Safety analysis being completed on Wooddale

The next step for the advisory bike lanes on Wooddale Avenue is a safety study.

Transit for Liveable Communities has asked Edina to collect data in terms of the number of bikes, vehicles, accidents and pedestrians to present to TLC, City Manager Scott Neal said. City staff and TLC will then use the data to discuss whether to change the advisory bike lanes on Wooddale Avenue.

Neal pointed out the Edina City Council has jurisdiction over the bike lanes. It decided to accept the grant that paid for the bike lanes and it can reverse that decision.

However, the council doesn’t want to do that at this time, both Neal and Mayor Jim Hovland said.

Neal said it’s fair to say that if the city takes out the bike lanes that were paid for with a federal grant, the city would have to repay the grant.

Hilary Reeves, communications director at TLC, confirmed that the Federal Highway Administration requires the grant to be repaid if the city doesn’t keep the bike lanes.

The city paid for the bike lanes upfront and is being reimbursed for the lanes with the $250,000 grant, Hovland said.

The bike lanes in Edina are under the jurisdiction of the Edina City Council. Now that the bike lanes have been created, the role of the TLC, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration is to ensure the completed project is what was proposed for the grant, Reeves said.

Hovland reiterated that if the data shows there are unsafe driving conditions on Wooddale, changes will be made to the road.

He also put the bike lanes into perspective: Edina added 10 miles of bike lanes in the city this fall, yet only eight-tenths of a mile is causing problems.

The first step of the process is having the bike lanes on the roads long enough to collect data, he said.

Hovland and Steve Clark of TLC held a meeting with property owners on Wooddale on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Three issues were raised during the meeting. Hovland said he was pleased with the meeting and residents provided good information on their observations.

In terms of speeding on the road, the speed limit on Wooddale could be reduced to 25 miles per hour, but that would take the city council approving a resolution and possibly an ordinance, Hovland said.

The property owners also feel there are too many signs posted along the road about the bike routes, amounting to “sign pollution,” Hovland said.

The concern of safety on Wooddale was also raised.

The amount of emails to the city regarding the bike lanes is starting to decrease, Hovland said. He said he’s hearing that people are getting used to the bike lanes on Wooddale, but he still worries the road isn’t as safe as it should be.

Hovland said he likes the temporary tabs and hopes the TLC will agree after the data is researched that a centerline needs to be added to Wooddale.

Painting a centerline on the road will require a variance from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

So far, four accidents have occurred on Wooddale and two of those four were related to the bike lanes.

Hovland concluded, “I’m looking forward to getting that safety analysis.”