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Dutch Lake Trail residents look to increase pedestrian safety on Halloween
Oct. 24, 2016

By Ana Alexander
Staff Writer

HOWARD LAKE, MN – From trick-or-treaters going door-to-door for candy, and parents driving their children from house to house, Halloween can create issues with large amounts of vehicular traffic – and Dutch Lake Trail subdivision is no stranger to that. Resident Emily Long attended the Howard Lake City Council meeting Oct. 18 to request assistance in limiting vehicular traffic on Halloween.

“After last year, I think we stopped counting at 256 kids at our door for trick-or-treating, and while we absolutely love it and it’s a lot of fun to have everybody down here – even though a lot of people do already park outside, the traffic that comes through is a lot,” Long said.

Long suggested using a half-barricade on the street to signify to trick-or-treaters that they should park and walk through the neighborhood, instead of driving from house to house.

“We’re not looking to fully close it off, basically partially closed, so that way, in an emergency or for anybody who doesn’t want to park or walk, they’re still able to [get through],” Long said.

The road would not be closed, and residents would still be able to drive through the neighborhood. The barricade would only serve as a sign or suggestion that people should walk through the neighborhood instead of drive, if they are able to.

“If it’s something that would work, and people are still willing to come around and walk, it would make everything a lot safer and family-friendly – you don’t have to worry about your kids walking around and crossing the street because there’s not going to be that much traffic,” Long said.

Long stated that it wouldn’t require any regulation, but would only serve as a suggestion to those who are capable of parking and walking. Reducing vehicular traffic on the street would promote a family-friendly atmosphere and increase safety in the neighborhood.

“Even if we can keep out 20 cars down there, that’s 20 cars that aren’t going around the block at the same time that there could be 300 kids walking around,” Long said.

Mayor Pete Zimmerman agreed traffic in the neighborhood on Halloween tends to be copious.

“My only concern is, I’m a little worried about the perception,” Zimmerman said. “I don’t want people to think that we’re shutting off the neighborhood to the general public.”

Long expressed a similar concern.

“I’ve talked with a bunch of the neighbors, and that’s something they’re concerned about,” Long said. “We’re going to make up fliers so that people are well-informed that we’re not trying to keep anybody out by any means – the more the merrier down there. It’s just for the safety of the kids.”

The council agreed that attempting to decrease vehicular traffic would be beneficial for children’s safety in Dutch Lake Trail on Halloween.

“It would be safer, I’m sure,” Council Member Al Munson said. “It’s got to be safer to have fewer cars down there. It’s a good safety move.”

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