Map of the Day: West Broadway in Brooklyn Park

The StarTribune reports today that Hennepin County is planning to expand West Broadway (known as Hennepin County State Aid Highway 103 for our traffic engineering readership) which will create a large median for the planned Blue Line extension (Bottineau LRT) to Target North in Brooklyn Park.

In a variant of our Chart of the Day series, today’s map (sort of a two-dimensional chart of existing or proposed land use, right?) is of the proposed layout at West Broadway at 85th Ave N. The median will be the location of a station on the proposed rail line.

North is to the right. A strip mall is in the southwest corner (top left), townhomes in the NW corner (top right), an undeveloped field in the NE corner (bottom right), and North Hennepin Community College and parking lot in the SE corner (bottom left).

All through lanes are planned to be 12 feet wide, and left turn lanes vary between 12 and 14 feet wide, per the state legislature’s design of our urban streets to rural highway standards.

Proposed stroad would consume between 11 and 28 residences.

Proposed stroad would consume between 11 and 28 residences.

More info and public comment opportunities can be found on the Hennepin County project website.

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13 Responses to Map of the Day: West Broadway in Brooklyn Park

  1. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller May 29, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    So they’re planning on cars travelling 55-65 mph then?

    • Mike Hicks May 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      That made me curious about the existing setup on the road — 45 mph toward the southern end, but most of it is signed at 50.

  2. Ben May 29, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    A 176 foot wide road?

    Tons of stoplights

    They could eliminate both of them. Connect the west and east college parking lots and dump them on the east west side road. You could still dump traffic into the parking lot.

    Let the subdivision go around.

  3. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke May 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Aaah, the suburbs.

  4. Sean Hayford Oleary
    Sean Hayford Oleary May 29, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Median is reminiscent of CSAH 31 York Avenue or TH 121 in S Mpls. Both are ridiculously wide, of course, although this is slightly justified given possible future LRT.

    Since the problems are obvious, I will offer a few points of praise:

    1. No free rights
    2. Right-turn lanes only at major intersections
    3. Wide boulevard space
    4. The extra median between the left-turn-only lane and the travel lanes might be used as an extra refuge island? Maybe I’m being overly hopeful.

    One problem (besides the many obvious ones) with the design is the awkwardness it creates for cyclists. They intend to use a 12′ travel lane, and presumably a 2′ curb reaction distance. This leave 14′ from curb to lane divider — not enough space for a bicycle and most cars to travel safely and legally side-by-side, but enough space that it looks like a car and bike could travel side-by-side. This makes cyclists much more likely to hug the curb, and motorists more likely to zip by without changing lanes.

    If they were using a 4′ curb reaction distance, the total space would be 16′, and that would be — barring debris or something near the curb — sufficient to bike side-by-side. But at that point, you’d probably rather see the white line move a foot to the left and have a legal bike lane…

    • Monte Castleman
      Monte May 29, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

      Seems like an excellent project to me. Sometimes you just need additional right-of-way to do a job right. One other thing to note is the inclusion of multi-use trails on both sides of the street for the entire length, something that’s currently missing.

      • Sean Hayford Oleary
        Sean Hayford Oleary May 29, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

        Actually, I worry that the inclusion of sidewalks or MUPs can be a real distraction here. Because, yes, all things being equal, I prefer to have sidewalks/MUPs than nothing. But they’re taking a two/three-lane road, and rather than letting it evolve organically into a street, arresting its progress and making permanent its auto orientation — by acquiring more right-of-way, tearing down more homes, cutting off more access, etc.

        The fundamental question might be, what is the ultimate goal? I think for many commenters here (myself included) the highest use of a street would be high-quality frontage, higher-density development, and motorized traffic that is sufficiently calmed so that walking, bicycling, and transit are all viable and dignified.

        For the traffic engineers building roadways like this, the best roadway is the one with enough lanes to meet future traffic projections and the bare minimum of bike/ped “accommodations” — so that, hopefully, they don’t clog up those travel lanes. They rarely design for the kind of development they want to attract, so the kind of development solicited by default is big-box, parking-lot-in-front development that is impractical for anyone not arriving in a car.

        (Since the purpose of this project is in part to preserve space for an expensive transit line, this is particularly problematic.)

        • Monte Castleman
          Monte May 29, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

          I’m tempted to say streets that are fast, efficient, and wide for motorized use are probably part of the reason why the people in the area bought houses there instead of Uptown or someplace. I know I’d never, ever buy a house in Minneapolis because I like wide, efficient for cars suburban streets and shopping at big box retail with plenty of parking. But you have a point in maybe something more transit oriented should be in this particular place because of the rail line, and it’s not like US 169 isn’t nearby where we’ve recently invested a lot of money for the benefit of cars.

          • Adam Miller
            Adam Miller May 29, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

            Surely you mean you like narrow, windy, limited access streets with only houses on them and no sidewalks that connect in one, maybe two spots to wide streets with fast traffic as long as your house isn’t too close to the edge?

  5. Sean Hayford Oleary
    Sean Hayford Oleary May 29, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Also interesting that they intend to do a sunken median — essentially, a ditch. My American roadway aesthetic has taught me to dislike these as kinda ghetto. But in fact, it makes a fair amount of sense to retain stormwater in ditches than to cart it away via stormsewer.

  6. Janne Flisrand
    Janne May 29, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    I sent my comments about creating a more dangerous, higher-speed, and taxpayer-wasteful project. Did you?

  7. Sam Newberg
    Sam Newberg June 1, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    Can’t say I’m going to want to spend a lot of time there. Then again, I live near Hiawatha Avenue….

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sunday Summary | streets.mn - June 1, 2014

    […] Flow Rate v. Density (on Freeways) is the first chart of several promised about traffic jams while Map of the Day: West Broadway in Brooklyn Park shows a planned project in Brooklyn Park (plus some critical commentary).  Now you see […]

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