Trail crossing safety improvements

images.jpgAs Bike Week 2014 draws to a close, I thought it appropriate to share that Three Rivers recently completed a comprehensive assessment of all locations throughout the district where our trails cross roads. More than 400 trail crossings were evaluated for safety, consistency and maintenance issues, including the Lake Minnetonka LRT Trail crossing on Shady Oak Road in Minnetonka. We put a high priority on trail user safety, so it's important we provide consistent safety measures to allow users to make safe, predictable decisions when crossing roads. Consistent crossing treatments minimize trail user and driver confusion, and help lower maintenance costs by avoiding the overuse of signage. Keep reading to see how we're using this assessment to guide our future investments!

The comprehensive assessment identified several crossings where small improvements would improve safety and consistency while reducing the overall number of signs to be maintained. The smaller-level improvements include replacing trail stop signs with yield signs where appropriate, removing stop ahead signs where the stop sign is clearly visible, and adding or removing marked crosswalks. Prior to completing improvements at each crossing, staff will conduct site visits to confirm the improvement recommendations are appropriate. The crossing improvements will be completed during summer and fall of 2014.

The comprehensive assessment also identified crossings requiring additional engineering studies. Multiple risk factors were identified at the crossings, which may include obstructed sight lines, multiple lanes of traffic crossed, high vehicle volumes, high speed limits, inadequate lighting, history of crashes at the crossing, turning vehicle conflicts, trail parallel to roadway, and lack of refuge islands. Crossings requiring additional engineering studies will be addressed over the next five or six years, beginning with an engineering study and followed by a construction project. As always, we will collaborate with local cities and Hennepin County to share costs.

The crossings that require an engineering study include: Winnetka Avenue N - Rush Creek Regional Trail in Brooklyn Park, Medicine Lake Road - Luce Line Regional Trail in Plymouth, Great Plains Boulevard - MN River Bluffs Regional Trail in Chanhassen, Dell Road - MN River Bluffs Regional Trail in Eden Prairie, Rolling Acres Road - Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail in Victoria, County Road 110 - Dakota Rail Regional Trail in Minnetrista, Shady Oak Road - Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail in Minnetonka, Fernbrook Lane North - Medicine Lake Regional Trail in Maple Grove, Commerce Boulevard - Dakota Rail Regional Trail in Mound, and Orono Orchard Road - Dakota Rail Regional Trail in Orono.

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair