Safety changes sought at site of pedestrian death near Lake Calhoun

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 11, 2014 - 8:52 PM

The city’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee offered a list of improvements Tuesday they’d like to see for a key intersection near Lake Calhoun where a woman was struck and killed by a truck last month.

Caitlan Barton, 25, was hit at West Lake Street and Market Plaza on Feb. 12. The committee had previously highlighted the triangle created by West Lake Street, Excelsior Boulevard and Market Plaza as a priority for improvements.

On Tuesday afternoon, the group suggested short- and long-term improvements they would like to see in that area.

Barton, of Savage, was struck as she crossed on the green light shortly after 6 p.m. The truck driver, who was making a right turn onto Lake Street, apparently did not see her and dragged her about a quarter of a block. She died the next day.

The intersection is one of Minneapolis’ busiest and has been identified as one of the most dangerous for pedestrians. Plans to add a light-rail station are feeding even more interest in making it safer for walkers and bikers.

Among the group’s short-term recommendations:

1. Reduce pedestrian crossing distances by removing right turn lanes on Lake Street in both directions.

2. Review signal timing to make sure pedestrians have enough time to cross wide roadways. Add audible pedestrian signals and pedestrian countdown timers.

3. Install continuous street and sidewalk lighting to ensure good visibility for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

4. Improve visibility by minimizing walls and fences.

5. Replace worn pavement crosswalk markings with more visible and more durable markings.

Over the long term, the committee would like to see wider sidewalks and more sidewalk amenities such as trees and lighting. They also encourage less car-dependent development and eventually reconfiguring the area to eliminate its sharp angles and other challenges for pedestrians.

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732 Twitter: @StribRoper

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