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Pedestrian crossings on Hwy 36 draw concern from locals who are worried about safety

The speed limit on Hwy. 36 is 65 miles an hour. Some residents and business owners are worried encouraging pedestrians to cross Hwy. 36 will put them in danger.

LAKE ELMO, Minn. — Road construction is wrapping up on Highway 36 near Stillwater, but some locals are worried the road be less safe because of it.

MnDOT officials say the main purpose of this 12.5 mile-long construction project on Highway 36 between Maplewood and Stillwater is to repave the roads, but while they're doing that, MnDOT officials say they're also going to be working on four pedestrian crossings on the highway.

Those crossings have some locals worried about safety.

The speed limit on Highway 36 is 65-miles an hour.

One of those intersections is at Lake Elmo Avenue.

Nearby business owners say drivers blow through this intersection every day, and they report seeing accidents at least once a week at this intersection.

They wonder why someone would want to send pedestrians and bikers across this busy road?

"Those are concerns that I would say we hear fairly often,” MnDOT Planning Director Mackenzie Turner Bargen says.

MnDOT officials say this crossing and the three other crossings they're currently working on were already in place before the project started.

Officials say the work that's being done merely brings those crossings into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"Meeting that ADA compliance is important to serve the users,” Turner Bargen says.

Some locals worry making those crossings more accessible will encourage more people to use them, sending them into harm’s way.

But MnDOT officials say all four of those crossings are legal and, in some cases, the only way for pedestrians and bikers to cross Highway 36.

They acknowledge the traffic is moving fast in these areas, so it's important for pedestrians and drivers to pay attention.

"It certainly is a good measure and approach to put safety first,” Bargen says. "To be aware, to be alert to the best of our abilities.”

Fore more information on the Highway 36 project, click here.

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