Do You Know How to Do the Zipper Merge?

Road construction season is upon us and with projects in Eden Prairie and throughout the metro area, it’s a good time to remind all drivers about how to do the zipper merge.

What is the “zipper merge?” It’s a type of merge that occurs when a roadway lane is closed for construction and motorists use BOTH lanes of traffic until reaching the defined merge area, and then alternate in “zipper” fashion into the open lane.

The traditional way of merging, also called the “early merge,” occurs when drivers see the first “lane closed ahead” sign in a work zone, slow down too quickly and move to the lane that will continue through the construction area. This driving behavior can lead to unexpected and dangerous lane switching, serious crashes and road rage.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the zipper merge method is safer than the early merge method, reduces the overall length of traffic backup by as much as 40 percent and reduces congestion on freeway interchanges.

Minnesota residents can be hesitant to use the zipper method as they may feel like they are cheating and that other drivers could get angry with them. But it is not rude to use the zipper merge and, in fact, can save time for everyone waiting in line.

Eden Prairie has several road construction projects scheduled for 2018. The EPPD and the Public Works Department urge residents to use the zipper merge to make this year’s road construction season as safe as possible.

Watch this video about how the zipper merge works.

What is Curfew in Eden Prairie?

Now that school is out, we are receiving questions about Eden Prairie’s curfew. The curfew here is established by Hennepin County and is the same for all cities within the county:

Age Sunday–Thursday Friday and Saturday
Under 12 Home by 9 p.m. Home by 10 p.m.
12 to 14 Home by 10 p.m. Home by 11 p.m.
15 to 17 Home by 11 p.m. Home by midnight

The law applies if the child is in any public place after these hours, including walking, biking or driving a vehicle. There are exceptions including employment, school, religious observances, sponsored recreational activities and emergencies.

Snake Wrangler

Last Sunday EPPD Community Service Officer Grace Frischmon was dispatched to a home in Eden Prairie to help the homeowners with a large unwanted snake in their yard. While there, the approximately 4-foot-long snake slithered into a hole in the ground. CSO Frischmon asked the residents to call back if they noticed the snake again.

About an hour later CSO Frischmon was dispatched to the same home after the snake emerged from the hole. She and the homeowners managed to corner the snake, allowing CSO Frischmon to pick it up and put it in a crate before releasing it into a nearby wild area.

CSO Frischmon believes the snake was a bullsnake which is common in Minnesota. Bullsnakes are not dangerous and in fact, some people like having them around to aid with pest control as bullsnakes eat mice and other rodents.

If you are interested in keeping bullsnakes and other snakes OUT of your yard, the Minnesota DNR has some tips.

Laser Jammer

Last month an EPPD officer was checking speeds using a LIDAR (laser) near Dell Road and Magenta Bay, when he noticed a car that he visually estimated to be going approximately 45 mph in a 35-mph zone. However, when he pointed the laser at the car’s front license plate, the laser didn’t register a reading. The officer tried pointing the laser at another nearby car and it registered the car’s speed without a problem.

The officer pointed the laser at the speeding car’s rear license plate and again did not receive a reading. That’s when the officer determined that the speeding car must have a “laser jammer,” an illegal device affixed to a car that interferes with speed-measuring devices.

The officer drove up behind the car and noticed a strange plastic piece hanging above the rear license plate. The officer pulled over the driver who confirmed that it was indeed a laser jammer. The driver was then issued a citation for using the device.

The EPPD takes speed enforcement seriously for good reason. On average, each year speed contributes to 81 deaths and 211 serious injuries in Minnesota. Speed is a factor in 21 percent of all fatal crashes. People who speed put other drivers in danger. As long as there are speeders in Eden Prairie, our officers will be out diligently looking for them.

Night to Unite 2018

Every year citizens across the country and in Eden Prairie celebrate Night to Unite on the first Tuesday of August. This year, the event falls on Aug. 7, creating an opportunity to come together, meet your neighbors, get to know them better and grow the sense of community we have here in Eden Prairie.

If you would like to have a representative from the Eden Prairie Police or Fire Departments visit your gathering, fill out the registration form at edenprairie.org/NightToUnite by July 23.

As is tradition in Eden Prairie, the City encourages residents to donate food to PROP, our local food shelf. The neighborhood that donates the most food (by weight) will win an ice cream social with members of the Police and Fire Departments, including a bounce house donated by Kinderberry Hill.

For questions about Night to Unite contact Jenna Spaulding at 952-949-6200.

Submitted by Jenna Spaulding, Police Department Administrative Assistant