Safe Crossing of Highway 3

One of the topics of great interest that emerged at the EDA’s Riverfront Redevelopment Public Input Process session Wednesday morning at The Grand was the Downtown Section of Highway 3, between St. Olaf Avenue on the north and 5th St. on the south. Specifically, people were hoping for safer pedestrian and vehicular crossing at St. Olaf Avenue and 3rd Street.

This has been an issue that the NDDC has been following for years. In particular since last November, when it was thought that construction work would begin the following spring.

NDDC folks met with City Staff to better understand the physical elements of the project specifications. As mentioned at Wednesday’s meeting, there are supposed to be bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the highway and utilities for traffic signals are to be stubbed in at both the St. Olaf Avenue and 3rd Street intersections.

At a recent Block Head Gathering, we were told by Heidi Hamilton, Director of Public Works, that 2nd Street would be closed for most the the construction. We think that this would be a good time to put in a traffic signal at 3rd Street.

It was clear at the Riverfront Redevelopment Open House that traffic to and from the site will be one of greatest challenges to successful development. We think that it would be a good idea to put in a traffic signal at St. Olaf Avenue.

The signals at St. Olaf Avenue, 2nd Street and 3rd Street could be time so that north-south traffic was not unduly hindered but that east-west traffic could be greatly improved.

Pertinent memos can be found in the Extended Entry.

Date: 10/27/03
To: Brett Reese, Brian OConnell, Dan Bergeson, Jim Braucher
From: Ross Currier
Regarding: Highway 3 Downtown Section Discussion

Representatives from the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation asked for the meeting in order to focus attention on the organizations goals for the upcoming work. These goals are:

– Pedestrian Safety
– Visual Differentiation
– East-West Connection
– Defining the Downtown Section

Pedestrian safety was stressed for the Downtown Section. This section was defined as running from St. Olaf Avenue in the north to Fifth Street in the south. The visual differentiation, the look of the highway, should start at the top of the viaduct in the north and the end of the bridge in the south. The connection between east and west can be strengthened by safe crossings for pedestrian and distinct design elements along the side of the downtown section.

We discussed elements that are in the design for the center section that will help the community realized the NDDCs goals. They include:

– Sidewalks on Both Sides
– Bike Lanes on Both Sides
– Crossings that are Distinctly Painted
– Pedestrian Level Lighting from north of St. Olaf Ave. to Fifth St.

We talked about things that would be helpful in achieving the goals and might be in the design. They include:

– Electrical Stub-ins for Future at Third St. and St. Olaf Ave.
– The Possibility of Additional Signals at Third Street and St. Olaf Ave.

Brian was going to investigate the inclusion of these elements in the design. He was going to get back to the NDDC on all of these design elements and the anticipated schedule for this work, as well as obtain a copy of a layman-friendly plan of the work.

Finally, we talked about working together to pursue additional sources of funding to achieve our goals, including Roadway Enhancement Money. Brian was going to report his findings and suggest ways that the NDDC could support the City in these efforts.

Date: 11/03/03
To: Interested Parties
From: Ross Currier
Regarding: Highway 3 Work – Downtown Section

I met with Brian OConnell on Friday, October 31st. He shared his findings on the Highway 3 work for the center section.

The work is scheduled to start in July of ’04 but might slip a month or two. It is scheduled to be completed in September of ’05.

The lighting will be the same design as is along Division Street, although the standards will be taller.

There will be bike lanes along BOTH sides of the road.

There will be landscaping, including trees, along the west side of the road for sure and maybe along the east side but it was NOT specifically shown on the elevation drawing.

There will be a raised median in the all along the center of the road with the exception of an opening at Malt-o-Meal and a “Suicide Lane” between St. Olaf and 2nd Street.

These treatments will run from north of St. Olaf Ave. to south of 5th, apparently what we have been defining as the “downtown section”. This will be very helpful in sending the “visual message” to the vehicular traffic.

There WILL be stub-ins of electrical at 2nd Street and St. Olaf Avenue.

Colored asphalt at the crossings is a slam dunk, concrete at the crossings will be possible, if the city pays for it, and textured crossing are possible but would be more of a challenge.