County may fund West 50th Street reconstruction in 2003

Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman has promised to push for 2003-04 funding to reconstruct West 50th Street.

After receiving approval from the Fulton and Lynnhurst neighborhood associations, Dorfman said she is optimistic that the county will fund the project because of strong support from the neighborhoods.

According to Councilmember Barret Lane (13th Ward), West 50th between Lyndale Avenue and France Avenue will be re-striped next summer to implement a three-lane design tested between Queen and Zenith avenues this year.

Fulton and Lynnhurst residents had raised concerns regarding traffic speed, pedestrian safety and dangerous driving conditions when vehicles on 50th swerve to avoid left-turning vehicles.

The recent traffic test created left-turn lanes, resulting in less parking along 50th. Businesses said the left-turn lanes resulted in too little parking.

Dorfman and Councilmember Lane said traffic engineers are working to create a solution for the parking problem.

The Fulton Neighborhood had budgeted $107,000 of their Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds for the project, but will now re-allocate the money.

Fulton Neighborhood President John Finlayson said the neighborhood has been working to change the design of West 50th Street for 12 years, but it has only recently happened.

Dorfman’s promise comes after positive results were released last month from the traffic test. Overall vehicle speeds decreased by 2 percent, and vehicles traveling over 40 mph dropped from 4 percent to 1 percent of traffic.

Next summer, left turn signals will be installed at West 50th’s major intersections to facilitate left turns from left turn lanes.