Richfield - General Topics - 66th Street

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Richfield - General Topics - 66th Street

Postby sdho » September 30th, 2014, 9:30 am

Richfield and Hennepin County are reconstructing 66th Street from Xerxes Avenue (Edina border) to 16th Avenue (between Bloomington and Cedar). Four blocks outside the Minneapolis border, 66th Street is the longest east-west city street and only major east-west transit corridor south of Lake Street. At a similar project length and scale, this is in many ways as significant as the Lake Street reconstruction 10 years ago.

The good news is that things are looking great for the segment between 35W and Cedar. Most of that segment will be reduced to one lane in either direction, and the entire segment will have raised, one-way cycletracks. There will be landscaped boulevards and possibly landscaped medians. East of Veterans Park, some on-street parking will be included as well. You can provide feedback on this segment here: http://richfieldconnect.mindmixer.com/t ... ast-of-35w

West of 35W (to Xerxes), things are a bit hairier. Between 35W and Penn, homes are very close to the existing street. Hennepin County doesn't want to budge on lanes, and Richfield doesn't want to acquire the homes. Between Penn and Xerxes, there is no threat to the homes, but the homeowners in that area have been so reluctant to give up even a few feet of lawn, it's looking unlikely that bike lanes or cycletracks will be put there either. You can provide feedback on this segment here: http://richfieldconnect.mindmixer.com/t ... est-of-35w

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mister.shoes » September 30th, 2014, 10:13 am

Living in S MPLS and working in Edina (me) and Eagan (mrs.shoes), we spend a lot of time on 66th—and it's only going to increase when baby.shoes goes off to daycare at a place on that street. I find it very useful, though rarely jam-packed with cars. The segment west of 35W is obviously the far more busy segment. East of 35W a single lane in either direction seems entirely appropriate, even west of Nicollet (IMO). I am very heartened to see the changes east of Nicollet and look forward to a much more pleasant street when that's done.

I am curious as to why (other than "we just did all that work a few years ago") the block on either side of the roundabout at Portland needs to remain two lanes. I suspect the answer (other than my parenthetical above) is something along the lines of "queueing space for people waiting to go through the roundabout." But if the roundabout were to be a single lane, it would be far easier to get in and out, as the current two lane roundabout requires yielding to both lanes of traffic—a very harrowing experience given how fast people drive through it.
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mister.shoes » September 30th, 2014, 10:16 am

Speaking of roundabouts, I love the idea of replacing the lights at Nicollet and Lyndale and either side of 35W with three (really four) roundabouts.
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mattaudio » September 30th, 2014, 10:23 am

Portland/66th should be a single lane roundabout. They could probably do this by enlarging the porkchops and the center circle, without messing with any outside curb/gutter.

Yet when I was at an open house, talking with an engineer, they were adamant that 62>Portland>66th Street>77 had to be a reliever to the 62/77 interchange. Which is ridiculous.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » September 30th, 2014, 10:31 am

mister.shoes wrote:I am curious as to why (other than "we just did all that work a few years ago") the block on either side of the roundabout at Portland needs to remain two lanes. I suspect the answer (other than my parenthetical above) is something along the lines of "queueing space for people waiting to go through the roundabout." But if the roundabout were to be a single lane, it would be far easier to get in and out, as the current two lane roundabout requires yielding to both lanes of traffic—a very harrowing experience given how fast people drive through it.
Remember, although the project is an opportunity to reinvision the corridor, the actually driving force (pun intended) is the failing street and sidewalks. That driving force doesn't exist from ~5th Ave to Park, where the street is newly constructed, or east of 16th Ave. In the Lake Street project, there was a similar gap area around Hiawatha Avenue, where it had already been recently redone.

I do agree with your feedback on the roundabout, though. The city also does not have a clear idea of how to get the cycletrack through the roundabout. The current idea is to convert to an on-street bike lane, then offer a ramp to the sidewalk, or merge into the vehicular space through the roundabout -- basically going to standard bike lane treatment, but this means at least 3 transitions to get through this one intersection.

If that's the best they can do, I sure don't want to see any additional roundabouts!

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby Tcmetro » September 30th, 2014, 10:32 am

I have a few thoughts as well:

- I like the idea of the on-street parking in the 12th Av-Bloomington area. Perhaps it will make the area more attractive for more traditional low-rise commercial developments.

- I think the addition of the medians between Columbus and 11th will work against calming the street. The segment feels low traffic enough to allow left turns from WB 66th to all the SB streets, and the opposite movement as well.

- 66th should be narrowed to one through lane at the roundabout at Portland. One lane would be for right turns, and the other would be for going through and turning left.

- I am not in favor of the roundabout option at Nicollet. The signalized crosswalks are, IMO, better for the amount of pedestrians moving through the intersection. Additionally, I think the geometries of the standard intersection are more friendly to potential redevelopment fronting the street.

- Potential to slim 66th down to one lane from Nicollet to Lyndale, with dedicated left and right turn lanes where needed.

- Not in favor of roundabouts at Lyndale or 35W because of the issues for pedestrians transferring between the 515 and the 4 and the Orange Line.

- Need to make 35W intersection more pedestrian friendly in anticipation of the Orange Line BRT.

EDIT: Annnnnd, it looks like co-lumbus is a banned word on the forum...

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » September 30th, 2014, 10:41 am

Tcmetro wrote:I think the addition of the medians between Schmalumbus and 11th will work against calming the street. The segment feels low traffic enough to allow left turns from WB 66th to all the SB streets, and the opposite movement as well.
I'd like to hear more about your thoughts on the medians -- because I'm actually hoping to see medians for more of the length. Since neither Hennepin County nor Richfield are fond of two-lane segments (where people make left turns from the only through lane), the alternative would probably be an open center turn lane -- like on Portland Avenue today.

The trouble with that it that it doesn't provide any refuge for pedestrians crossing (which is important through the whole corridor, but especially to access the park). It also means that instead of grass and trees in the middle, you just have more asphalt. To a motorist, you have a wide-open expanse of ~37 feet of asphalt curb-to-curb (3x 11 ft lanes plus "curb reaction distance) rather than less than half that amount with a median.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby Tcmetro » September 30th, 2014, 11:14 am

Perhaps the medians don't need to be completely removed, but I think that perhaps a short left turn lane (50 ft. or so) should be included for neighborhood access. Certainly, a crosswalk with a refuge could be accommodated on the west side at these intersections.

Perhaps similar short medians that still provide access could be added on the Nicollet-Portland segment as well.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mattaudio » September 30th, 2014, 11:19 am

Seems like the beauty of having T intersections and no grid between Portland and 11th is that you could have short LTLs westbound on 66th, with medians on the rest of it. This would provide refuge for people crossing to Veterans Park on the west side of the intersection.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mister.shoes » September 30th, 2014, 11:26 am

Why is the left turn lane from WB 66th to Elliot twice as long as the one from EB 66th to 11th?

Edit: Oh wait, I see now that there's an apartment on 10th that needs its curb cut. Too bad access for that building can't be through the parking lot for the one on Elliot.
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » September 30th, 2014, 11:30 am

Tcmetro wrote:Perhaps the medians don't need to be completely removed, but I think that perhaps a short left turn lane (50 ft. or so) should be included for neighborhood access. Certainly, a crosswalk with a refuge could be accommodated on the west side at these intersections.

Perhaps similar short medians that still provide access could be added on the Nicollet-Portland segment as well.
That's basically what was done on Lyndale between 31st and 38th, and it seems to work well there. At Veterans Park, what you propose might work. But, say, between Nicollet-Portland, it's a bit harder. The trouble is that east-west blocks are much shorter -- with even 50' turn lanes (plus throat), 50% or more of the median space is lost to turn lanes. It makes it more like islands in the street, and less like a continuous median.

Where there is a need to turn both north and south, of course, we also can't do a full refuge, since both sides would have left-turn lanes. I think the best compromise is probably doing left-turn lanes/median cuts every other block.

EDIT: I wouldn't read too much into the details of the current median. I'm told they just threw it in to start discussion of where we want medians. Many options on the table.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mattaudio » September 30th, 2014, 11:32 am

Or we could do a full refuge at every other block, with RIRO access to the sidestreet. This works just fine on bike blvds in Minneapolis.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » November 7th, 2014, 3:37 pm

The Richfield Transportation Commission voted on Wednesday to support the full cycletrack design between Oliver and 35W (as well as the already-approved cycletrack from 35W to Richfield Pkwy. This will go to another public meeting next week (Thursday, 4-7p, Woodlake Nature Center), and will have to be approved by the council as well.

Doing this means removing the 18 homes, so naturally there was resistance in the audience. Homeowners were present, although nobody spoke who was directly affected. At least one woman present -- who didn't speak -- did live in one of the 18 homes, but mostly they were people from nearby in the neighborhood, or who live directly on the section west of Penn, where no homes will be taken. I felt some of the points made -- the personal connection, the delicate balance of a neighborhood -- but there seemed to be a lot of anti-tax, anti-spending, and anti-bike rhetoric mixed into it. Regardless, the commission seemed to value public mobility and safety over the 18 homes.

In deference to the neighborhood, though, they won't extend the cycletrack all the way to the project limits at Xerxes. Even though the new street in that section will take up the exact same amount of space and homeowners will get 6' of green boulevard space, free, already planted for them, and they won't pay any assessment for brand new street, sidewalk, curbs, lighting, and landscaping, they still seem disgruntled about the project.

The Commission also approved bringing new roundabouts for public feedback. Staff recommend roundabouts at 35W (dumbbell interchange), Lyndale, and Nicollet.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby seanrichardryan » November 7th, 2014, 3:52 pm

Are there maps posted somewhere?
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » November 7th, 2014, 3:55 pm

seanrichardryan wrote:Are there maps posted somewhere?
Best resource is here: http://richfieldsweetstreets.org/66thst ... nstruction. You can see the recommended layout east of 35W, and the possible layouts to the west. Again the recommended layouts are 4B Penn-35W and Minimum Impact Xerxes-Penn.

Note that a lot of the details -- like junction design, cycletrack layout at junctions, and median placement -- are just thrown in there for now. Much is still to be determined.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mister.shoes » November 7th, 2014, 4:01 pm

sdho wrote:Doing this means removing the 18 homes...
Previous to today, I hadn't gotten around to looking at which homes were going away. Now I see that it's the entire south side of 66th. I've always wondered what the story was behind this one with the Bavarian style. I see now that it was built in 1975, meaning that "charm" is likely tacky at best. Huh. Learned something new today.
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » November 7th, 2014, 4:08 pm

mister.shoes wrote:Previous to today, I hadn't gotten around to looking at which homes were going away. Now I see that it's the entire south side of 66th. I've always wondered what the story was behind this one with the Bavarian style. I see now that it was built in 1975, meaning that "charm" is likely tacky at best. Huh. Learned something new today.
Apparently it was built by a Vikings player -- and, yes, in 1975. I actually love this thing, it's a cool landmark, if not exactly my taste.

The silver lining of its removal would be that the park behind it will actually be visible from 66th, which will make it more accessible and civic-feeling. Currently, you'd never go back there unless you knew it was there (down that asphalt path that could just as easily be a driveway or alley).

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mister.shoes » November 7th, 2014, 9:18 pm

sdho wrote:I actually love this thing, it's a cool landmark, if not exactly my taste.
Ditto! It's impossible to miss when driving that street. At first glance, it makes one think that it's *got* to be one of the oldest houses in Richfield. Then upon closer inspection, one realizes that there's no way a house with 2+ garage stalls would be more than a few decades old (the third stall is obviously an addition). And as odd as the Bavarian style is on that place, someone clearly had a real passion for it and was willing to spend a lot of money for trimmings like those. The checkerboard pattern on the turret-shaped entry is my favorite part.
sdho wrote:The silver lining of its removal would be that the park behind it will actually be visible from 66th, which will make it more accessible and civic-feeling. Currently, you'd never go back there unless you knew it was there (down that asphalt path that could just as easily be a driveway or alley).
The only reason I knew of that park was because we have friends who used to live on the 6900 block of James Ave. I didn't even bother looking up directions the first time we went to visit, figuring the street grid would be my friend. Got denied on James and confused on Knox, but we made it eventually!
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » November 7th, 2014, 11:24 pm

mister.shoes wrote:At first glance, it makes one think that it's *got* to be one of the oldest houses in Richfield.
I'm digressing, but for truer old house gazing, I assume you've been around the Oak Grove subdivision? I swear the 20s was like the best time for single-family residential development, judging by Oak Grove, Country Club District in Edina, and Tangletown in Minneapolis. Pleasant scale, beautiful structure, tree-lined, windy streets. One home -- not the oldest, but arguably the most spectacular historic home in Richfield -- is from 1858 and backs onto Woodlake: https://www.google.com/maps/@44.8730577 ... 21dhUA!2e0. The rest of the neighbors are mostly from the 20s, with a few postwar additions filling gaps.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby ztr421 » November 10th, 2014, 11:14 am

mister.shoes wrote:
Previous to today, I hadn't gotten around to looking at which homes were going away. Now I see that it's the entire south side of 66th. I've always wondered what the story was behind this one with the Bavarian style. I see now that it was built in 1975, meaning that "charm" is likely tacky at best. Huh. Learned something new today.
I grew up in Richfield and we took 66th Street between my parent's house and grandparent's house on a regular basis, and I remember watching as this house was built - and it was sort of crazy. The house was rebuilt at least two times before settling on this final structure. It would get pretty far along each time before they apparently grew to dislike the design, then they'd tear it down and start from scratch.


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