City, U seek input on traffic as school starts

  • Updated: August 30, 2007 - 9:08 PM

Officials are concerned that the 35W bridge collapse will make for trying days.

Classes start Tuesday at the University of Minnesota and many other schools, and without the Interstate 35W bridge to carry vehicles over the Mississippi River, officials are asking for suggestions on making traffic flow around downtown and the school.

It's hard to say how bad it could be.

Since the bridge fell Aug. 1, there has been a estimated 30 percent increase in traffic on some key streets in northeast and southeast Minneapolis, city officials said. And there's typically about a 25 percent increase in traffic in the downtown and university area when school is in session.

So the city and the university are asking commuters to contact them with ideas.

• For city streets, Minneapolis commuters should call 311 with traffic ideas. Drivers outside Minneapolis can call 612-673-3000.

• For commuters around the university, the school is welcoming suggestions at sienk011@umn.edu.

The school will have police directing traffic at some critical intersections, is considering removing some parking spaces to cut back on obstructed views, and is asking delivery trucks to unload only during non-peak hours, a spokeswoman said. A university website, www1.umn.edu/twincities/15_transport.php, lists driving and parking tips.

Both the school and the city are encouraging commuters to ride mass transit, take a bike or carpool, and allow extra time for trips.

"We want people to think about how things are going to be busier come Tuesday," said city spokesman Matt Laible.

"We would love any ideas that people have as they're out driving around or walking around or biking around."

The city also said Thursday that the 10th Avenue Bridge, near the collapse site, will reopen today to vehicles in time for afternoon and evening traffic. There will be one lane open in each direction.

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