29th Ave South Traffic Diverter at Midtown Greenway
29th Ave S at Midtown Greenway crossing
Forrest Hardy, 612-221-8255, [email protected]
In summer 2015, Public Works implemented a test closure of 29th Ave S at the Midtown Greenway to reduce the volume of automobile traffic adjacent to Seward Montessori School as part of a Safe Routes to School planning effort. The test found that the closure was effective at diverting vehicle traffic off of 29th Ave S, which is classified as a local street and is a designated bicycle boulevard. The test received much support from the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods, and aided the bike/walk programming efforts at Seward Montessori school. The City was awarded federal funds to implement the 29th Ave S bicycle boulevard, which was constructed between Franklin Ave and Lake Street in summer of 2017. A recommended concept for traffic diversion at 29th Ave S at the Midtown Greenway was presented to City Council in January of 2017. Public Works has completed a final design for this traffic diverter and it is scheduled for construction after the Spring 2018 school semester.
A final construction plan has been developed for the traffic diverter at 29th Ave S and the Midtown Greenway. This diverter is expected to be constructed in spring or summer 2018.
Public Works staff are currently identifying funding sources for the project and are further developing the engineering design of the closure medians.
At the January 31st City Council Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting Public Works staff presented permanent treatment concepts for 29th Ave S at the Midtown Greenway. The staff recommendation was a full closure to vehicular traffic along 29th Ave S at the Midtown Greenway. This treatment concept involves a constructed, raised barrier that allows for emergency vehicles to maneuver through the closure if necessary. A space for bicyclists to pass through the barrier would allow continued access for those users. The concept also proposes signage changes along 30th Ave S to mitigate the increased volume of traffic recorded at that Greenway crossing. This includes new stop signage at the intersection of 30th Ave S and 27th St E, just north of the Greenway. Funding has not yet been identified for these improvements, and a timeline for implementation has not been set.
More information can be found on the City Council webpage at this link.
Federal funding was recently awarded for bicycle boulevard improvements along 29th Ave S and 24th St E. See project page for more details. Discussion surrounding the Greenway crossing at 29th Ave S will be incorporated into community engagement regarding the bicycle boulevards. This community engagement will be begin May 2016.
The closure was kept in place this fall in order to conduct vehicle counts while school is in session. Those counts are now complete. Continued outreach with neighborhood residents and businesses is expected later this fall, as many residents are requesting that the closure remain in place.
Feedback has been mostly supportive, with 72% positive comments vs. 25% negative comments and 3% neutral out of 331 total comments received. Traffic reduction adjacent to the school was 13%, lower than expected. However, many residents reported a perception of safer conditions and decreased traffic due to the closure.
The primary benefit of the closure was observed for Greenway users. An estimated 2,740 people use the Greenway at 29th Ave S daily, based on peak hour counts. This number includes bicyclists and pedestrians. This compares to 972 vehicles using 29th Ave S just north of the Greenway before the closure was put in place. Eliminating conflicts along the Greenway was one of the intended benefits of the test closure. The test eliminated one of the five surface crossings trail users must navigate on this portion of the Greenway.
Many of the negative comments received centered around access between Franklin and Riverside Avenues and Lake Street. Portions of 31st Ave S and 30th Ave S received higher levels of vehicle traffic after the closure was in place. There were safety concerns at the Greenway and 30th Ave S, due to the additional traffic along 30th Ave S and its sharp hill crest at the Greenway. There was an increase in traffic of 30% (a net gain of 132 vehicles per day) on 30th Ave S just north of the Greenway. Another concern was delivery access to businesses just south of the Greenway.
Last updated Apr 26, 2018