Bowman Resonds to Traffic Concerns

September 16, 2011 at 6:23 am 3 comments

Well, Crystal mayor ReNae Bowman was a guest columnist in the Sun Post this week where she responds to the slow commute around town.

Guest column: I can’t get there from here

I heard some complaints about excess traffic on Douglas Drive and want to let citizens know the City Council and the city of Crystal are aware of the very heavy traffic levels currently experienced on Douglas Drive, especially north of 42nd Avenue (as well as West Broadway, which at this time is another road with high volume traffic problems). You may wonder about this increase in traffic. Some blame it on the re-striping of Douglas Drive. The Council believes it is due to the high volume of road construction in our city.

Not only do we have the construction project on County Road 81 shutting down that road from Covallis to Bass Lake Road, but there is construction north of Bass Lake Road and west of West Broadway, which is also under construction all the way to New Hope, plus Brooklyn Park has its own construction on Bass Lake Road.

Really? Well then why are we doing both projects at once? The council CHOSE to go ahead with phase 11 and re-striping the roads knowing that the bridge was going to be out.  Who is responsible for that?

The construction has forced traffic into our neighborhoods making it difficult to get out of the driveway, not to mention attempting to cross some of these roads on foot. The good news is that road construction season is almost over for this year. County Road 81 is scheduled to reopen in mid-November and the construction north of Bass Lake Road and west of West Broadway will wrap up during the third week in October.

Yeah until the next project.  63rd and 81 is scheduled to be worked on next year as well as phase 12 in Crystal.  There are plans in the future to construct light rail, bus rapid transit, transit oriented development, regional trails on 81 so when is the break going to happen?

Crystal plans to study traffic levels on Douglas Drive. Traffic information is being gathered and will continue to be gathered during the next year to asses traffic on Crystal’s entire length of Douglas Drive. After all the data is in and analyzed we will know if increased traffic levels were due to the excess construction traffic re-routed to Douglas Drive. Perhaps the new road design and re-striping is having a negative impact on traffic flow but we won’t know that until the roads are reopened and the analysis complete.

We are going to analyze data?  Shouldn’t that have been done before these changes?  Now you are going to do a “study” at taxpayer expense and probably blame people opposed to the three lane roads for forcing this?  And who is going to analyze this data? The same people who made these poor decisions? And how much money do you want to bet that the result of their “study” will confirm what the council wants it to.

I ask citizens for their patience as the construction season comes to a close. We know people are frustrated and inconvenienced by these projects and for that we apologize, but it is the nature of road construction projects. It is comforting to know that we will have years of easier driving within the city limits as a result of our year of inconvenience.

One year?  Like we said, construction projects aren’t going anywhere and how about tying up Douglas, 36th, and Medicine Lake Road to re-stripe last year?  Don’t you think that made it hard to get around town?  One year?

Of course, that busy train will continue to toy with our patience but problems on the majority of local roads will likely resolve themselves as roads reopen and traffic is rerouted back to where it belongs.

ReNae Bowman is the mayor of Crystal.

Well, Mayor Bowman is either reading our blog and knows we are planning on coming to the council meeting on September 20 and wants to preempt us, or she’s getting so many complaints that she has to publicly comment.  We encourage you to show up at the council meeting THIS coming Tuesday at Crystal City Hall at 7PM and tell them what you think.  See you there!


Entry filed under: Crystal, Hennepin, Mayor, Transportation.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bill Charette  |  September 16, 2011 at 6:48 am

    They don’t have to do any studies. It’s as simple as this. You reduced the lane capacity by half. Maybe the Mayor should drive down Douglas from West Broadway to Hwy 55 during the morning jam that will occur during the first major snowstorm we get this winter. Then she will see the traffic first hand.

    • 2. Melanie  |  September 22, 2011 at 6:07 am

      First jam? I drive this every day. The traffic is manageable for three months of the year while school is out. The second school started again, traffic backed up. Add some drizzle earlier this week and it’s a disaster. Can’t wait for snow! At the town meeting before this change was initiated, Mayor Bowman told us they wanted to shrink Douglas to one lane to “slow down traffic”. She also said their goal was to push traffic from city streets back onto the already over-crowded highways. She also admitted the decision was made BEFORE the town hall meeting. Let’s be realistic here – this is not a productive use of Douglas Drive. What happened to representing the best interests of the taxpayers?

  • 3. wants2know  |  September 16, 2011 at 10:33 am

    There are so many inconsistencies in the Mayor’s commentary. I happen to have attended the Council meeting where the proposal to re-stripe 36th Ave was opened for public comment. There was no discussion of any other streets proposed for such change. It was stated that there was no outreach to people who live on Louisiana or streets adjacent to 36th even though they are seriously affected by changes in traffic circulation. There was discussion of setting up a future public meeting. I don’t know if that ever happened.

    Even allowing for increased traffic on Douglas Drive that doesn’t explain mid-morning backups due to trains passing that keep traffic on side streets waiting as much as ten minutes to turn right onto Douglas. This happens frequently. What is the traffic circulation volume that determines road classifications? Douglas Drive is designated a Minor Arterial road which is defined as being balanced between mobility and access. How does narrowing it to one lane of motorized traffic in each direction and removing all on-street parking from Medicine Lake Rd to West Broadway improve either of those definitions?

    As for an additional study, if the decision to re-stripe Douglas was based on historical statistics, why do we need to continue to study the situation? The Mayor seems to be seeking justification rather than solving the the very real daily problems her constituents are facing everyday.


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