West 50th restriping plan gets funds

In April, the City Council’s Ways and Means Committee approved $112,728 for road sealing, restriping work and new left- turn signals as part of the West 50th Street restriping project.

West 50th is owned by Hennepin County, which will reimburse the city for the roadwork and half the signals’ cost.

Roadwork is set to begin in June.

The restriping will change the busy thoroughfare from four lanes to three with a center left-turn lane. Fulton and Lynnhurst residents proposed the plan to slow traffic, but an initial design that removed almost all on-street parking and angered other residents and many business owners.

In response, Hennepin County delayed the project, originally scheduled for last year. Last fall, County Commissioner Gail Dorfman, who represents Southwest and St. Louis Park, released a revised plan addressing resident and business concerns.

The new plan adds a three-foot buffer for pedestrians and preserves most parking near business nodes. The change adds back approximately 16 on-street parking spaces at the France and Xerxes intersections.

The Penn Avenue area will stick with the original restriping plan, as requested by those in that area. That means no parking on the south side of the street after the restriping is complete. However, some parking has been recaptured in other areas at the Penn node.

Revisions have also delayed the Bryant Avenue portion of the project, since it will be affected by Lyndale Avenue’s reconstruction in 2006.

Tom Broder, co-owner of Broder’s Cucina Italiana, 2308 W. 50th St. and Broder’s Southside Pasta Bar, 5000 Penn Ave. S., has been working on behalf of this business node with Dorfman and Metro Transit to recapture parking lost with the plan.

He said Dick Loeffler, Metro Transit’s manager of west metro street operations, was extremely helpful by moving Penn Avenue bus stops so some parking could be recaptured.

Metro Transit has also agreed to move bus stops on West 50th to every other block. There are currently bus stops on consecutive blocks on parts of West 50th.