[This post originally appeared on Our Streets Minneapolis blog as part of highlighting the most dangerous intersections Minneapolis. The author is Clark Goldenrod.]
Below are photos from the intersection of Lake St E and Bloomington Ave S, the 14th most dangerous intersection for pedestrians in Minneapolis. 13 reported pedestrian crashes occurred at this location in the ten year study period of the 2017 Pedestrian Crash Study. These crashes range from fatal to incapacitating to minor crashes.
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All photos taken by Clark Goldenrod.
Pedestrian crosses several lanes of traffic on an ill-defined crosswalk.
Pavement in disrepair in crosswalk.
Crosswalk barely visible.
This intersection is the meeting of two huge city streets, any way a pedestrian tries to cross, they are walking past several lanes of folks in cars.
Sidewalk at crosswalk is uneven.
I’m an occasional 14-rider and Bloomington Ave driver, and IMO the easiest/biggest thing that could improve intersections such as these would be to move the bus stops to the far side of the intersection. All too frequently there’s a 14 hanging just short of Lake Street at the stop, and this blocks motorists’ views of pedestrians crossing either street. It also encourages right turning traffic to go around the bus on the left, where they can’t see the crosswalks until the last moment.
We also need to talk about why Lake Street needs to be a Four Lane Death Road. Traffic volumes are about 17,000 between 35W and Cedar. And it doesn’t function well for motorists, even with many blocks prohibiting left turns the left lane is routinely blocked with motorists waiting to turn into business entrances or other side streets. And the right lane is made very tight during winter months due to snow pushing the curb in, and stacked buses on Lake Street don’t help. Traffic doesn’t flow well, and plenty of weaving takes place. I don’t think I need to explain how four lanes are bad for pedestrians and bicyclists.
This stretch of Lake could function far better with three lanes. You’d have space to the left and right for motorists to wait and make turns, and the through lane would flow much better. You’d have space to create a median in certain spots to help with crossing or force right-in-right-out from driveways and low volume side streets to eliminate dangerous left turn conflict points.