Hennepin County is in early planning stages for a project that could revamp Franklin Avenue between Lyndale and Bloomington avenues in South Minneapolis.
County Road 5, or Franklin Avenue, is not currently scheduled for reconstruction, but the pavement is getting old and, with several new developments added along the road in recent years, county engineers are studying it for potential improvements, said Jordan Kocak, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.
Outreach for the project began this fall with early studies and meetings with advisory groups and neighborhood organizations. The county plans to release a preferred project layout in early 2020 and to finalize that design in the spring after additional engagement. When the actual reconstruction would take place is unclear.
Minneapolis’ Vision Zero crash study has identified Franklin as among the city streets where there is a marked trend of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers sustaining severe or fatal injuries. From 2007–16, the intersection of Franklin & Nicollet had the second most bicycle-vehicle crashes and the third most pedestrian-vehicle crashes in Minneapolis. Franklin & Lyndale had the 11th most vehicle crashes in the city, according to the study.
“We’re aware that safety is an issue here,” Kocak told a Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association committee in October.
Franklin Avenue is marked for future bike lanes by both county and city plans, and Kocak said they are seriously considering either protected on-street or curb-protected bike paths on the road.
Other improvements will look to improve pedestrian spaces and crossings, boost landscaping and streetlights and improve vehicle flow by adjusting turn lanes and road design.