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Minnehaha Ave. to be reconstructed in 2014

Posted on 27 February 2013 by robwas66

36th Ave. is one of the skewed intersections along Minnehaha Ave. to be squared off in reconstruction concepts. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

36th Ave. is one of the skewed intersections along Minnehaha Ave. to be squared off in reconstruction concepts. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

By JILL BOOGREN

Two concepts for reconfiguring Minnehaha Ave. (County Rd. 48) were presented at a Longfellow Business Association meeting in February.

Each would “square off” skewed intersections where people traveling north on Minnehaha Ave. currently make a soft (and often faster) right turn. Bump outs would also be added at intersections, which narrow the distance for pedestrians to cross the street. Some parking would be lost where these are added.

Driving lanes would be reduced from 12 to 11 feet, which Hennepin County Engineer and Project Manager Kristy Morter said works to slow traffic. In one concept the extra foot on each side would be added to the boulevards, and bicycle lanes would stay where they are, between traffic and parked cars.

In the other concept, lanes would be shifted to allow room for a two way “cycle track,” which would put north and southbound cyclists together on the west side of Minnehaha Ave. on a raised surface aligned with the boulevard and sidewalk. Brian Shekleton, aide to Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, said more trees would be removed for this option to increase visibility at intersections. He also said this option would cost more, although no estimates were available yet.

It was pointed out that the cycle track appears to end just before Lake St., in front of the police station, which could create a conflict between bikes and police cars exiting the station. It wasn’t clear how riders would join onto the bike lane north of Lake St.

“The goal is to improve safety for all users,” said Morter. The project will also im­prove a crumbling pavement surface and address issues of poor drainage.

Business owners wanted to know what costs would be assessed to their properties and whether there would be new requirements for street lights. Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy, who was in attendance, said she would not be pushing for lighting and wanted to hear from the community.

The project, from Lake St. to south of 46th St., will begin in 2014 and is expected to take two years. Public meetings will be held this spring, possibly in March, to get public feedback.

More information is at minnehaha-hiawatha.com under Minnehaha Avenue Reconstruction.

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