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Sunday November 19th 2017

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The Intra-Neighborhood Freeways: How about Traffic Calming Initiatives?

By Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Improvement Association

26th & 28th Street have increasingly multiplied their traffic count over the past 10 years.

Cars speed through so fast, no one in the neighborhood can get across these streets anymore by car, by bike, or by foot. There are periods during the day where those streets are impassible going north to south. Additionally, the amount of pollution stirred up is unbearable. Dirt collects on the siding of houses within 1/2 block of 26th & 28th, blackening siding and causing it to be frequently washed. So, with that amount of collection visible on the siding of houses……what is happening to our lungs??

As Wells Fargo, Childrens’ Hospital, and Allina have continued to grow, the amount of traffic going thru our neighborhood has also continued to grow.

We need the traffic calmed, we need public realm improvements to enhance the pedestrian and biking experience, and most importantly, we need to encourage workers coming into our community to think about transit and car sharing, to think about our health, to think about our community safety.

Recently, Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association, Inc. wrote a grant to the City of Minneapolis with Traffic Calming as its #1 priority.

Here is the language, in part, from that grant:

Neighborhood Priority Plans will develop through grass-root outreach and organizing and partnership projects. We hope that our 1st Neighborhood Priority Plan will be around Traffic Calming on 26th and 28th Streets.

Midtown Phillips will continue to explore Traffic Calming Initiatives on 26th St. and 28th Street which may include, but not be limited to a planning team membership of Minneapolis Bike & Pedestrian planner Shaun Murphy (confirmed), Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association, adjacent block clubs (confirmed), Minneapolis Park & Recreation Department (confirmed), Phillips Partnerships, Allina/Abbott Foundation, Organizations and Faith-Based partners (recruiting), and Hennepin County.

The 11th Ave. Block Club has been concerned about the speed of cars on east 26th by Stewart Park. Block clubs along 28th Street have expressed the same concern both with students from St. Paul’s Lutheran (on 15th Ave.)and Seniors from St. Paul’s Housing needing to cross east 28th street. We would like to work with the City and other partners to create Traffic Calming initiatives which may include a crosswalk by Stewart Park across 26th street, lower speed limit, “pedestrians crossing” flashing light with arm & signing across 26th, and a change in the timing of existing stop lights. We need to have signage indicating that there is a School and Playground Area ahead. Maybe even a bike lane along 11th or 12th Avenues complete with the safety and signage issues that come with this.

These neighborhoods concerns stem from a tragic incident on Sept. 30,2012. A child from Midtown Phillips, a 4-year old boy named Jose Manuel Rodriguez was attending a soccer game with family and friends. The little boy ran out into traffic on East 26th Street, chasing after a ball and was struck by a car. Tragically, he died the following day. A walking vigil was held on Sunday, October 14th, 2012 and many potential partners attended. Park Commissioner Annie Young pledged her support. City of Minneapolis Biking/Pedestrian planner, Shaun Murphy was also in attendance and pledged his support. Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin will also partner on our efforts. Community residents have expressed their desire to unite as a community and create, as a tribute to the Rodriguez family, traffic calming improvements, in memory of their little 4-year old boy, Jose Manuel.

Pedestrian Safety has risen as a community concern to date and we hope to explore a Pedestrian Crosswalk with green striping and flashing lights. Also suggested was to install an overhang green flashing light which would extend into the middle of the street, similar to the overhanging light mounted at the intersection of 27th and Chicago. Will you help? Will you drive slower? Will you talk with neighbors to solve our problem?

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