Old Shakopee and 98th: From Death Road to Multimodal Corridor

The Old ShakopeeRoad/98th Street Corridor is one of the east-west thoroughfares of Bloomington. It’s also an outdated roadway. Several segments are a four-lane death road, the sidewalks are narrow and buckling, and traffic typically goes 5 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

The route has several high-traffic destinations, including the Mall of America, Kennedy High School, the area of 98th & Lyndale known as Oxboro, Bloomington City Hall, the Old Shakopee & France area that includes Valley West Shopping Center, an industrial park west of Normandale Boulevard, Dred Scott Field, Creekside Community Center, Bloomington Ice Garden, Normandale Community College and Normandale Village. Eventually the Old Shakopee/98th Street corridor will need a major redesign, and this must include substantial upgrades to bike and pedestrian facilities. Several design options are possible and will be analyzed in this post.

Road Diet vs. Widening

In addition to being outdated, the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor is abutted by single-family homes on certain segments in which the width of the right-of-way is only about 60 feet. Adding a fifth lane for left-turning vehicles plus wider pedestrian and bike facilities along the entire corridor would require many property acquisitions (approximately 88 single-family homes plus three businesses). This was done on 66th Street in Richfield but required the acquisition of only 18 single-family homes. It would be expensive and very difficult politically to demolish such a high number of homes along this corridor.

A four-to-three-lane road diet, in which the road is converted to one through lane in each direction plus a bidirectional left turn lane, is possible for the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor. However, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) considers an average of 20,000 vehicles per day to be the maximum volume acceptable for a four-to-three-lane road diet. Based on MnDOT traffic data, between Normandale Boulevard and Penn Avenue on Old Shakopee Road couldn’t be converted to three lanes and would instead be widened to five lanes. That would reduce the number of properties needing to be acquired to approximately 50 single-family homes and one business. Although this still would be difficult to achieve, a road diet along this segment would be more difficult due to the high traffic volume and lack of sufficient alternative routes.

Converting the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor to three lanes where feasible would have several benefits:

  1. Left-turning traffic wouldn’t block the through lane.
  2. It would be easier for all users to cross the road.
  3. It would calms traffic and reduce crashes.

Several roads in the Twin Cities region have already received a four-to-three-lane conversion with good results. However, Old Shakopee Road and 98th Street are county roads, and Hennepin County is focused on moving as many cars as possible without the consideration of safety, especially for pedestrians and bikers who are the most vulnerable. Converting segments of the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor would likely receive pushback despite the four-lane design being outdated and dangerous for all users. Though difficult from a political standpoint, a road diet where feasible would increase safety for all users of this corridor without having to acquire additional properties.

Types of Pedestrian and Bike Facilities

Multi-Use Trail

These are common in the Twin Cities, especially in suburbs, and consist of an approximately 10-foot wide trail shared by walkers and bikers. The trail parallels the road, and typically at least a couple feet of buffer is between the curb of the road and the edge of the trail. Some trails have striping to separate direction of travel, and trails can be built on one or both sides of the roadway.

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Multi-use trail along Normandale Boulevard in Bloomington. This segment was rebuilt from four lanes to five lanes. Source: Google Maps

A mixed-use trail is not recommended for the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor because conflicts would be more likely between bikers and pedestrians. It would also be dangerous to have bikers going in the opposite direction of traffic because motorists coming from side streets may not be looking in both directions before proceeding through a trail crossing.

Bike Lanes

These dedicated lane for bikes on the road are either unprotected or protected with something like bollards. By contrast, sharrows and bike boulevards require motorists to share the road with bikers, and this is indicated with signage and street markings.

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Unprotected bike lanes on Nicollet Avenue in Bloomington. Between American Boulevard and 98th Street this road had a four-to-three-lane conversion. Source: Google Maps

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Protected bike lanes with plastic bollards along Plymouth Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. Source: Google Maps

Due to the high amount of traffic traveling at least 35 miles per hour, none of these options should be considered for the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor except on 98th Street west of Normandale College, where an existing frontage road could be used as a bike boulevard. A four-to-three-lane conversion on that segment could also allow unprotected bike lanes for bikers who prefer staying on the main road.

Cycle Track

A cycle track is a bike facility separated from the road and sidewalk by either grade-separation (as is common in Amsterdam and Copenhagen) or distinguished by different color pavement. Cycle tracks aren’t common in the Twin Cities, and most use different color pavement from the sidewalk instead of grade-separation.

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A typical cycle track in Copenhagen in which the bike facility is grade-separated from the road and sidewalk by a curb except at intersections. Source: Google Maps

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A cycle track in downtown Minneapolis. It’s grade-separated from the road by a curb and uses a different color pavement to distinguish it from the sidewalk. Source: Google Maps

A cycle track on the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor is recommended. It would reduce the chance of pedestrian-biker conflicts, allow bikers to travel at higher speeds and could be separated from the road by grade separation. Where possible, the cycle track and sidewalk should be physically separated.

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Typical cross section of the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor where there are five lanes plus sidewalks and cycle tracks. Source: StreetMix

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Typical cross section of the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor where the road has been converted from four lanes to three lanes plus sidewalks and cycle tracks. Source: StreetMix

Road Redesign

Like almost every arterial road in the suburbs, the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor is a hostile environment for walkers and bikers. A road diet on the recommended segments plus cycle tracks and wider sidewalks are a major improvement, but more redesigns to the road are needed to make this corridor more welcoming for pedestrians and bikers.

Right-Turn Slip Lanes

Right-turn slip lanes increase traffic flow at the expense of safety for all users of the road. Not only do they encourage drivers to make right turns at higher speeds, they’re also an obstacle for bikers and pedestrians. The pork chop islands that are part of the right-turn slip lane design surround walkers and bikers with vehicular traffic. Although the slip lanes could be redesigned to discourage fast turns and give greater visibility to pedestrians and bikers, removing all slip lanes on the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor is recommended. Right-turn on red should also be prohibited on this corridor to reduce the chance of motorists pulling out into the middle of the crosswalk and hitting an approaching pedestrian or biker.

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The right-turn slip lane at Old Shakopee Road and Normandale Boulevard in Bloomington has a bad blindspot for motorists turning and for people trying to cross at the crosswalk. If a motorist is going too fast into the slip lane while a person is crossing, a collision could result. Source: Google Maps

Traffic Signals

Traffic signals are typically placed at the far-side of an intersection, but this encourages motorists to stop in the middle of the crosswalk. This is dangerous for pedestrians and bikers because a motorist may slow down into the crosswalk just as a biker or pedestrian is crossing. To prevent this, traffic signals instead should be placed on the near-side of the intersection. This would be a learning curve for motorists, however, given that far-side traffic signals have been common for a long time, especially in suburban areas. At the very least, traffic signals located at highway on- and off-ramps (like the one pictured below) should be placed near-side.

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This is the northbound off-ramp from Interstate 35W at 98th Street in Bloomington. Placement of the traffic signals is among the design flaws of this intersection. With high-speed traffic coming from the freeway, motorists are more likely to stop in the middle of the crosswalk instead of behind it (or even stop in the eastbound through lane and risk causing a crash, which has happened at least once). Source: Google Maps

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An intersection coming from a highway off-ramp in Amsterdam. The crosswalk and cycle track are clearly marked, and the signals are placed on the near-side of the intersection to prevent motorists from stopping in the crosswalk. Source: Google Maps

Bikers should have their own signal at signalized intersections, along with the usual walk signals. Several designs are possible for bike signals, which would be determined based on the intersection. Optimally most signalized intersections would automatically give bikers the green light before cars in order to reduce the chances of right-turn traffic conflicting with bikers (known as a right-hook).

Roundabouts

Roundabouts, which are becoming more common in the Twin Cities region, can improve traffic flow while significantly reducing deadly T-bone crashes. In theory, roundabouts are safer for bikers and pedestrians than a typical four-way intersection; however, there is a lack of data to back that up. While typical American roundabouts emphasize increased traffic flow, Dutch roundabouts emphasize slowing down traffic with sharp turns and making bikers and pedestrians clearly visible. A multi-lane roundabout, even with refuge islands, could be more difficult and dangerous for bikers and pedestrians than a four-way intersection due to the uncertainty of traffic in all lanes yielding while crossing.

Richfield Roundabout

Roundabout design at 66th Street and Nicollet Avenue in Richfield (gray shade is the road, pink shade is the cycle track). North-south on Nicollet Avenue has one lane while east-west on 66th Street has two lanes. Although this design slows down traffic, it’s easy for motorists to accelerate as they exit the roundabout.

Amsterdam Roundabout 1

One-lane roundabout in Amsterdam (gray shade is the road, pink shade is the cycle track). The curves are tighter, so accelerating into or out of the roundabout is more difficult than the Richfield example. The cycle track follows the shape of the roundabout instead of the tight turns required for bikers in the Richfield example.

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Both roundabout examples from ground level (top in Richfield, bottom in Amsterdam) show the contrast in design. Source: Google Maps

If roundabouts are considered anywhere along the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor, they need to replicate Dutch design: single-lane with refuge islands and tight curves for cars in order to significantly slow down traffic and make the crossing much safer and easier for pedestrians and bikers.

Cross Streets

One major issue when biking along roads is conflicts with cars coming from and turning into cross streets and driveways. Most cross streets don’t have crosswalk markings for sidewalks or trails, so motorists are more likely to stop in the middle of the crosswalk. Bad timing could mean getting hit.

Cycle tracks have markings indicating the cycle track crossing, making motorists more aware of bikers. In Amsterdam and Copenhagen this sometimes goes a step further with different pavement or pavers to indicate the cycle track crossing and/or a slightly raised crossing. The slightly raised crossing not only indicates the cycle track crossing but also forces motorists to slow down whether they are coming from or turning into the side street. Additionally, this design makes the bike ride less bumpy at crossings. This design is recommended for the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor.

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Two examples of a cycle track crossing a side street in Amsterdam. Vehicles crossing the cycle track must slow down and drive over a small hump. The crossings are clearly indicated with pavers. Source: Google Maps

Crosswalks

Marked crosswalks on the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor are limited, so additional crossings for pedestrians and bikers are needed. At marked crosswalks with no traffic signals, rectangular rapid flash beacons (RRFBs) or HAWK signals should be installed. RRFBs are usually suitable on roadways with three lanes or fewer, while HAWK signals are suitable on three- and five-lane roadways. Refuge islands should also be built at these crossings, so bikers and pedestrians can focus on one direction of traffic at a time.

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RRFBs at Old Shakopee Road and Kell Avenue in Bloomington. With four lanes and no refuge island, these type of signals are inadequate for bikers and pedestrians to safely cross. More on that here. Source: Google Maps

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HAWK signals at County Road 61 in downtown Chaska. With a refuge island these are adequate for a three- or five-lane crossing. Source: Google Maps

Bloomington’s 2016 Alternative Transportation Plan (ATP), though an improvement over the status quo, doesn’t go far enough in creating a safe walking and biking network in Bloomington. On a city-wide scale the plan has a few gaps that need better bike and walking infrastructure, and several streets could easily have a road diet and include a bike lane. But the ATP ignores those.

On the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor, the ATP proposes a mix of facilities. On Old Shakopee Road west of Normandale Boulevard it would be a multi-use trail, part of which already exists but is in poor condition. East of Normandale Boulevard there would be on-street facilities and a multi-use trail along Old Shakopee Road. However, the ATP lacks details about specific on-street facilities, how the road would be redesigned and whether properties would be acquired. A multi-use trail would be on 98th Street between where it meets Old Shakopee Road and France Avenue, but nothing is proposed west of France Avenue to Normandale Village. The ATP also includes an existing railroad spur that would be used for a regional trail, but freight trains still use this corridor, and the railroad company has not indicated it will abandon the right-of-way. If it were abandoned, a transitway utilizing the right-of-way should also be studied.

The ATP does acknowledge the dangers of traffic and vulnerability of bikers and pedestrians, but the proposed network seems to avoid traffic calming and road dieting measures. The ATP also acknowledges that upgrades to pedestrian and bike facilities on the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor are needed, but it lacks a detailed plan.

Cultural Change

Improving infrastructure, though necessary, is not enough. Changing our driver culture is also needed to make corridors like Old Shakopee Road and 98th Street more friendly toward walkers and bikers. American motorists are impatient, and we value the efficiency of our commute time more than the lives of people around us.

Oslo and Helsinki have significantly changed road infrastructure to make it safer, but they also have a respectful driver culture and more rigorous driver education. Those factors combined led to zero pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in both cities in 2019. “It’s easy to build yourself out of problems, but it is more difficult to get people to understand that this is important and make them act in a more secure way,” says Christoffer Solstad Steen from Trygg Trafikk, a Norwegian road safety organization.

Not only is the majority of infrastructure in our suburbs hostile toward walkers and bikers, motorists see them as an inconvenience rather than as human lives. Better driver education, especially at younger ages, would help change the impatient and even hostile driver culture. Ten years ago, students in drivers’ education were taught to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks because it’s the law. Little if any education focused on leaving space for bikers on the road, yielding to pedestrians at all intersections (not only ones with marked crossings), having patience while out on the road and recognizing the vulnerability of pedestrians and bikers.

A pedestrian getting hit by a car at 31 miles per hour has, on average, a 50 percent chance of severe injury and a 25 percent risk of dying (source). Learning respect not only for the rules of the road but for all users of the road would go a long way toward our goal of zero deaths on Minnesota’s roads.

A cultural change is also needed in our traffic engineering departments, from the local to the federal level. We can’t have safer roads while increasing traffic flow and boosting speed limits. The safety of pedestrians and bikers needs stronger consideration when designing roads.

With the recommended designs for the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor, Bloomington would be closer to becoming a suburb that’s safe for all modes of travel. Applying these designs throughout the city and region would be a huge improvement for pedestrians and bikers. That, in turn, would make our communities safer, healthier and less dependent on cars.

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36 Responses to Old Shakopee and 98th: From Death Road to Multimodal Corridor

  1. Jeremy Hop
    Jeremy Hop July 17, 2020 at 11:00 am #

    This corridor would make for an excellent crosstown bus route. End point passenger generators are transfers at 98th Street Orange Line and Mall of America. Lots of businesses and residential potential within this corridor.

  2. Monte Castleman July 17, 2020 at 1:09 pm #

    Most of these are good suggestions. The three I disagree with are:

    1) I think a MUP, as called for in the city ATP would be adequate for the corridor, and I would use it frequently if it were available. It’s notable that the concept for the new Old Cedar intersection does not involve building it at this time even though they did at 86th. I did complain to the engineer about leaving it out.

    2) The reason near side traffic signals aren’t a thing is because you have to crane your neck to see them and they’re difficult to see in anything but a convertible. Since they’re not done in this country at all, Old Shakopee road isn’t likely where we’re going to start.

    3) This is not an appropriate corridor for no turn on red because there’s no geometric need for it. Besides substantial delays to people in cars, banning turns on red just means that turns at slow speed on red are now done at a much higher speed on green, presenting more danger to pedestrians on a parallel crosswalk than turns on red do to pedestrians on a perpendicular one.

    I’ll also point out some of the specific concepts for the Orange Line station plans do include eliminating the pork chop islands and building a refuge island on the east side of 98th and Lyndale. A conventional non-pork chop right turn lane is going to be needed at Lyndale for at least southbound to westbound, and other directions will be studied to see if the will be needed.

    There is also a county-led project to install flashing yellow arrows at the Portland intersection (and other signals on Portland). Presumably these will use the new programming that does not allow conflicts between pedestrians and left turning traffic.

    • Eric Ecklund July 17, 2020 at 1:56 pm #

      1) Why do you think the MUP is adequate? Based on experiences with cycle tracks/bike lanes versus MUPs I prefer the former as a pedestrian or biker.

      2) You don’t have to crane your neck if motorists are stopped back far enough (note the Amsterdam example where the white line shows where motorists stop). And I wouldn’t say it’s not done in this country at all. The diverging diamond at 34th Avenue & 494 in Bloomington has near-side signals. Yes it’s a particular design that requires near-side signals, but it does show that near-side signals can work.

      3) To motorists, turning right on red means pulling out into the crosswalk without checking to see if any pedestrians or bikers are coming. And they’re only looking for motorists coming from their left, not looking to their right for a pedestrian or biker. So while right-turn on red and no right-turn on red both have pros and cons, I believe no-right turn on red has the most benefit from a safety perspective.

      • Monte Castleman July 17, 2020 at 2:59 pm #

        Just my experience and opinion, I’ve cycled on MUPs a lot and I’ve tried out both cycletracks, and I haven’t found the 66th cycletracks better or worse than MUPd, while I found the Washington cycletracks to be vastly inferior to MUPS. I’d be happy with either a MUP or a 66th style cycletrack on Old Shakopee Road, just my thinking is don’t cycletracks take up more land which may be an issue at certain places?

        • Eric Ecklund July 17, 2020 at 3:41 pm #

          Assuming a MUP is 10 feet wide and they’re on both sides of the road then that’s 20 feet versus 32 feet for sidewalks+cycle tracks (8 feet+8 feet on both sides of the road). But where there isn’t enough room for that amount of space you could just narrow the sidewalks and cycle tracks, or have bikers and pedestrians share the path for a short segment.

          • Monte Castleman July 17, 2020 at 7:36 pm #

            Or 5 foot for a sidewalk on one side instead of a MUP to squeeze it in an even more constricted space, like Portland Ave in Richfield. Of course then have the time you have to cross the street twice to go the direction you want to, but then again you do with cyclectracks too.

  3. Monte Castleman July 17, 2020 at 1:19 pm #

    I’ll also add there’s good and bad implementations of cycletracks. Something like the one on 66th in Richfield would be good on Old Shakopee. It has a generous buffer of grass, and even trees beween the cyclectrack and the street. (I hate the roundabouts on as both a motorist and bicyclist but that’s another story). But the one on Washington Ave, I tried it once on a bicycle and I was terrified because it’s right up against the curb, and thus the traffic lane, and the curb protection disappears several feet before the actual intersection leaving nothing between myself and cars.

    • Eric Ecklund July 17, 2020 at 2:01 pm #

      My main complaint with the 66th Street cycle tracks, besides the design of the roundabouts, is there’s no protection from cars coming from or turning onto side streets. There’s only white paint indicating a crosswalk, but as I mentioned in my post there should be small speed humps as well as bike markings to make motorists slow down and be more aware of the cycle track.

      I’ve biked on both cycle tracks and for me the experience is the same, except on Washington there’s less non-signalized side streets and driveways to worry about.

    • Ted Duepner July 20, 2020 at 1:20 pm #

      Also not a big fan of the cycletracks downtown, particularly the one on Park Ave./Portland south of washington. Numerous crossings into parking ramps inevitably lead to conflicts with drivers who cannot see users of the cycltrack around parked cars or otherwise. Every morning commute was a problem there.

  4. Andy Lewis
    Andy Lewis July 17, 2020 at 1:59 pm #

    Great ideas here. Have been cycling this road more in recent years because it’s a rare E-W through street in the south metro. But it is awful nearly in its entirety, and I would guess only the bravest of recreational cyclists even consider riding on it. I certainly would not entertain riding with my family on it. There’s also some underappreciated commercial areas along OSR that seem hidden or otherwise obscured by the way the surrounding infrastructure is designed that could be improved by re-imagining the experience.

  5. john purdy July 18, 2020 at 8:01 am #

    Thanks for this article. Can you tell me the MNDOT source paper for the 20,000 vehicle/day limit for 4/3 lane conversions?

    I am curious about this in light of the Ayd Mill project which has traffic in excess of this threshold, but is going ahead with the 4/3.

    Thank you.

    • Monte Castleman July 18, 2020 at 8:47 am #

      AFAIK the only hard, non-negotiable requirement is a state rule that MSAS streets (so basically all of them where it would be considered) must maintain two travel lanes in e at traffic volumes above 15,000 unless a traffic study indicates acceptable operations at one lane:

      8820.9936
      https://www.dot.state.mn.us/stateaid/programlibrary/stateaidrules.pdf

      Since agencies don’t want to pay for a traffic study for a chip seal or a mill and overlay that 15,000 figure became somewhat of a de-facto limit in Minnesota unless the road is being completely reconstructed.

      It’s safe to say that 15,000 is almost always going to work (although Bloomington did a study on a street at 11,700 and found it would not due to unusually high PM peak hour volumes). The farther you get above that it gets more and more situational based on things like turning movement, peak hour volume, traffic signals and stop signs, and turning movements, 20,000 is more a nationally accepted rule of thumb for a point where it might work, but probably not, so lets not spend money considering the idea.

    • Eric Ecklund July 18, 2020 at 9:20 am #

      https://www.dot.state.mn.us/trafficeng/safety/road-diet-summary.html

      “Road diet studies have demonstrated an upper limit of average daily traffic (ADT) of around 20,000 vehicles per day (vpd).”

      • Hero July 18, 2020 at 10:36 pm #

        Does a road diet create the inverse of induced demand?

        • Ian R Buck July 19, 2020 at 9:41 am #

          Yes, induced demand implies that if you take away vehicle capacity, people will choose to travel less in those vehicles.

    • Mike Sonn
      Mike Sonn July 20, 2020 at 7:21 am #

      Also, AMR isn’t going to an actual 4-3 conversion in the typical meaning. It is going from 4 lanes to 3 lanes, but those are still all thru-lanes. There will be additional turn lanes where in a typical 4-3, there are only 2 thru-lanes and a center turn lane.

      These are not the same things.

  6. Ian R Buck July 18, 2020 at 11:45 am #

    How does the ADT of this corridor compare to that of Maryland Ave or McKnight in St Paul? I know both of those corridors had more traffic than the state recommends for road diets, but the county went ahead with them. And lo and behold, the sky didn’t fall!

    • Eric Ecklund July 18, 2020 at 2:17 pm #

      Do you know which particular segments of Maryland and McKnight were road dieted?

      • Ian R Buck July 18, 2020 at 3:09 pm #

        Maryland was between Payne Ave and Johnson Pkwy.
        Larpenteur was between Dale St and I-35E.
        McKnight is a future project, they’re in the study phase of that one right now. Rice St is also being studied.
        Here is a page summarizing Ramsey County’s road diets: https://www.ramseycounty.us/residents/roads-transportation/future-road-projects/4-3-lane-conversions

        • Eric Ecklund July 18, 2020 at 4:02 pm #

          On Maryland between Payne and Johnson Parkway the western end has 19,400 AADT as of 2018, and the eastern end has 15,100 AADT as of 2018.

          I see Larpenteur is slated for a road diet this year, if it hasn’t been done already, between Dale Street and I-35E. On the western end of this segment there’s 13,300 AADT as of 2018, and 15,600 AADT as of 2018 on the eastern end.

          In comparison to where I proposed road diets on the Old Shakopee/98th Corridor: On 98th Street between Normandale and France there’s 11,100 AADT as of 2017 (except at Normandale College where it’s around 15,000 AADT), between France and Penn it’s 11,600 AADT as of 2019, and 13,000 AADT as of 2019 between Penn and James Avenue. On Old Shakopee between Penn and the merge with 98th Street it’s 18,100 AADT as of 2018. On 98th/Old Shakopee between Nicollet and Portland it’s 17,300 AADT as 2018, between Portland and Old Cedar it’s 15,300 AADT as of 2018, and it’s 9,100 AADT as of 2018 east of Highway 77 to Killebrew Drive.

          So yes, I think they’re comparable, and a road diet could easily be done on 98th Street west of the merge/split with Old Shakopee, and on Old Shakopee/98th east of Portland. The other segments will probably need further examining.

          • Ian R Buck July 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm #

            The trick, as always, is getting people into office who have the guts to do it. There are probably a couple of county commissioner seats that need to be flipped in Hennepin Co for road safety to become the #1 priority.

            • Eric Ecklund July 18, 2020 at 5:18 pm #

              Yes, and hopefully the safety of the most vulnerable people on or along streets (bikers and pedestrians) will be most important for them. Hopefully they also know that wider roads and faster traffic flow doesn’t equal safer streets.

          • Monte Castleman July 22, 2020 at 9:09 am #

            Using the MnDOT traffic mapping applicatoin I’m showing 24,200 Normandale to France, and 21,7000 France to Penn for 2018, so well out of the range of where a road diet is likely to work.

            Although I like the 66th street layout, playing around with Google earth copypasta-ing the layout onto Old Shakopee would result in taking a row of houses un-replaceable semi-affordable houses for the entire stretch. I’m not really sure how aspirational vs realistic this article was supposed to be, but it should be noted that city council has absolutely zero appetite for even the hint that they might use eminent domain to acquire the property, even for a clear public purpose like widening a road for all users as opposed to an outrage like the Best Buy project.

            • Eric Ecklund July 22, 2020 at 1:56 pm #

              If you read the article then you would see I was NOT proposing a road diet for the entire Old Shakopee/98th Corridor, ONLY where the traffic volume allows it (under 20,000 ADT according to MnDOT).

              The city and county have pretty much three options for Old Shakopee:
              1) leave it as an outdated 4-lane death road
              2) road diet all of the segments that are currently the 4-lane design and push the limits of what a 3-lane road can handle in terms of traffic volume
              3) bite the bullet and widen to a 5-lane road where the traffic is too much for a 3-lane road

              It’s realistic to recommend the third option because it’s an investment that will impact many generations. Old Shakopee Road in its current design was built for the post-war era of suburbanizing and depending almost entirely on cars, not the multi-modal 21st century. Yes it’s a shame houses would have to be torn down, but that’s what happens when planners don’t think far ahead to leaving enough space for the road to be redesigned without taking properties.

              • Monte Castleman July 22, 2020 at 3:03 pm #

                I did read the article, some of the comments seem to be implying that we should do it on the entire road and those are who I am addressing

  7. Ian R Buck July 18, 2020 at 11:48 am #

    We should outlaw right turns on red statewide. When we ban them on a case-by-case basis, there are way too many drivers who either don’t see it ignore the signs.

    • Eric Ecklund July 18, 2020 at 2:12 pm #

      With cycle tracks it’s strongly recommended that right-turn on red is prohibited due to the increased chances of conflict between a biker or bikers going straight on green and a car pulling out in their path to turn right on a red light. I support banning right-turn on red statewide, but I would also celebrate smaller victories like right-turn on red being banned at any intersection where there are cycle tracks or bike lanes.

  8. Steve Gjerdingen July 21, 2020 at 10:05 pm #

    I remember driving Old Shakopee road frequently back in the day and would routinely take it from Normandale Blvd to Lyndale during PM rush hour. I was surprised how rarely it was ever backed up given how much other Bloomington roads are affected about rush hour traffic. The thing I remember most about the road is it’s horrifically narrow sidewalks and miniscule looking boulevard in some places. In the winter, the sidewalks simply didn’t look usable. As good as a 4/3 conversion might be for this road to add bike lines, I feel like something needs to be done to improve the pedestrian environment as well. At minimum, I would pave the boulevards to make the sidewalk wider, but that would only work if the outside of the road was a shoulder/bike-lane, otherwise it would be too uncomfortable as a pedestrian. In my opinion the space on each side of the road seems too small to do a MUP, unless the curblines were rebuilt and the road were offset.

    • Eric Ecklund July 22, 2020 at 7:40 am #

      I think the curb lines will need to be rebuilt even for a 4-to-3 lane conversion, but it’ll take less space than a 5-lane divided road. As I said before unprotected bike lanes on this road is a no-go, so in addition to cycle tracks there would also be improved pedestrian infrastructure with generous width for both walkers and bikers. Both the sidewalk and cycle track need plenty of width because if one is narrower than the other then people are going to use the path that’s wider even if they’re not supposed to (i.e. if the cycle track is wider than the sidewalk then it’s more likely people will walk on that).

      You also bring up a good point about snow. Yes the sidewalks along Old Shakopee, and many sidewalks in Bloomington, are unusable or barely usable in the winter due to poor snow removal. That also needs to change. With the way bike lanes, sidewalks, and trails are treated in the winter it seems like city officials assume everyone just stops walking and biking in the winter.

  9. Lou Miranda July 27, 2020 at 11:40 pm #

    Maybe AADT is so high because too many lanes were built to begin with (induced demand)?

    Why doesn’t AADT demand that we have 10 lane roads downtown?

    Maybe we want to design roads for the city we want, rather than design cities for the roads we want?

    Maybe AADT above a certain level demands a bus lane and new or improved transit in the area?

    As you can probably tell by now, I am sick of AADT.

    • Lou Miranda July 27, 2020 at 11:41 pm #

      So what I’m saying is — great article!

  10. Brian July 30, 2020 at 10:22 am #

    Why not just close the road entirely? A lot of the suggestions for changes will slow vehicle traffic to a crawl.

    What will likely happen is drivers will take alternate routes to avoid the congestion. This may even include quiet residential streets.

    • Eric Ecklund July 30, 2020 at 4:38 pm #

      Based on MnDOT’s traffic data, no it would not slow traffic to a crawl, and you seem to ignore the fact that I suggested making Old Shakopee a 5-lane road where there’s too much traffic to make it a 3-lane road.

      If motorists want to go east-west quickly then take 494 instead of driving on Bloomington roads like they’re a freeway.

      • Brian July 31, 2020 at 12:32 pm #

        494 is not a great alternative as pre-COVID 494 was essentially six or eight lanes of parking lot during rush hour. If you have a single lane of traffic each way and remove all right turn slip lanes then traffic has to slow down for every person taking a right turn.

        Since I live a long ways from Old Shakopee Rd and use it about once a year it doesn’t really affect me too much.

        I’m not opposed to spending money on building bike lanes, but I don’t want lanes taken from motorized vehicles to do it. Buy out a row of houses and build a 30 foot wide bikeway if you want.

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