Add a Traffic Light to Highway 55 Near Little Newtons in Plymouth, MN

Add a Traffic Light to Highway 55 Near Little Newtons in Plymouth, MN

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Maddy Hague started this petition to MNDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) Richard Davis, Public Engagement & Constituent Services Director and

Hello, my name is Maddy Hague. I live in Plymouth, Minnesota, in the neighborhood just south of Highway 55 by Little Newtons day care.

Since moving to the neighborhood roughly a year and a half ago with my family, I have become deeply concerned about the safety of the intersection at Highway 55 and 15th Avenue North. Highway 55 is divided in this area with no traffic light, making for a very dangerous situation, particularly around peak rush hour times. I see far too many accidents occur here, and, as a parent of two small children myself, I am always full of deep worry that there may be children in one or both of the involved cars when one takes place. 

The safety concerns at this intersection stems from a number of issues with the intersection itself:

  1. Ice tends to back up in the intersection on the upward slope near Little Newtons as well as in the middle part of the divided highway, making it harder to judge how long you'll actually need to safely cross the road with your car.
  2. Night conditions (without any street lights) make it impossible to correctly judge how much clearance you have before the next car comes when traffic. This issue is exacerbated in the winter, it is pitch black when traffic is at its peak.
  3. The lack of breaks in traffic that are safe to turn in or cross in lead to backups in the parking lot of the day care, as well as in the median turning area. The median turning area becomes a further hazard because the lanes end up getting packed with two or even three cars waiting in the middle to turn left onto Westbound 55, which creates a dangerous situation for cars on Eastbound 55 because of overhang. It also creates a dangerous situation for cars trying to turn left onto the frontage road towards Little Newtons from Westbound 55, because the packed in cars frequently take up the opposite direction turn lane.
  4. The overcrowding in the median further creates a hazard because when a break in traffic on Westbound 55 finally opens up, everyone tries to turn first because the right of way is ambiguous since the median was only designed for one car waiting at a time. I've personally witnessed many near accidents from one driver cutting off another driver because everyone thought they should go first.

How can we solve this? This intersection desperately needs a traffic light. We've come to a point where the traffic in this area is too heavy to safely support this turn lane, particularly with the presence of a high population cars carrying young children. This petition requests that MNDOT, with the support of and in partnership with the Plymouth City Council, investigate and implement a traffic light at this intersection.

But can't people use the traffic light on West Medicine Lake by the McDonald's instead? Many people who use this intersection are not from the neighborhood, so this would need to be a temporary workaround at most. Furthermore, as a resident of the neighborhood, I can attest that much of the frontage road to get to that light is heavily iced during the winter, and it's narrow and dark. It can't support the amount of traffic it would need to as a permanent solution. For long term safety, we need a traffic light at this location.

But what about those who might complain about an additional traffic light? We absolutely all love the convenience of Highway 55 because the lights on the road are minimal. However, at this intersection, we have a clear design flaw that is threatening the safety of anyone who uses it. If there are concerns with having a traffic light in its full cycle throughout the day, this petition suggests that MNDOT and the Plymouth City Council identify off-peak times throughout the day where the light can cycle to a blinking light mode. This way, traffic will operate much as it currently has, with frontage road yielding to oncoming traffic from 55 while traffic on the Highway continues on as though the light was not there.

While I understand that MNDOT will make its final decision based on data, I want the City Council and the agency to be aware of this problem and the strong community support for fixing it. I thank you for your time and consideration. 

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