Broadway study seeks additional public input
Public input sought into proposed improvements
A second virtual public meeting on a Broadway Corridor study in Minot opens Monday, providing an opportunity to comment on some traffic improvement concepts that would be new to the city.
Backage roads, parkways and different roundabout designs are under consideration, and public input is needed on the options. At least some options would take drivers time to get used to, according to engineers.
Stephen Joersz, City of Minot traffic engineer, said Minot may not be ready for the more significant changes, but design approaches that keep some familiar elements could work just as well.
Joersz and City Engineer Lance Meyer met with Minot City Council members during a work session Monday to present a study overview. Engineers will present on the study’s progress at the council meeting May 3.
“None of these options at this point would lock us in to any kind of final design. What we’re trying to seek with this project is just what does the public want to see,” Meyer said. “Some time years from now, when we launch into a design effort, we would take the results from a study, and then we’d have our environmental document that would go into some of the details on this. So from that standpoint, don’t feel like once we pick an option we’re married to it. These are just the best options that we could come up with that would solve the problems that are right in front of us.”
The public can access study recordings and materials beginning Monday at movingbroadway.com. The comment period will be open until May 17. There will be live question-and-answers sessions on May 5 for the North Broadway segment and May 6 for the Middle Broadway segment. A live session on the South Broadway segment will be held further into the study. There also will be six stakeholder meetings with business, alternative transportation and government groups.
More than 1,200 unique visitors participated in the first virtual public meeting last fall. Forty percent of comments related to safety and 37% to traffic delays and congestion.”
The southern segment, south of 20th Avenue Southwest, is the section likely to see improvements first.
“We’re trying to tee up improvements here in the next probably five to seven years,” Meyer said, “basically where we left off in 2003 and take it all the way south to about 42nd Avenue, just south of Walmart.”
Problem areas include traffic bottlenecks at 31st and 37th Avenues, difficult left turns, aging signal infrastructure and unfavorable access for pedestrians or bicycles. That segment carries between 15,000 and 25,000 vehicles a day.
The middle section of Broadway sees about 17,000 vehicles a day north of the Souris River and about 25,000 a day between Burdick Expressway and 20th Avenue Southwest. The large number of traffic signals creates inefficiency in this area, delaying traffic by up to 50% over a roadway with all green lights. Difficult left turns and crashes also are major concerns.
Broadway between 11th Avenue Northwest and Burdick has twice as many crashes as should be typical for the roadway, Joersz said. Crashes between Burdick and 20th Avenue Southwest are even higher.
“This whole corridor is above the state average for crashes,” Joersz said.
He said the high crash rate isn’t a surprise given the large number of accesses along Broadway. Studies show each access increases crash potential by 2%, he said. The average of three pedestrian or bicycle crashes a year also appears high considering the limited use by pedestrians and cyclists, he added.
One plan for improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists is to create a friendlier corridor on a nearby roadway to divert those travelers. Another is a tunnel under South Broadway at the bypass interchange.
Council member Paul Pitner said if the city continues to allow developments along Broadway that bring residential housing into the mix, pedestrian and bicycle safety will have to be a priority.
“I don’t think we can maybe leave it up to the public’s discretion whether or not they prioritize public safety,” he said. “If we are going to allow that, it has to be a priority.”
Council member Stephen Podrygula suggested the city consider aesthetics in redesigning Broadway.
“To be very candid with you, I think that’s a very ugly stretch of Minot,” he said. “It’s just a mass of concrete, lots of signs, no greenery.”
He explained Broadway is frequently used by visitors and it visually creates an impression.
Improvements on the segment from 20th Avenue Southwest to 11th Avenue Northwest near Minot State University will depend on funding becoming available, according to Meyer, who estimated construction to be 10 to 15 years away. North Broadway more recently saw paving improvements so additional changes are likely 15 years or more away, he said. Broadway’s north segment has issues with traffic control and speed-related crashes.
Joersz noted a project is planned, separate from the study, to re-time traffic signals all along Broadway to improve flow, which will help reduce certain crashes and improve roadway efficiency.