Northfield, Minnesota Speed Traps
Jefferson Parkway is a city street marked at 30 mph. It is very easy to lose track of your speed on this road as there are little to no houses along the roadway itself and it is a major thoroughfare for the city. A four-way stop is located at the intersection of MN 246 and Jefferson Parkway, and police are regularly stopped at parking lots surrounding this intersection looking for people who cheat the stop, as well as those who take off too fast after the stop. Don’t be fooled if you don’t see them, they will inconspicuously hide behind trees and signs and will pick up people who go as little as 32 mph.
47 is a fairly straight road running SW/NE, and about 4 miles NE of the Hwy 3 intersection near the gravel pits on the SE side. County sheriffs will park in the approach and radar motorists traveling SW, usually in the PM but I’ve also seen them checking NE traveling motorists in the AM, as this matches normal flow to and from the Twin Cities metro during a normal business day. It’s hard to see them before you are right on top of them. Beware!
Posted limit drops from 45 to 30 at the top of the hill just before the viaduct. The majority of the Northfield PD’s tickets are written at the intersection of Hwy 3 and St. Olaf Avenue at the base of the hill. They will write speeding tickets and also use the stop as a pretext then write people for window tint, equipment violations, or anything else they find.
Posted speed limits along Hwy 3 between the north edge of Northfield and the south edge of Dundas are lower than customary – 30 MPH in sections of 4 lane divided highway in business districts that would be 45 mph anywhere else. Enforcement is heavy and unreasonable.
My wife and I are from Louisiana. We had come into Minnesota on I-35 and thought we would overnight in Northfield before heading on north into Wisconsin. We were in flow of northbound traffic in outside lane. I noted a local patrol car off the travelway but no officer or person outside. I continued on with traffic flow – same speed/same lane. A short distance I heard the siren of approaching local patrol car that came up on outside lane of traffic and pulled in behind me to pull me over. I had No idea what the stop was about. The officer said I had failed to slow or move over as I approached/passed an “emergency vehicle” on side of road. I said that I was not able to do either as I was in traffic – same speed and not able to move to other lane. He said that made no difference. He then went on to add that he had written “several similar citations” that day for same violation. That made me think this was indeed a setup, and I was singled out as I had out of state plates (Louisiana). I did not argue with the local officer – I did say that I had been in the State of Minnesota less than 3 hours, but if I could find a way out, we would be on our way as we did think this was a most unusual way to greet visitors. I did pay the “penalty” when I got home, but I do not believe I will visit either Northfield or State of Minnesota again. I am 68 years old, and have had driver’s license since I was 15 – this was my first ever traffic citation. My advice – if you are out of state and in Northfield, be very wary of locals looking for that easy $125 – $180.
Officers sit in businesses parking lots & catch speeders entering and leaving town, on Hwy 3.