Transportation roundup

Walk (and ride) the line

As part of a $21 million federal grant shared with multiple cities across the country, Twin Cities walkers and bikers could soon find themselves not only sharing the road with motorists, but also having roads designed with them in mind.

Bike/Walk streets use traffic-calming techniques, signage, lighting, and other amenities to provide a safe, quiet, and direct route for bicyclists and pedestrians. These streets are built with inexperienced or young riders in mind and are claimed to be calmer, quieter, yet very functional.

Bike/Walk Twin Cities is an initiative of Transit for Livable Communities that aims to increase walking and bicycling and reduce driving by 2010. For more information, go to
www.tlcminnesota.org.

The nonprofit is seeking proposals from metro area groups interested in the bike/walk streets.

Street reconstruction continues on Lake and Lyndale

Did you know there will be some $78 million worth of summer road construction in Hennepin County alone this year?

That large number means there will be an equally large number of detours and lane closures drivers should to be aware of, many of them on Lake Street.

• Construction work on Lake Street between Hiawatha Avenue and West River Road is scheduled to resume this month and is expected to be complete this year, according to a county transportation update. Work items remaining to be done are placing the final bituminous wearing course, landscaping, and electrical work and site amenities. In addition, a portion of Lake Street at the northeast corner of 27th Avenue will be completed by the end of the year. The traffic signal at Hiawatha Avenue/Lake Street intersection will be replaced by May, according to the update.

• Also, Lake Street from Dupont Avenue east to Blaisdell Avenue is under construction. It began on the south side of Lake Street just west of Bryant Avenue and extends to just east of Harriet Avenue. Work includes pavement removal, grading, sidewalk removal and replacement, gas line replacement, among other basic work. It is scheduled to be complete by mid-May.

• The north side of Lake Street from Bryant Avenue to Blaisdell Avenue will be reconstructed when the south side is complete. One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained throughout the reconstruction.

• Lyndale Avenue from West Minnehaha Parkway to West 31st Street reconstruction begins in mid-June.

• Lyndale will be closed to through traffic from West 38th Street to West 50th Street when construction starts. Detour signage will be provided. Improvements include new roadway pavement with concrete curbs and gutters, new signals, and new street lighting. The project is expected to be done by November 2009.

Traffic resources

The city of Minneapolis has an established page for motorists to find the latest news on traffic updates. It can be found at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/traffic.

There, you can check out the latest “improvement” projects being completed by the city’s Public Works division, sign up for e-mail traffic alerts and even report
potholes.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has also set up a site featuring some 200 traffic cams in the metro area. Real-time traffic can be found at
www.dot.state.mn.us/tmc/trafficinfo/cameras_map.html.

Transportation roundup

Phase II of Lake Street reconstruction

Now that fair weather is on its way, you can expect myriad construction projects around town.

Lake Street, as part of the “first complete reconstruction” of South Minneapolis in 50 years, saw new pavement, partial sidewalk removal, gas main replacement and grading work scheduled through March 31, according to a county news release.

The project included reconstruction of sections of Lake Street between Bryant Avenue South and Harriet Avenue.

The first stage of the three-phase project involved reconstruction of the middle portion of Lake Street from Dupont Avenue east to Blaisdell Avenue. By the end of 2008, Lake Street between Dupont Avenue to the west and the Mississippi River to the east will have an entirely new roadway, sidewalks and streetscape, according to the county.

Lyndale Avenue Reconstruction Meeting

A meeting that will address more construction along Lyndale Avenue this summer will be held from 6:30–8 p.m., April 15, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Ave. S.

Preliminary plans call for Lyndale to undergo reconstruction south of Lake Street down to Minnehaha Parkway, said Hennepin Country Transportation Engineering Harlan Hanson. While there will be a “total reconstruction of the roadway, it won’t be shutdown,” Hanson said of the three-mile stretch. The Lyndale Avenue Reconstruction Project could begin as early as June, Hanson said.

Airport noise meeting

Ever had problems holding a conversation because of excess airport noise? Well, at 7 p.m. April 22 at Metropolitan Airports Commission general offices, 6040 28th Ave. S., you’ll be able to give MAC staffers feedback during the quarterly public input session. Staff will provide residents with updates from the Noise Oversight Committee (NOC), and other noise-related airport developments.

For more information, go to macnoise.com or call 725-6455.

Light rail could replace parking along much of University

How would the loss of nearly all on-street parking spots to accommodate light rail along University Avenue affect area businesses?

Metropolitan Council community outreach staffers will soon attempt to glean the answer to that question, and others, from business owners along University who would see firsthand the affects of the Central Corridor light-rail transit system.

While patrons would have, perhaps, a more efficient means of transport to Twin Cities’ businesses as a result of light-rail transit (LRT), Central Corridor Communications Manager Laura Baenen said other issues, such as supply truck and pedestrian access and unused spaces hope to be addressed by the study.

If all options were incorporated into the design, 945 of 1,150 parking spots would be lost, according to the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Some 625 spaces would be lost be due to the need for mandatory features such as two driving lanes in each direction, additional traffic signals, longer left-turn lanes, station locations and platform lengths, according to a Central Corridor LRT update. Furthermore, 360 more spots would be consumed if “all desirable elements” were incorporated, according to an engineering report.

While the track would run from Rice Street in St. Paul to the east bank of University of Minnesota, this particular corridor has a higher density of on-street parking, thus the need for the study. A portion of Washington Avenue, to be used preliminary for transit, is being turned into a “transit/pedestrian mall,” Baenen said.

The business surveys are part of the Central Corridor’s preliminary engineering process, which has to be finished by August to meet federal funding deadlines.