After a hit and run hit in January that exposed security concerns along part of France Avenue in Edina, a gang repair project is slated to begin this summer.
Approved by Edina City Council last month, the project will add a left turn lane to the county road between 55th Street West and Route 62 while eliminating street parking on most of the segment.
“The residents’ historic concern was that cars were passing through the parking lanes,” Edina engineering director Chad Millner told council.
The problematic scheme involved drivers getting impatient while waiting for the vehicles ahead to turn left. Instead of waiting, drivers used the parking lane to bypass temporary obstacles. The data collected by the county showed that this scenario happened more than 100 times in a single day.
According to Millner, the city of Edina and the county of Hennepin started working on a safety solution after a high school student Edina was hit in the parking lot on Avenue France while he was trying to climb aboard a school bus near the crossroads on Halifax Avenue. The student was hospitalized and released the same day without serious injury.
The driver fled the scene and was arrested on March 13 in Michigan. Passengers of the second degree assault before the Hennepin County District Court, passengers of the Chevy Malibu said that the collision appeared to be intentional as the driver accelerated beyond 60 miles per hour through the lane. parking lot, aimed at the victim.
The new configuration will keep the two lanes of traffic while adding a center lane on the left in both directions and replacing the 10-foot parking lanes with 5-foot shoulders, where parking will be prohibited.
However, there are two exceptions to the parking restrictions. Parking will be permitted between 54th Street and 55th Street, without consideration for adjacent condominiums, and along Adeth Yesherun Cemetery, 5605 Avenue France, where street parking is used during funerals.
A two-week study found that the parking lanes between Highway 62 and 55th Street on Avenue France were underused, with an average usage rate of 2% across most of the corridor.
The configuration was approved without controversy among board members. “I applaud the county and I applaud our staff for working on it to create a safer situation there,” said Mayor Jim Hovland.
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