Traffic & Public Safety
Three Things to Know
A 33% population increase would logically add more traffic and congestion to our roads, but the 2018 Comp Plan traffic data suggests only a few hundred added trips per day down some of our most congested corridors. Are our leaders ignoring 5 o’clock traffic realities to justify housing for their planned population?
Other “neighborhood nodes” have or will experience the city’s indifference to obvious traffic and land use conflicts.
The most effective way to scale down traffic, is to scale back population growth. Yes, walking, biking and mass transit can help — but at the planned growth rates, thousands of people will have to change their behavior for congestion to be meaningfully reduced. And hoping people change their habits isn’t good public policy.
Traffic is bad. We’ve got news for you, it’s not going to get any better. Edina leadership’s plan for 33% more people and 44% more housing in areas already challenged by “congested, deficient roadways” is irresponsible and in direct conflict with the Met Council’s mandate to plan for growth in such a way as to balance transit and land use plans. Our emergency responders understand the traffic issues that exist today and the challenges that lie ahead.
What is “congestion”?
Congestion on the roadway system is judged to exist when the traffic volume exceeds the roadway capacity in a manner that minimizes conflict with the surrounding land uses.
Source: MN Department of Transportation
50th + France
By current standards 50th + France is Edina’s most congested roadway. Edina’s Land Use plan for 50th + France conveniently ignores its own traffic data to justify more density in this area. This callous disregard for process and zoning impacts the quality of life and property values for all residents of this historic district.
If you live in Edina, then you’ve probably sat in a lineup along 50th Street around rush hour. Imagine a fire truck or an ambulance trying to reach someone in need at this time of day. Police and fire response times are the slowest in Northeast Edina. There isn’t much to address this in the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. See response times for your neighborhood.
Remember the 33% increase in population that we’ve mentioned a few times? How can they honestly project 300 additional trips per day from Wooddale to Halifax with a population increase of 12,000 people?
At the 50th & France SAP approval meeting, the mayor dismissed the guidance of the SAP’s consultant, Biko & Associates, about expected daily traffic from future development. Applying the Biko guidance to the new Nolan Mains project generates 3,900 new trips. Mayor Hovland decided the Nolan Mains report from SRF Consultants had better numbers suggesting a 2,400 new trips. We think he missed the point. It and all future developments will only aggravate the problem.
Wishful thinking, or intentional omission? We’ll let you decide.
Edina disregards the traffic data.
50th + France is a perfect example of how City Leadership and Staff blatantly omit or disregard important data to justify developments, growth and density, all of which negatively impact Edina residents in the surrounding neighborhoods as well as the Minneapolis and St. Louis Park commuters.
Unfortunately for City Leadership, this is in direct conflict with its Met Council Comprehensive Plan obligation to manage these conflicts, and plan for a functioning city.
It’s an inconvenient truth – there is no solution other than scaling down the 2018 Comprehensive Plan.
Here’s another doozy.
Quality of life consequences:
Fire & Safety response time increases
See the emergency response times for your neighborhood.
Cut through traffic.
MNDOT feels this is an acceptable method. Do the neighbors? Remember, this is our Comprehensive Plan. How do we want to see the community grow and change?
Negative impact on neighboring property values.
Is it any surprise a Townes Road extension was being considered at the City?
15 minutes to get through 50th + France each day, or taking a longer, roundabout route is not environmentally friendly.
Fire + Police departments are concerned.
The Infrastructure & Services Chapter of the Plan was the most honest and straightforward. Both the police and fire departments recognized the expense and challenge of scaling services to meet a very different landscape.
Police & Fire Department section excerpts:
“the city’s population density has increased which has caused heavier traffic patterns”
“the increased response times are a result of higher officer call loads. Our staffing levels haven’t changed in decades.”
“Projected increases in multiple occupancy housing and population are anticipated to result in an increase in calls for service”.
“A staffing study in 2016 recommends increasing patrol levels by seven officers by 2019 to stay with Edina’s high level of productivity and quality service.”
“With projected population increases, three major highways and a lack of capacity on our roads, congestion and cut-through traffic will continue to be problematic.”
Response time from our fire and emergency response personnel range from less than 2 minutes to 14 minutes or more. In terms of response time the most challenging area of the city is northeast Edina, north of 50th Street.