46th Street Community Open House

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46thIn 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.

423One 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 frnng@frnng.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:

Hennepin County
Bob Byers (612) 596-0354 robert.byers@hennepin.us
Kelley Yemen (612) 543-1963 kelley.yemen@hennepin.us

Minneapolis
Allan Klugman (612) 673-2743 allan.klugman@minneapolismn.gov

10 thoughts on “46th Street Community Open House

  1. Roy Vanderwerf

    The east end of 46th street is not much calmer than the west end. The horns honk day and night, and the intersection of 46th and cedar is a real bottleneck. I have some specific suggestions but unfortunately will not be able to attend the upcoming meeting about this. My suggestions are constructive but lengthy. Unfortunately, they involve drawings and/or site visits to be adequately understood. I do not see office hours posted for the FRNNG office. Could someone call me to set up an appointment?

    Peace, hope, and good will,

    Roy Vanderwerf

    1818 East 46th Street ph. 612.209.5311

    Reply
  2. Burke Hinds

    I sent the following in an email, in case anyone else wants to comment:

    While you are working on the 46th street reconfiguration, thought needs to be put into the lights, turning and traffic movement at 46th and Nicollet.

    The significant problem I’ve experienced is eastbound approaching Nicollet at all times of the day and week, especially at non-rush hour times.

    Westbound 46th has a left turn light onto Nicollet Ave heading south. Eastbound does not have a similar light.

    The real problem is that eastbound cars stack up significantly, often for 3 or more blocks for 2 reasons:

    1. The light is short;
    2. There is only 1 lane when cars are parked on the south side of 46th street near the Caribou at non-restricted (non-rush hour) times, when the congestion is as bad as it is at rush hours.

    When a car frequently is turning left onto Nicollet Ave. N, the entire line of cars behind it is stuck there waiting for the westbound traffic to clear, which is often until the light changes. When cars are parked on the curb, there is no way to get around the left-turning vehicle, and I’ve had to wait as many as 4 lights to get through the intersection.

    Consequently, I have started going either North on side streets (Blaisdell or Wentworth) to get to Nicollet Ave N, or south to 47th street to cross Nicollet, then back to 46th street on the other side of the light. This is not a good or safe traffic pattern.

    Furthermore, with long lines, it is often difficult (and unsafe) to move right around the left-turning vehicle because drivers are so understandably impatient and can cause accidents, particularly when eastbound vehicles who move to the right can be blocked by the left-turning vehicle.

    In the Westbound direction, the bus stop past Nicollet (next to the Breugger’s Bagels) where the busses will hold for long periods has a similar congestion effect as vehicles pass by Nicollet either in the turn/straight lane, trying to weave into the single lane going west—lots of indecision regarding which vehicle will go forward or wait to merge in.

    Reply
    1. Matt Steele

      Burke, that corner has the highest critical crash rate of the entire corridor. While there’s limited opportunity to resolve all the problems while maintaining the same curb and the same right-of-way, there’s definitely room for improvement.

      The likely plan is to have one through lane in each direction across Nicollet, and a left turn lane for each direction of 46th Street. This will have a few advantages: 1) It offsets the left turning cars, so motorists don’t have to guess as much if they have a safe opening to turn left. 2) As you note, it would make it so motorists going straight can get past cars waiting to turn left, in a safe and predictable manner.

      Hope to see you tomorrow!

      Matt Steele
      46th Street Committee
      (Northrop Neighborhood)

      Reply
  3. Adam Miller

    I’m just outside of FRN, but I use 46th regularly between home and the freeway in my car, and I bike through the area all the time. I’d really like to see a 4-to-3 to improve traffic flow and increase safety for all users. And, of course, bike lanes!

    Reply
  4. Wendy Johnson

    My comment relates to walkers trying to walk on the sidewalks in the winter along 46th st. There is no boulevard to separate the road from the sidewalk and it feels very unsafe. I think the 4to3 conversion would help slow down the drivers and make them pay more attention so I’m for it. Also the city should be much more aggressive in enforcing the snow removal rules by home owners on 46th st I often have to deal with huge piles of snow which also makes it hard to walk safely ie a real risk of falling into the street in front of a car or truck etc.

    Reply
    1. Jamie

      I can’t agree with you more! My comments are related to the need to think long-term about the need for better pedestrian facilties and not short change ourselves by saying that striped bike lanes provide the protection that pedestrians deserve along this corridor that serves as an important transit route/connection. The “excess” right of way should be discussed and not officially designated for bikes until a plan is made about how we fix the pedestrian issues. You can still bike in the space if there isn’t a bike painted on the street.

      Reply
    1. Chris Schommer Post author

      Hi Jamie, the many comments from this event have been transcribed along with feedback received via email, social media, phone calls and interviews and we hope to be able to share this data with the community in December. Online comments are winding down but are still being accepted for the current concept through November and neither the neighborhood group or Hennepin county has made any new recommendations yet. We will publish more information when it becomes available on our webpage and through social media, and there will be several more opportunities for feedback before any plan is finalized in the coming months.

      Reply

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