By Barb Thoman, Executive Director
Enjoying a more pedestrian-friendly Victory neighborhood. Photo credit: Val Escher.
A complex intersection in the Victory neighborhood in North Minneapolis has a safer, more community-oriented design. The new design was aided by a planning grant Transit for Livable Communities awarded back in 2011 through the federal Bike Walk Twin Cities program we administered.
Long-awaited pedestrian improvements at Penn Avenue North, Osseo Road, and 44th Avenue were the focus of a community celebration last month. New bike lanes on Osseo Road were added just a couple of weeks later. The center of the neighborhood is where these three roads come together. Victory 44 coffee shop and kitchen is there, along with The Warren art gallery.
Community members came out to celebrate a walkable intersection years in the making. Photo credits: Val Escher.
Previously, the double intersection and the diagonal nature of Osseo Road formed “a complex geometry,” to quote one planning study. Residents who wanted to get to businesses found it “unwelcome for walking,” with poorly marked or missing crossings, complicated traffic signals, and missing sidewalk segments. Pedestrians were actually prohibited from crossing the street in several important places, reducing access to an area with potential as an economic hub.
The intersection, before recent improvements.
For years, the Victory Neighborhood Association pushed for a solution to the complicated intersection. Various options had been under consideration since 2008. Local residents and business owners called for a redesign that worked better for people walking and for bus riders, bicyclists, and motorists. Community members also wanted an easier connection to the Grand Rounds trail, which is just a block north of the intersection. The Hennepin County Bicycle Plan included a bike route on Osseo and Penn.
At a 2012 community meeting, residents brought shovels to signify that they were serious about turning improvement plans into reality on the ground.
The intersection, after recent improvements! Photo credits: Val Escher.
New bike lanes on Osseo Road also were added a couple weeks after the community celebration. Thanks to TLC members Val Escher and Peter Bretl for attending, trying out the new infrastructure, and reporting back! Photo credit: Peter Bretl.
Today, with support from the community and funding provided by Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis, Osseo Road is safer for all users. It has dropped from two travel lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction (a design treatment called a 4-3 conversion). The stop light at Osseo and 44th has been removed and bike lanes and a pedestrian median have been added. Now, a person crossing the street has to deal with only one lane of traffic in each direction. Other pedestrian improvements include:
• Reconstructed pedestrian ramps at all corners of the intersection.
• New bump-outs at corners to shorten street crossings.
• Improved street lighting.
• More visible crosswalk markings.
Thanks to the City of Minneapolis for taking the lead on implementing this valuable project. Congratulations to the Victory neighborhood and to everyone who will safely bike, walk, and drive this much-improved intersection going forward.