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Group proposes improvements for Lake, Excelsior triangle

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: March 11, 2014 - 6:17 PM

A group of pedestrian advocates are calling for improvements to a key intersection near Lake Calhoun in the wake of a death last month.

Caitlan Barton, 25, was fatally struck by a truck at the intersection of West Lake Street and Market Plaza (above) in mid-February. The city's pedestrian advisory 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 pedestrian advisory committee released a list of short-term and long-term improvements they would like to see in that area.

The area was already of particular importance for new Council Member Linea Palmisano because it is slated to receive a key light rail stop under the proposed Southwest line.

Their short-term recommendations include:

1. Remove right turn lanes on Lake Street in both directions to reduce pedestrian crossing distances by approximately 12 feet each. Potentially use temporary measures initially to restrict the lanes and monitor how traffic responds and then evaluate a permanent solution.

2. Review all signal timing to ensure that there is adequate time in the pedestrian phase to fully cross wide roadways. Add audible pedestrian signals and pedestrian countdown timers to improve pedestrian awareness.

3. Install continuous street and sidewalk lighting to ensure good visibility between pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicle drivers. The few existing lights on signal poles and other sporadic locations are insufficient for pedestrian visibility.

4. Improve intersection corner visibility by redesigning property corner treatments to minimize visual obstructions such as walls and fences.

5. Replace worn pavement crosswalk markings with new higher visibility and more durable markings.

6. Improve snow clearance enforcement and clearing on sidewalks, especially at corners.

7. Tighten curb radii for maximum pedestrian safety, eliminating sweeping right turns.

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 in the future and eventually reconfiguring the area to eliminate its "acute geometry and complexity."

Here's a map (created by MPLS) of what some of those improvements might look like (zoom in):

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