Pedestrian safety scrutinized at Lake and Excelsior

Following the February pedestrian fatality at Market Plaza & West Lake Street, neighbors discussed a series of safety improvements at a May meeting with Council Member Linea Palmisano and staff from the city, county and Park Board.

“We are aware that a lot of work has been done in this area, and we know this has been a problem for a long time,” said Emily Ziring, Palmisano’s senior policy aide.

Some work is already finished: Retimed traffic lights allow pedestrians a few extra seconds of lead time to cross at Lake & Market and Market & Excelsior. Police spent two weeks in April targeting speeding, red-light running and illegal turns in the area — the speed limit on Lake and Excelsior is 35 miles per hour, though cars tend to travel much faster. Graffitied and burnt-out bulbs were replaced at spots like Calhoun Boulevard and Abbott Avenue.

The following are some of the ideas floated for improvement:

— Pedestrian countdown timers

— Refreshed and enhanced crosswalk markings

— Additional intersection lighting on Excelsior

— More “No Turn on Red,” “No U-turn,” and “Do Not Block Intersection” signs

—Reduce the speed limit on both Lake and Excelsior by petitioning the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation

— Remove the right turn lane at Lake & Market to shorten the crosswalk distance

As a next step, Palmisano’s office will meet with Public Works traffic engineering staff to discuss budgets and timelines. Improvements could take anywhere from one-four years, implemented in advance of the potential light rail line.