The City of Minneapolis has been aware of the issues with the current mid-block crossing of Franklin Ave between Lake of the Isles for some time, and since 2006, Public Works has spent over 40 staff hours collecting data, evaluating the situation, and coordinating with Kenwood School, residents, and the Park Board. Marking a crosswalk on Franklin Ave W, installing stop signs at the crosswalk, or directing pedestrians to cross Franklin at Logan Ave S instead of mid-block have all been considered, but are not recommended as safe, long-term solutions.
The existing crossing is not at an expected location for drivers due to its location mid-block, on a curve and the presence of another marked mid-block crosswalk nearby. Simply marking the crosswalk or adding warning signs does not improve the safety of the crosswalk, as studies have shown that driver behavior does not change at a marked vs. unmarked crosswalk.
Drivers do not slow down or increase their yielding behavior, therefore the markings do not improve safety and can actually give the pedestrians a false sense of security (extensive research has been done on this issue throughout the U.S. For more information, see http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/docs/cros.pdf
Adding flashers to the crosswalk is a $20,000 improvement that would not be recommended because, again, this is not a recommended crossing location and the flashers serve to direct pedestrians to cross at that location. Stop signs would be inappropriate at this location because they would violate the Minneapolis Stop Sign Plan, and realistically, more than 2,000 vehicles a day would be forced to stop when during most times of the day there would be no pedestrians or other conflicts. As a result, drivers would not respect the stop sign and would begin to disregard it, which again, does not create a safer crossing for the pedestrians, not to mention the increase in delay and potential crashes resulting from the unexpected mid-block stop sign.
Directing pedestrians to cross at Logan Ave is also not recommended because visibility of a pedestrian for eastbound and westbound traffic is limited due to the hill, and because for students going to Kenwood School this crossing of Franklin Ave results in two crossings of Lake of the Isles Parkway, which actually has more traffic than Franklin Ave.
There is an existing mid-block crossing with a crosswalk and flashers at the Kenwood Recreation Center, and the Franklin Ave W/Penn Ave S intersection has all-way stop control and is a designated school crossing with school patrol before and after school. Either of these are the preferred crossing locations of Franklin Ave in this area.
For all of these reasons, the recommended solution is to connect the sidewalk and trail on the north side of Franklin Ave W (approximately 500 feet) to create a continuous route from the neighborhood to the Kenwood Recreation Center and Kenwood School. This connection fills an existing sidewalk gap, has been identified in the City's Pedestrian Master Plan, and is a benefit to all pedestrians.
We, the undersigned, call on the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park Board, the Minneapolis School Board, and elected neighborhood officials to work together to connect the existing sidewalk and trail in the south end of Kenwood Park, completing a "missing link" between the existing sidewalk and trail that start at either end of the park but do not link.
The completed sidewalk will:
* Improve pedestrian safety, offering a safe alternative to those who are currently forced to cross Franklin Avenue at a limited visibility, mid-block crossing to gain access to a sidewalk;
* Improve accessibility to Kenwood Park, it's playground, athletic fields, and new tennis courts, Kenwood Recreation Center, and Kenwood School;
* Contribute to a more livable community by encouraging more foot traffic and less automobile traffic.
We request that all funding sources be explored including those from City, Park Board, and School capital budgets, grants, and private and corporate contributions.
The Link Kenwood Park sidewalks! petition to concerned citizens was written by philip hallaway and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.