Intersection needs addressing

The intersection of University Avenue Southeast and I-35W North is a safety risk.

Most people who have taken the off-ramp from I-35W North onto University Avenue Southeast know that this exchange is very dangerous for pedestrians, so every person who routinely walks through that intersection has learned to be careful. The problem with the intersection is that cars coming off I-35W are too busy trying to merge onto University Avenue Southeast to notice any pedestrians that might be walking across the street. The one-way traffic on University runs southeast, so pedestrians walking northwest across the street get overlooked. At this intersection, people have been knocked off bikes and nearly hit by oncoming cars – it is only a matter of time before something worse happens.

Unfortunately, bureaucracy stands in the way of getting anything done. Parking and Transportation Services can’t do much about the situation because the intersection is not part of their jurisdiction. The city of Minneapolis hasn’t done anything about the situation because it’s not considered urgent. The city’s system for transportation improvements – safety or otherwise – operates on a schedule, with improvements planned for certain areas far in advance. According to the city, this prevents them from putting up a flashing yellow light, adjusting the intersection to add a stop sign or stoplight.

Another concern of theirs is backlog. According to an official at Parking and Transportation Services, traffic regulation is about moving cars quickly through the system so it functions properly and the last thing the city wants is cars backed up onto I-35W.

Of course, they could change the intersection, but it’s only likely to happen after doing studies to determine whether the intersection is safe and what to do if it is not – both of which will undoubtedly take several months, if not a year or more. If you’d like the pace to move quicker than that, call 311 or comment at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/government. Let’s get the city to fix this problem sooner rather than later.