Residents living near the intersection of Hwy. 10 and County Road 96 in Arden Hills are pushing for changes after a fatal crash left a toddler dead and three members of her family injured.
The violent crash happened about 8:30 a.m. Sept. 19. The family, in a pickup truck, was making a left turn from westbound County Road 96 to head south on old Hwy. 10 and was struck by a school bus heading east on 96, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department said.
For Kaisa Eno, the crash brought back bad memories from 2016 when two students heading to Mounds View High School died in a horrific crash at the same intersection, a common route for students heading to the school.
Eno started an online petition calling for safety improvements immediately after the recent wreck, and more than 1,100 people signed it in the first 24 hours. The intersection is problematic, Eno said, because the Hwy. 10 overpass obscures the traffic signals for westbound County 96 drivers.
"There is a lot they could do to improve that intersection," she said. "I have kids going to Mounds View High School in future. I should not have to wait for my kids to be in crash."
Eno and others plan to bring their concerns to Monday's Arden Hills City Council meeting with hopes local officials will join their cause. The council requested county officials attend a meeting about the intersection, and they agreed to attend on Monday, said City Manager Dave Perrault.
"The City Council is committed to public safety, and committed to the long-term safety at that intersection," Perrault said.
Eno said she wants the county to permanently disable a flashing yellow arrow that allows westbound drivers to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Her petition also calls for the county to conduct a formal assessment of the intersection, including looking at driver speed and traffic flow.
Other ideas include lengthening signal cycle times to give turning drivers more protection from eastbound drivers running yellow lights and increasing the number of left green arrows to accommodate motorists turning off County 96 and heading to the school.
Another idea is to relocate the westbound signal heads to the east side of the Hwy. 10 overpass to improve visibility for drivers.
The intersection has one of the lowest crash rates among the 230 signalized intersections in the county, said Brian Isaacson, Ramsey County Public Works director. In the last decade, only the two fatal crashes at 10 and 96 involved left turns.
In a temporary move, the county on Monday turned off the flashing left turn arrow between 6:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. Isaacson said Public Works will do an assessment of the intersection to see if other modifications need to be made, something the county would have done even without a petition, he said.
"We take it very seriously." Issacson said. "My heart breaks for that family. We weep for them."