What’s broken? – 38th & Pleasant Light

Lydia Miller calls the traffic light at 38th Street & Pleasant Avenue the “meditation light.”

The Kingfield intersection is the nucleus to Incarnation Catholic Church, San Miguel Middle School of Minneapolis, the Center for Performing Arts and Lake Country School — all of which share its four corners.

“It stays on forever for 38th Street traffic,” said Miller, who lives a block from the intersection. “When the light turns for Pleasant Avenue traffic, cars and pedestrians can hardly get across before the light turns back again.”

The poor timing of the lights poses a dangerous risk for the elderly and school children, Miller said.

According to transportation design engineer Scott Tacheny, most of Minneapolis’ 806 traffic lights are on timers. But the light at 38th Street and Pleasant Avenue uses another method, which relies on sensors beneath the pavement to detect the presence of vehicles.

The Southwest Journal checked out the intersection recently and watched three cars on Pleasant Avenue wait at the intersection for a full cycle without any oncoming 38th Street traffic. The cars didn’t appear to be detected.

New sensors were installed at the intersection in July 2005, but it’s possible they could be malfunctioning, Tacheny said. He said he would make sure the 38th & Pleasant traffic sensors were performing properly.

Tacheny said the city does a routine checkup of all its traffic signals about once every five years. Citizens with concerns that a particular traffic light is too long or too short should dial 311 and file a request with the Traffic Division of Public Works.

If you see something broken on the streets, or spot some other nuisance issue in the neighborhoods that needs to be resolved, please let us know. We’ll spotlight the problem in the newspaper and at www.southwestjournal.com. We’ll work to get it fixed and identify who is responsible for addressing the problem.

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