Progress at Cedar/Franklin/Minnehaha

Final design of intersection

Final design of intersection

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

Rejected alternative Minnehaha Ave alignment

Rejected alternative Minnehaha Ave alignment

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

New curb being installed

New curb being installed

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.

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13 Responses to Progress at Cedar/Franklin/Minnehaha

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke June 22, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    Taco Bell plaza!

  2. David Markle
    David Markle June 22, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    We’ll see what happens with automotive traffic. (I’m worried.) The city’s changes along Cedar Avenue between 3rd and 6th streets resulted in only one improvement, in my opinion: the pedestrian crossing light and island at (former) 5th. Rush hour traffic became more congested, and in my experience, the notorious Cedar/Riverside intersection has become more dangerous.

    • Matthew Steele June 23, 2017 at 9:54 am #

      Why are you worried about automotive traffic?

  3. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller June 22, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    I biked past the other day and was surprised that construction had started.

  4. g bernard hughes June 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    before this change, most northbound traffic down minnehaha went to franklin avenue.

    now that traffic turns left at 22nd street & continues west down to cedar.

    22nd street is heavily used by bike riders going & coming between seward & the bike trail.

    no thought was apparently given to suddenly pushing automobile traffic onto this street already heavily biked.

    • Rosa June 22, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

      do you think that change is permanant? I have been assuming it’s just because of the construction (I bike or drive our dog to Fun City right there a couple times a week, so I’ve noticed the increased car traffic.)

      What’s going to happen with 20th Ave? It kind of looks like they’re blocking it to northbound traffic but I can’t tell if that’s just a construction stage. As nervewracking as heading north on Cedar from 24th St to Franklin/20th, it’s my most direct route to a whole bunch of places including both good routes to Northeast (the 19th Ave bridge and the 2-level bridge to 15th Ave) and not being able to do that would really suck.

      • Bill Lindeke
        Bill Lindeke June 23, 2017 at 9:45 am #

        Permanent!

        • Rosa June 23, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

          so you won’t be able to get onto 20th Ave from Cedar once they’re done? I mean, on my bike I’ll just cheat & go in the crosswalk if i have to but that kind of sucks for pedestrians trying to cross at the same time.

    • Jeremy June 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

      Thought was indeed given to this, and it was addressed at the Bicycle Advisory Committee engineering subcommittee meeting, but given the constellation of variables, including the level of willingness on the part of Hennepin County to go even further than they have in calming traffic, addressing pedestrian and cyclist needs, and in making progress on restoring the street grid here, we got a re-do that falls short in certain respects … as all political compromises do.

      • g bernard hughes June 28, 2017 at 1:49 am #

        sorry but im not seeing the part abt “addressing pedestrian and cyclist needs” in this scenario.

        also how far has hennepin county gone in calming traffic in this spot? concrete examples of both of these would be good.

  5. Minrose June 23, 2017 at 5:13 am #

    I left MPLS years ago and I still have nightmares about this intersection. I’m glad something is finally being done about it.

    Too bad they’re maintaining two lanes on Franklin under the LRT, though. Seems so unnecessary.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke June 23, 2017 at 9:44 am #

      It’s marginally better but the core of the street remains the same. I agree with you about 2-lane Franklin. It’s one lane to the east and one lane to the west…

  6. Rosa June 27, 2017 at 9:47 pm #

    So this is an important part of my bike commute – I either take the Greenway over to the LRT to drop the dog at Fun City, or 24th to Cedar, and then head north on Cedar/20th to east bank campus to take the pedestrian bridge and then 15th ave north, or the 19th Ave bridge instead.

    I didn’t have time to take pictures today but the way they’re handling pedestrian access during construction is TERRIBLE. There’s a little temporary ramp north of where the sidewalk is ripped out north of 22nd on the east side of Cedar that just…puts wheelchair users in the street, where there’s no ramp on the safety island or the opposite side of the street? I’m not sure what it’s supposed to do. The rest is also not good, with big chunks of sidewalk just ripped out/closed, but that ramp is pretty much insult to injury.

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