The intersection of Cedar/Franklin/Minnehaha is the second most dangerous intersection in Minneapolis, with the second most bicycle crashes. It is also one of the most dangerous intersections in Hennepin County, with vehicle crash rates more than two and a half times the “critical rate.”
Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, and other local groups worked together over the last few years to design a plan to improve this intersection. There’s some good background on the various options that were considered here.
Our Streets Minneapolis (formerly the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition) worked with local community members, county and city staff to influence that plan to better serve people biking and walking.
Here are some great things that are included in the final plan:
Closing Minnehaha Avenue north of Franklin Avenue
Removing the traffic signal at Franklin and Minnehaha avenues
Creating a southbound left turn lane from Cedar Avenue to East 22nd Street
Aligning bike lanes on Franklin Avenue
Improving north-south bike and pedestrian movements
Improving left-turn operations from Franklin Avenue to Cedar Avenue
Connecting with the recently developed NACDI Anpetu Wa’ste Cultural Arts Marketplace
Adjusting traffic signal timing
What’s not included
There were also important improvements that were requested by community members and Our Streets Minneapolis that the County did not include in the final design:
Safer, slower Minnehaha
The “alternative configuration” of Minnehaha was the best option for slowing turning speeds, and reducing ambiguity around how bikes should use this area, but was not chosen.
Safety for pedestrians crossing Franklin at Minnehaha
Pedestrians need a safe crossing at Minnehaha and Franklin. The existing street layout includes a small median without curb cuts and a “double threat” on westbound Franklin, none of which promote safe and comfortable pedestrian movement. Both the double threat and the tiny median are still a part of this redesign.
Crosswalk design under light rail
There should not be a crosswalk across two lanes of traffic and a bike lane. A traffic study by NACDI shows that two lanes of car traffic on Franklin are unnecessary here. This project maintains those two traffic lanes.
21st, 22nd, 23rd Ave Calming
Residents are interested in calming these streets, but that was not considered within the scope of the project.
Creating public space in front of Taco Bell
This was not discussed as part of the project.
Project delayed, but now under construction
This improvement to the intersection has been a long time coming, and community stakeholders were anxious to see this plan implemented. Unfortunately, because of a funding shortfall, construction was delayed until spring of 2017.
On May 31st, the portion of Minnehaha Avenue between Cedar Avenue and Franklin Avenue was closed for construction. The project is expected to be complete by fall 2017.
A version of this post originally appeared on the Our Streets Minneapolis blog, written by Laura Peters.