Dangerous Dodd is top at-risk road near schools, Lakeville task force finds

  • Article by: ERIN ADLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Mile stretch near Lakeville North drew concern after fatal crash.

The results from a task force are in, and they indicate that there’s no shortage of road safety issues near Lakeville schools.

A School Road Safety Task Force looked at pedestrian and traffic concerns near 18 schools. It will help the city and county figure out how to prioritize future projects, said Jim Skelly, a member of the Lakeville school board who served on the group.

The most important school-related road project:

Widening Dodd Boulevard on a dangerous one-mile stretch near Lakeville North High School.

Until that can be finished, other safety measures along Dodd should be considered, the report said.

In December, North junior Alyssa Ettl was killed on a snowy morning while driving to school. The narrow, hilly two-lane road has also been the site of other crashes over the years.

“It was overwhelming as far as the support for that project,” Skelly said.

In January, the school board passed a resolution asking the project be moved up in the city and county’s plans. The report’s findings affirmed that resolution, Skelly said.

Ettl’s death — and the questions it raised — led to the task force in the first place, said Bart Davis, a member of Lakeville’s City Council and the task force.

The council has accepted the report, and Skelly summarized its findings at a recent school board meeting.

The report prioritizes 13 road safety issues near schools, and 10 concerns related to pedestrian and bike access, said Steve Mielke, Lakeville’s city administrator at the time of the meeting.

“The task force report itself is intended not to solve the issues, it is intended to identify the issues,” Mielke said.

‘Really eye-opening’

The task force included nine members. Officials from the Lakeville, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage and Farmington districts were represented, along with Dakota County Commissioner Paul Krause, a resident and a student.

All Saints Catholic School and two schools that sit within Lakeville but are actually part of other districts were involved.

Each member was assigned two schools to observe during drop-off and pickup times. They also talked with principals at each site, Davis said.

Davis, who studied Lakeville South High School and Kenwood Trail Middle School, called the task “really eye-opening.”

“One of the things that came out of the report was I don’t think they anticipated the amount of traffic at schools,” said Davis.

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