Traffic issues

5 Jun

A couple of things came up at our last neighborhood meeting related to traffic. As I promised at the meeting, I’ve followed up on both AND heard back from the city on both. So, here they are:

1. The traffic signal at Louisiana and Lake St. (near Sam’s Club’s back entrance):

A number of SOHers indicated that they have seen people miss the singnal. The city has not been made aware of any concerns or complaints. There’s some thought that it’s simply motorists deliberately running the signal or speeding up aggressively (which the city sees elsewhere). There doesn’t appear to be any visibility issues — at least as far as the city can identify.

The city has agreed to refer the concern to Mn/DOT who controls the timing and operation of the signal and to forward it on to the police to see if there are any significant violation or enforcement issues there.

The city also noted that work on Hwy 7 and Louisiana could begin as soon as next year. If so, the issue of the traffic signal would become moot as they would work to redo the entire intersection as a roundabout.

2. The new Wooddale/Lake Street intersection (and the convergence of the bike path)

Here’s a more detailed explanation from the city:

When the Highway 7/Wooddale project was designed, the crossing was discussed quite extensively through the public process, which included Three Rivers Park District, Hennepin County, trail users, and other stakeholders.  A big part of the issue or problem is that there a large amount of activity on Wooddale within a very short distance on Wooddale (a trail crossing, frontage road, ramps, railroad tracks, etc.).

Throughout the process, it’s generally been acknowledged that a separated grade crossing (i.e., the trail going either over or under Wooddale) is the desirable safe and long term “fix”.  However, with the pending LRT design and construction, such a construction cannot be considered until then.  This is similar to Beltline where Three Rivers did previously have federal funding for constructing a bridge or tunnel at that location, but have not been able to move ahead for the same reason.

All that said, the design tried to make the best with what was available to work with there, and even try to improve from the existing crossing which was also a concern.  The design initially had the frontage road pushed much closer to the railroad tracks, which would have helped alleviate some of the spacing issues.  However, upon completion of the final design HCRRA, informed the City and Mn/Dot that no construction would be allowed at all within the RR ROW, hence the frontage road was pushed further north and squeezed closer to the ramps.

The regional trail itself (with the exception of the crosswalk itself), is also in the railroad right of way.  It was generally felt by the majority involved in the process that a legal crosswalk at the intersection would be better than the previous mid-block, which was not a legal crosswalk.

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