Douglas Drive/Highway 55 Intersection

As part of the preliminary design process for the 2016-2017 Douglas Dr improvement project, the City of Golden Valley, Hennepin County, and MnDOT developed concepts to improve the Hwy 55/Douglas Dr intersection. The $6.5 million project was funded in the bonding bill signed by Gov Tim Walz Oct 22, 2020, and construction could start as early as 2022.

History

Even with traffic signals, vehicles on State Hwy 55 through Golden Valley move fast going to and from Minneapolis. To improve driver and pedestrian safety as well as traffic efficiency in this area, in 2016–2017 Hennepin County and the City of Golden Valley reconstructed Douglas Dr between Hwy 55 and Medicine Lane Rd. The project cost about $20 million, with Golden Valley and Hennepin County each paying about $10 million. However, these funds did not cover costs for improving all of the problems at the intersection of Hwy 55 and Douglas Dr.

  • Problem: Pedestrians must cross six lanes of Hwy 55 traffic to reach businesses, schools, and other area amenities. Nearly every morning during the school year, large groups of students who take public transportation are dropped off on the north side of Hwy 55 at Douglas Dr and must dash across six lanes of rush hour traffic to reach their high school, the state-funded Perpich Center for Arts Education. They often don’t make it all the way and spend the next traffic cycle perched on the small grass median between lanes of surging westbound and eastbound traffic. Or, they cross traffic without a protective crossing signal. Also, the Luce Line regional trail just north of Hwy 55 brings many recreational bikers and joggers to the area.
  • Solution: A new underpass culvert crossing for pedestrians/ bikers would be ADA compliant and would connect the south frontage road to Douglas Dr (at location of new Metro Transit drop-off site), enabling safe passage for pedestrians and bikers.
  • Problem: The south side of the Hwy 55 and Douglas Dr hintersection has significant congestion and confusing turning movements, bus stops, and a high level of pedestrian usage that has resulted in safety issues and a high number of vehicle crashes north and south of the highway.The south frontage road is too close to Hwy 55, and vehicles don’t have room to queue at intersection. Significant back-ups occur, and it can take numerous signal cycles to get through. Many vehicles ignore posted stop signs and take chances to make the green light onto the highway. Combine this with a mix of pedestrians from local businesses and the Perpich school, as well as runners and bicyclists crossing the highway from the nearby popular Luce Line Regional Trail, and you have a recipe for disaster
  • Solution: Extending the throat of the intersection will provide more queuing capacity for vehicles at the intersection, thus moving more vehicles through in a shorter amount of time. A roundabout will eliminate the stop conditions at south frontage road and allow the intersection to quickly dissipate the queue.

Proposed Project