

How many people remember and respect the rule to not cross a solid white line? Take a look as you're driving through the Highway 94 tunnel at how many people follow that rule. See how many people yield, how many race through a red light, glide through a stop sign and park in a no-parking zone? I love the people who stop their car in the middle of the road to let someone in, out or move packages, etc. The other day coming through downtown Minneapolis during rush hour, someone just decides to stop—in a no stopping zone—to wait for someone they were picking up.

Driving the other day on Excelsior, a police car with siren and lights on couldn't get through because so many drivers just sat where they were and didn't try to get out of the way. What if that police car/ambulance/fire engine was trying to get to you or your loved ones?

Mary Helmbrecht


Kristi Halverson October 29, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Monroe is not a one way street. The intersection with Washington by the light is only outgoing from Monroe. It was not built so that you could turn on Monroe from Washington. Therefore, the cars heading south bound on Monroe are correct as long as they did not turn onto Monroe from Washington.
MJH October 30, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I only have my permit and have practiced driving down that street many times and I know that Monroe is a one way.
Wendy McCourtney October 30, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I guess you will have to post a pic, Mary!! Im pretty sure when I have been with you that it was a one way!!!!!!!!!
Kristi Halverson November 01, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Mary, Your pictures are accurate. There is no right turn from Washington onto Monroe. This does not make Monroe a one way street. Did you notice the street signs on Monroe? They face both directions, this would indicate that traffic is allowed to go both north and south on that block of Monroe.
mary helmbrecht November 01, 2012 at 09:54 PM
I stand corrected on the fact there is no "one-way" sign, I tried to get on here earlier today after I realized that point, BUT ... I also know it is NOT the residents who live on the block and pull out of driveways, etc there. It is cars TURNING onto Monroe's "DO NO ENTER" end that I'm complaining about. And if the street is not to be a one-way, then why are the 2 "do not enter" and "no Right turn" signs on the north end and why are you NOT allowed to use it from Excelsior/Washington/Milwaukee?
John Bradford November 02, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Mary, I drove out to Monroe early this afternoon to look at the intersection at Exclesior and the street in general. I can state definitively that Monroe is not a one way street and that people probably do make illegal turns from Milwaukee. Ironically, I saw a pickup truck make the illegal turn you describe above while I was out there today. The Monroe connection was closed to southbound traffic when the whole Excelsior Boulevard intersection was redone. This was done for safety reasons. As I'm sure you know, this intersection is large and very confusing for many drivers with the train tracks at an angle, the convergence of Monroe, Milkwaukee and Excelsior, trucks on Milwaukee, and the high volume of traffic. This was before my time at Hopkins, but I think the primary movement of concern were people coming off Excelsior, crossing Milwaukee and onto Monroe. During the street reconstruction project next year, we will look at this intersection and see if we can do something with the geometrics to make it more difficult for drivers to make the illegal turn down Monroe. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact me at jbradford@hopkinsmn.com John R. Bradford, P.E. City Engineer City of Hopkins


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