France Avenue at W 108th Street

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Consultation has concluded

Engineering staff are developing a traffic safety improvement plan to address concerns identified at the school crossing at France Avenue and W 108th Street. If approved, these crosswalk safety improvements, and the associated striping changes on France Avenue, will be constructed as part of the 2021 Pavement Management Program Reconstruction project on W 108th Street this summer. The 2021 PMP Reconstruction Project already includes constructing sidewalk on the northside of 108th Street between 108 Place Apartments and France Avenue.


Project Background and Goals

Concerns about pedestrian crossing safety at this location were brought up to City Staff during the 108

Engineering staff are developing a traffic safety improvement plan to address concerns identified at the school crossing at France Avenue and W 108th Street. If approved, these crosswalk safety improvements, and the associated striping changes on France Avenue, will be constructed as part of the 2021 Pavement Management Program Reconstruction project on W 108th Street this summer. The 2021 PMP Reconstruction Project already includes constructing sidewalk on the northside of 108th Street between 108 Place Apartments and France Avenue.


Project Background and Goals

Concerns about pedestrian crossing safety at this location were brought up to City Staff during the 108th Street PMP public meeting and survey. Similar comments about this location were brought up in the past year by school parents and by School District representatives. Given these identified resident concerns and the ability to include this type of work in the 108th Street reconstruct project, crosswalk safety enhancement concept options were prepared and reviewed.


Existing Conditions

France Avenue south of the Old Shakopee Road is a Bloomington collector street that goes from 4-lanes with turn lanes in the commercial area north of 108th Street to 4-lanes, undivided, to one lane in each direction as it approaches W 110th Street.

While traffic data was not collected in 2020 during the COVID influenced traffic changes, historic traffic volume was available. The traffic volumes on this segment of France Avenue range from 6,600 vehicles per day (vpd) on the north end (near the commercial and apartment driveways) to 3,900 vpd between 108th and 110th Streets to 1,100 vpd south of 110th Street.

No pedestrian counts have been gathered for this crossing location because the initial concern was identified in the winter and since that time COVID has impacted the normal pedestrian activities in the area. However, we are aware that approximately 30 students live within the walking boundary of Westwood Elementary, west of France Avenue.Intersection of two streetsLighting, Marking and Signage Upgrades

The main safety concern for students crossing at this location is that pedestrians are crossing the uncontrolled leg of the intersection, across France Avenue, and have to cross 4-lanes of traffic. Other issues that were identified and addressed with interim site modifications were related to signage, crosswalk markings and lighting:

  • There was a concern that there wasn't adequate warning to drivers to expect pedestrians on the east leg of the intersection, across W 108th Street closer to the school, so crosswalk markings were added on this leg of the intersection in 2020.
  • There was also a concern of inadequate lighting at the intersection to be able to see pedestrians in the area, in the morning when students are walking to school and in 2020 the City worked with Xcel to relocate the overhead street lighting and to add a second overhead light arm, with both repositioned to be aimed over the top of the two pedestrian crossing maneuvers.

The remaining issue to address is to improve pedestrian safety at the crossing of France Avenue on the north leg of the intersection.


Recommendation

Many options for crosswalk enhancement were considered at this location including signage, pedestrian refuge islands and the south leg of the intersection. Based on the drainage, sidewalk network, traffic, pedestrian and other conditions at this location, the recommended treatment is to shorten the pedestrian crossing distance and vehicle exposure and improve visibility to drivers through the use of curb bumps outs or curb extensions on both sides of France Avenue.

School Crossing/Crosswalk on France Avenue at W 108th Street

To improve pedestrian safety at the school crossing on the north leg of France Avenue at W 108th Street, we propose to improve pedestrian visibility and reduce the pedestrian exposure to vehicles. To do this, the project will shorten the crosswalk by constructing curb-bump outs or curb extensions on each side of France Avenue. School Crossing signage will be placed back-to-back on both sides of the roadway in the curb bump out, improving visibility of the crossing and informing drivers of the anticipated pedestrian crossing activity.

The safety benefits of this type of crosswalk enhancement are:

  • Reducing the number of lanes of traffic that pedestrians have to cross to a single lane in each direction - eliminates the multiple-threat crash;
  • Shortening the pedestrian crossing distance and reduces exposure to vehicles with the curb bump-outs;
  • Improving the visibility of pedestrians to the motorists by putting the pedestrians and crosswalk signs away from the boulevard and closer to the vehicle through lane and driver line of sight.

Proposed - Facing East

Proposed - Facing North

France Avenue Lane Configuration/Striping Changes


In order to construct the curb bump-outs for the pedestrian crosswalk, the striping configuration on France Avenue would need to be reduced from the existing 4-lane undivided roadway to a 2-lane with shoulder cross section. The traffic volumes on France Avenue in this area would be adequately served with a 2-lane roadway.

The transition from a 4-lane to a 2-lane cross section would happen between the commercial driveways north of W 108th Street and W 108th Street. The lane merge would layout like this:

The roadway cross section between 108th Street and 110th Street would provide 2-14' through lanes and 2-8' shoulder lanes.

The benefits of a 2-lane roadway cross section include the following:

  • Shortens pedestrian crossing distances and the time that pedestrians are exposed to vehicle traffic;
  • Reduction of outlier speeders;
  • Dedicated shoulder space for bicyclists and bus stops;

The attached exhibit (links available on the right side of the project page, Project Exhibits) show the general concepts of the proposed 2-lane striping plans for France Avenue.


Schedule

Since this crosswalk enhancement and France Avenue striping changes are a new recommendation for the project in this area, the construction plans for this work were included in the 2021-101 PMP Reconstruct plans as an add-alternate element of the project when it went out for bid. This allowed the reconstruction project schedule to move forward without delay, while allowing time for Staff to expand the public outreach process and Council approval process for this added project element.

The public outreach for this proposed change includes:

  • Direct mail to affected area (approximately 750 parcels);
  • Sharing of proposed project information and the resident survey below;
  • Planning Commission meeting (May 13, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.) with opportunity for public comment on the item; and
  • City Council agenda item (May 24, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.) requesting approval with opportunity for public comment.

If the crosswalk and striping changes are approved by Council after this process, they will be included in the project at the time of award or by June 8, 2021.


City Council Results

At the May 24, 2021 City Council meeting the City Council approved Item 7.3 Safe Routes to School - Proposed Crosswalk Safety Enhancements and France Avenue striping changes. With this approval, the curb bump outs on the north side of the intersection of France Avenue at 108th Street will be added to the 2021-202 PMP Reconstruction Project and the striping changes on France Avenue will be completed in coordination with the PMP project.


Follow-up Analysis

Lastly, an all-way stop analysis will be completed in Fall of 2021 (post-construction and when COVID impacts to traffic volumes have continued to decline) to determine if warrants (rules and guidance for stop sign installation) are met to install an all-way stop at this intersection. If the warrants are met, an all-way stop control will be added to the intersection.


  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    As a resident and roadway user in this area, please take the time to answer the following questions to share your comments on your multimodal traffic concerns in the area and to provide feedback on the proposed roadway changes to address the known concerns.  

    Consultation has concluded
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