In the Summer of 2016 Hennepin County will be performing a “mill and overlay” of 46th street that will extend the life of the road. This process removes the top layer of asphalt and replaces it with a new smooth surface. During this process there is an opportunity to rethink the lane configuration of the corridor when re-applying the lane markings. This paving project could provide improvement opportunities for vehicular traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Residents and business owners are invited to join representatives from Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, Field Regina Northrop, Kingfield and Tangletown for a community meeting and workshop to discuss the future of 46th street from Lyndale to Cedar Ave. This joint meeting will take place at the Field Middle School auditorium on Wednesday October 21st from 6-8pm. A map of the area will be displayed to allow posting comments and identifying problem areas. Staff will provide information on existing traffic volumes, crash history, and background on previous ideas for improvement.
Many community members have called for traffic calming measures on 46th street as the process of driving, walking, or cycling around this four lane corridor is often described as a “crazy” experience. Hennepin county officials recognize this and their data shows that 46th Street is experiencing a rate of crashes significantly higher than comparable streets. A working group has been established to study the transportation issues in this area and to examine actions which could be implemented with the paving project. The group consists of county and city staff members with representatives from the Field Regina Northrop, Kingfield and Tangletown neighborhoods.
One option for traffic calming available to the County in this situation is what is commonly known as a “4-to-3 Conversion” where the current four lanes are converted into two single vehicle lanes heading east and west with a center turn lane. Similar projects have become very common around Minneapolis and have achieved the result of a more predictable and steady traffic flow, with a significant reduction of crashes and injuries. A local examples of this type of conversion is 50th street between Lyndale and France Ave, which was converted from a four to a three lane street in the early 2000s. This type of configuration reduces the dangerous weaving that often occurs when people must stop to make a left hand turn which is common today along many sections of 46th street. This is particularly dangerous to people crossing on foot who are often invisible to drivers passing by quickly on a four lane street.
Different sections of 46th Street present their own problems, from the hectic 35W ramp to the wide open “speedway” north of McRae Park to the calmer areas along the far east end of the corridor. Many cyclists must use 46th to cross the freeway and there may be room for bike lanes in a three lane configuration and 46th Street is listed on the Hennepin County’s master bike plan. Parking may be impacted for sections of the corridor. The County is studying these options and others, and is actively seeking neighborhood feedback on these issues. Many neighbors have already weighed in and you can too even before the October 21st meeting. Just send your thoughts, comments, and wishes to the FRN office at firstname.lastname@example.org, contact us on Facebook or Twitter, or call the office at (612) 721-5424 and leave a message. Thank you to everyone who has already taken the time to comment, your input has been very valuable already.
Look for more updates on the FRN webpage and our Facebook and Twitter. Neighbors will also be receiving a reminder postcard closer to the October 21st meeting.
Additional information is available on the county website at: www.hennepin.us. In the search box, type “46th Street Study”. Questions or comments can also be directed to the county and city staff members:
Bob Byers (612) 596-0354 email@example.com
Kelley Yemen (612) 543-1963 firstname.lastname@example.org
Allan Klugman (612) 673-2743 email@example.com