ONE FEWER LANE ON I-94
We asked readers on Thursday to react to the news that MnDOT is going to remove a temporary extra lane from Interstate 94 near downtown Minneapolis. Excerpts of their comments:
Safety should be the top priority. By keeping the fourth lane for traffic, cops can't pull people over, vehicles have nowhere to go if they break down, car accidents can pile up, and it's tough for short-term snow storage. Not to mention the major inconveniences for bus riders, who no longer get priority on the shoulders. I'm surprised that our state's leaders would compromise the safety of drivers for the supposed convenience of an extra lane that doesn't even reduce congestion.
Of course we should keep the fourth lane -- it's a no-brainer. I drive that stretch every day and it makes the commute much faster. The commute home is horrendous and would be much worse without the fourth lane.
We should be able to VOTE on MnDOT decisions. We have raised the gas tax and we pay for these roads and projects and at this point I have no faith in MnDOT and its plans. I drive for a living, driving 5,000 miles a month in the Metro area. I also spend $1,300 a month on gas. So if I pay the new gas tax, and paid the previous gas tax, then I feel we should be able to have a vote. Closing lanes in our congested, outdated freeway system is almost criminal.
There are so many problems with the thought of voting for projects. There's a reason why we have a Legislature, and a governor-appointed MnDOT commissioner. We are free to elect people who will push for reforms, and you are even free to run for an office if you want. Write to your legislator, and copy MnDOT. Call in and ask a MnDOT staffer why decisions are made. We don't live in a direct democracy for a reason; let's keep it that way.
It would be a serious mistake to remove the temporary lane on I-94 near downtown Minneapolis. This extra lane has been incredible in the reduction of traffic congestion. I have not seen any accidents in this area during the last year, and the narrow shoulders did not seem to present a problem during winter snow removal. Perhaps MnDOT has data to the contrary, but the gains in increased traffic flow have been tremendous. I urge MnDOT to keep this extra traffic lane.
Last winter, I spent an extra two hours in traffic one morning due to accidents occurring in the stretch between Cretin and Riverside. The extra lane would have allowed for prompt removal of disabled vehicles. There is no extra room for evasive maneuvers or moving over for emergency vehicles. The fourth lane makes that stretch much more dangerous.