City Staff Seeking Variance to Paint Centerline on Wooddale Avenue
The Edina City Council directed staff to speak with MnDOT about the possibility of installing a centerline on the roadway, though that doesn't necessarily mean the city would install one.
The Edina City Council moved this week to look into the possibility of installing a centerline on Wooddale Avenue, directing city staff to contact the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to seek a variance for between 50th Street and Valley View Drive.
Council member Ann Swenson suggested opening conversation with MnDOT about permission to install a yellow centerline, as she said she would like to "know if it's an option in our toolbox."
"My experience is that the behavior going south hasn't changed," Swenson said. "And that the majority of drivers that I follow … are not in the right place—they're in the center. It's still scary. I'd at least like to know if it's an option."
The City Council unanimously approved Swenson's suggestion, clarifying it was simply to see whether or not it would be possible to install the centerline and not necessarily agreeing to paint one on the roadway.
Council member Joni Bennett said she didn't want to suddenly paint a centerline on the roadway, as the previous decision to install advisory bike lanes on Wooddale was made "deliberately and carefully."
"I know that not all in the community share that view, but I know that we were listening to residents, that we were observing the conditions as they existed before any paint went down and what we chose at the time looked like the best solution," Bennett said. "Now to put down something when we don't know what the impact of that would be, I'm not sure that's going to help the confusion at all."
Swenson said she was not asking to paint anything on Wooddale, but rather wanted to look into the option of doing so.
"I want it as a choice," Swenson said. "I just need to know, is it going to be allowed or not under the current configuration. I'm not telling you that we have to do it once we have the option that we can do it, I just need to have it as a tool when we have that discussion."
Local residents have been fairly vocal in opposition to Wooddale Avenue's current design, which has only advisory bike lanes and no clear centerline.
In a recent letter to City Council members, Edina resident Jack Mertes said he has "never seek a bike rider on Wooddale the last 30 times I drove down [it]."
"I would think the LEAST the Council could do was to have included a YELLOW line down the middle," Mertes wrote. "Now when I drive down Wooddale at night I drive about 5 miles an hour when another car is approaching me while I try to figure out how much space I have."