Neighborhood groups voice opposition to Lyndale turn lane

Three neighborhood groups have passed resolutions opposing Hennepin County’s plan to incorporate a 200-foot left turn lane on each side of Lyndale Avenue where it crosses Lake Street.

The lane is part of the Lake Street reconstruction project, which includes a section of Lyndale Avenue between 29th and 31st Street. Reconstruction of the area is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2007.

CARAG, Lowry Hill East and Lyndale each approved resolutions to send their concerns about the project to county and city representatives. Lyndale has not followed through with its resolution because of communication and meeting attendance issues, said Holly Reckel, the group’s president.

The neighborhoods wanted to see alternatives to the existing plan, which will go to the City Council for a vote in early July.

A reduction in sidewalk width from 20 feet to 15 feet for the length of the turn lane was one of the concerns, as were the loss of parking in front of some businesses and the added lane of traffic.

“Now we’re putting pedestrians in front of five lanes of traffic,” said Gay Noble, CARAG representative on the West Lake Street reconstruction project committee.

County Engineer Jim Grube said the intersection is prone to auto crashes – 101 were reported between 2000 and 2002 – and a fifth turn lane could reduce accidents by 25 percent. The reduction would result in more than $300,000 in economic savings to individuals, he said.

Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman said if the fifth lane were eliminated, turn restrictions would have to be made during peak traffic hours.

As for the other concerns, Grube said parking will be rearranged, but the total number of spots will not be reduced. Sidewalk width, which both businesses and residents are concerned about, will still be larger than the 10 feet on Lake Street, Grube said. The bump-outs will provide more space near the intersection, he added.

The Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association’s resolution also opposed adding a traffic signal at Colfax Avenue South and Lake Street and any loss of parking on the street’s south side between Lyndale and Aldrich avenues.

Some residents have voiced other concerns, including the possibility of an influx of traffic and crime in nearby residential areas. The possibility of slower bus traffic because of stops placed behind the bumpouts is another concern.

Dorfman said she planned to meet with residents from the three concerned neighborhoods on June 19. There is still time to make changes to the plan if necessary, she said.

“The bottom line is that we all share the same goal of coming up with a solution for that very busy intersection,” she said.

Jake Weyer can be reached at 612-436-4367 and [email protected].