Safety improvements for downtown entrance
Several owners in a condominium complex, led by one individual, were concerned that vehicles coming into downtown Minneapolis off two freeways were endangering pedestrians. The drivers had two decisions to make: left into the downtown business section or a sharp right into the neighborhood. Significant damage to private and city property had already occurred with four incidents in the past few years: some drivers went straight, over a concrete triangular island, over a city street curb and sidewalk and into the condominium courtyard. No pedestrians had been injured to date but the complainants felt significant risk existed. MnDOT had improved safety signage several months prior to the first complaint but the complainants felt more was needed, such as a concrete barricade, guardrail or some type of deflective device.
The Ombudsman met with the condominium community separately and then invited the MnDOT area manager and district traffic engineer into the conversation. A concrete barricade was first thought feasible but upon analysis was determined to have significant risk to vehicle occupants. Several other potential solutions were investigated.
Chevron signs were placed along the outer edge of the triangle to direct the dominant traffic movement to the left. The triangle was landscaped by MnDOT maintenance staff with plantings and boulders. The boulders were placed to slow down if not stop errant vehicles without harm to pedestrians or vehicle occupants. The complainants were very pleased with the outcome as it provided the answer to their safety concerns and was aesthetically pleasing (see before and after pictures).