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- Lake Road Improvements
Lake Road Improvements
A roadway repaving project was completed during the 2022 construction season on Lake Road between Courtly Road and Tahoe Road, and between Woodlane Drive and Pioneer Drive. During the project, portions of Lake Road were converted from a four-lane roadway to a three-lane roadway to increase safety for vehicles and pedestrians. In addition, the intersection of Lake Road and Pioneer Drive was converted into a single-lane roundabout.
A trail is planned for construction in 2023 along Lake Road between Wooddale Drive and Radio Drive. More information on the new trail can be found in the trail improvement page.
A future project is planned for 2023 construction which will convert Lake Road from 4-3 lanes between Blue Ridge Drive and the Cottage Grove Drive trail crossing. The project will include pavement rehabilitation on Lake Road from Blue Ridge Drive to Manning Avenue and trail rehabilitation. More information will be provided regarding Lake Road access during construction as design progresses. The tentative schedule for the project is shown below.
October 26, 2022
Neighborhood Meeting No. 1
Public Improvement Hearing, Order Project, Approve Preliminary Reports, Authorize Preparation of Plans & Specifications
Approve Plans & Specifications, Set Bid Date
Neighborhood Meeting No. 2
Assessment Hearing, Award Construction Contract
As a part of that project, Lake Road between Woodlane Drive and Pioneer Drive was converted from a 4-lane to a 3-lane road.
- Project Location Map (PDF)
- Project Location Map Aerial (PDF)
- Lake Road Lane Conversion Preliminary Report (PDF)
This conversion increases safety by reducing crashes, increasing pedestrian safety, providing a shoulder, and promoting compliance with posted speed limits.
In 2016, the city conducted the Lake Road Restriping and Safety Improvements Study which determined the traffic volumes are acceptable to accommodate the 3-lane roadway conversion with improved traffic flow and operations.
The project also included repaving of the existing trails along Lake Road to improve the trail surface.
Pedestrian enhancements constructed with this project include refuge islands at the intersections of Lake Road and Oriole Drive, Camelot Drive, and Stratford Road. Rectangular rapid flashing beacons will remain at the intersection of Lake Road and Wyndham Way.
At the intersection of Lake Road and Pioneer Drive, a single-lane roundabout was constructed.
Enhanced Pedestrian Safety
Similar to the former all way stop, a roundabout requires all vehicles to slow down as they approach the intersection, navigate the roundabout, and pass through the crosswalks. The design promotes lower speeds along the roadway corridor while maintaining traffic and pedestrian flow. These slower speeds greatly reduce the chances of severe injuries, especially for pedestrians.
With the roundabout design, rectangular rapid flashing beacons were installed at key pedestrian crossings to provide increased pedestrian visibility and promote increased vehicular yielding compliance. These beacons were installed along the school walking routes to assist crossing guards in alerting incoming traffic that pedestrians are present and looking to make a crossing. These rectangular rapid flashing beacons are push button activated by pedestrians and have been shown to increase vehicle yielding.
The improvements were designed to address safety improvements identified in both Middleton Elementary and Lake Middle School's Safe Routes to School plans, as well as address the concerns and feedback that was received during the September public engagement efforts and provide the community with the best solution to aging infrastructure.
With continued traffic volume growth on Pioneer Drive and Lake Road, the former all-way stop intersection was beginning to show signs of degradation in both pavement condition and traffic capacity during peak times. It was decided that improvements to this intersection should take place in conjunction with the conversion project to reduce traffic impacts to one season.
Both Middleton Elementary and Lake Middle Schools are located in the southwest quadrant of the intersection and generate large amounts of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The city's evaluation included analyzing the morning school dismissal and evening peak hours to forecast year (2042) traffic volumes. The evaluations included assessing traffic volumes; intersection and roadway safety; pedestrian and bicycle safety; traffic operations; and other factors such as cost and right-of-way impacts.
A signalized intersection and roundabout were analyzed for this intersection after an initial review indicated the existing all-way stop would result in unacceptable delays and congestion in the design year of 2042.
Fewer & Less Severe Crashes
Single lane roundabouts reduce vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian conflicts from 32 and 24 down to 8 and 8, respectively, when compared to a traditional single lane all way stop. This reduction in potential conflict zones increases safety.
Safety is increased by simplifying the traffic flow to a single direction and at lower speeds which improves decision making by drivers and pedestrians. A 2018 Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) report indicated Minnesota roundabouts have a reduction of over 60% in pedestrian crashes and a little over 15% reduction in bicycle crashes compared to conventional intersections with the same traffic characteristics. Studies have shown that converting an intersection from a traditional all way stop to a single lane roundabout reduces all crashes by 35% and severe injury crashes by up to 76%. Similarly, converting a signalized intersection to a roundabout will likely see the overall crash rate remain the same, severe injury crashes are reduced by up to 60%. (Source: National Cooperative Highway Research Program.)
Slower Speeds for All Vehicles
One key benefit of a roundabout is their ability to control speeds of all vehicular traffic navigating the intersection. Roundabouts work by impeding free flow traffic to slow all vehicles to a designed speed of approximately 15 mph where they can safely navigate the roundabout. Impeding the free flow traffic creates a traffic calming effect that will promote lower speeds through the corridor and school zone when compared to a traffic signal. The roundabout will promote increased compliance with the school zone speed limit signs and rectangular rapid flashing beacons by promoting slower speeds.
Extended Medians & Additional Pedestrian Improvements
Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (flashing lights activated by pedestrian push buttons) are proposed at crosswalks identified by the school district's walking route plan. Studies have shown these increase vehicle yielding compliance by more than 88% at pedestrian crosswalks.
Roundabouts provide pedestrians the opportunity to cross one lane and a single direction of traffic at a time. Medians in the center of the roadway provide a pedestrian refuge area which reduces crossing distances. The proposed roundabout provides the opportunity for extended medians along Lake Road east of Pioneer Drive, as well as additional medians along Pioneer Drive north and south of Lake Road. The extended medians allow an enhanced pedestrian crossing to be placed at Blue Ridge Drive. This design proposes rectangular rapid flashing beacons, a center median refuge and removes conflicting left and right turn vehicle movements resulting in just one lane of traffic to cross at a time.
Additional pedestrian crossing improvements proposed at Juniper Lane and Pioneer Drive including rectangular rapid flashing beacons will assist pedestrians and crossing guards by alerting traffic of pedestrians trying to cross.
More information on roundabouts
- A Study of the Traffic Safety at Roundabouts in Minnesota - Minnesota Department of Transportation (PDF)
A comprehensive report regarding the traffic safety performance of roundabouts in the State of Minnesota.
- Roundabouts: An Informational Guide - U.S. Department of Transportation (PDF)
Guide established in recognition of the diverse needs of transportation professionals and the public for introductory material through design detail, as well as the wide range of potential applications of roundabout intersections.
- Safety Benefits of Roundabouts - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Information explaining how roundabouts are a safer alternative to traffic signals and stop signs.
- Roundabout U - Washington County
"Roundabout U" is an outreach program of Washington County to provide guidance and information on a variety of topics related to roundabout design and usage, including instructions for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Resident feedback was collected in September 2020 relating to the existing intersection conditions at Lake Road and Pioneer Drive and potential traffic signal or roundabout improvements. Over 260 responses were received with feedback supporting the need for intersection improvements. Feedback included:
- A desire for traffic calming strategies
- Reduced speed limits
- Limiting traffic delays
- Clear signage at the intersection for both traffic and pedestrians
- A need for better walking and biking infrastructure including consolidated crosswalks, rectangular rapid flashing beacons, increased pedestrian visibility
Another common response was a request for grade-separated crossings for pedestrians. Both bridge and tunnel alternatives were evaluated and it was determined that due to right-of-way needs, utility conflicts, adjacent property impacts, availability of alternate design options and costs of these improvements, grade separated trail crossings are not a recommended solution for this intersection.
See September 2020 survey results summary (PDF).
In April 2021, resident feedback regarding the proposed design was collected.