Pleasant Street a tangled mess in start of semester

University police officers are directing traffic near Folwell Hall on highly-congested Pleasant Street.

by Kaitlin Walker

A combination of buses, motor vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians has snarled traffic on Pleasant Street Southeast near Folwell Hall since the semester began.

The University of Minnesota Police Department has stationed two officers at the traffic circle where Pleasant Street and Pillsbury Drive Southeast intersect to untangle the mess.

 âÄúItâÄôs definitely a busy, congested intersection with a lot going on at once,âÄù said University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner.

With Washington Avenue closed for construction on the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line, buses are being diverted to Pleasant Street, which means more bus traffic and more pedestrians, Miner said.

âÄúWhen the buses are unloading, there are a lot of pedestrians released at one point that then need to cross streets in various directions,âÄù Miner said.

Recently-added bike lanes are also adding to the confusion for motorists, Miner said.

Officers will be at the intersection through the second week of school. One officer directs traffic coming from University Avenue, while another simultaneously directs pedestrians crossing Pleasant Street.

âÄúThe major concern is that there are three lanes of traffic going down to one lane, and making that happen while getting all the students safely across,âÄù said University police Officer Todd Haugaard .

There havenâÄôt been any major problems at the intersection, Miner said.

However, a block away, a student was injured Tuesday after a Minneapolis city vehicle sideswiped a University of Minnesota bus as it was unloading passengers, Miner said.

The student was sprayed in the face with broken glass, Miner said, and was treated at the scene by paramedics before being released.

âÄúThat was unexpected,âÄù Miner said. âÄúThankfully the injuries turned out to be minor.âÄù

Temporary traffic control signals will be installed at the intersection to direct the extra bus traffic until Washington Avenue is reopened in approximately three years.

University police officers may be added to the intersection until the signals can be installed, Miner said.