Cedar Avenue striping paints hope


“One small paint job for Cedar Avenue … one giant step for South Minneapolis traffic safety.”

That takeoff on the timeless NASA mantra is ringing in the ears of Standish-Ericsson residents Will Peterson and Steve Basile and their team of Cedar Avenue United (CAU) activists long alarmed about the risks of traffic accidents, personal injury and environmental abuse along the heavily used arterial.

After months of pressure on city and county highway departments, CAU celebrated, on Sept. 19, the striping of eight blocks of Cedar between 38th and 46th Streets, hopefully to calm traffic somewhat by narrowing single driving lanes to 11 feet and more clearly demarcating parking lanes.

But CAU’s agenda is much broader than lane striping, CAU leaders say

“This is only the first step in our goal to work with City, County and neighbors to produce a comprehensive redesign plan focusing on neighborhood livability, traffic taming, multi-modal transportation, local business development and historic preservation,” Peterson and Basile said. “We have a long way to go.”

CAU’s exhaustive research has turned up numerous facts about Cedar’s safety and environmental impact on the neighborhood lying just north of Lake Nokomis. Among them:

  1. Noise levels from passing cars and trucks have been measured in the 72-74 decibel range, nearly twice the 65-decibel state and federal standards for new construction near highway;

  2. Reported accidents on Cedar between Lake St. and Crosstown 62 plus the adjoining block to the east and west numbered 135 in 2008 – “very high,” according to a county source.

  3. Vibrations from passing vehicles, some of which are believed to be loaded MNDOT trucks, are cracking plaster walls in nearby homes;

  4. Vehicle speeds sometimes exceeding 50 miles per hour, ostensibly from northbound vehicles failing to slow down after entering from Hwy. 77 en route from Bloomington and other southern suburbs;

  5. 2030 projections for traffic near County Road 42 and Cedar in Burnsville increasing 70 percent from the current 70,000 cars a day to 120,000 a day.

“If ignored,” Peterson and fellow CAU members say, “these environmental issues will continue to erode the Cedar Corridor tax base, creating anger in the face of a 12 percent  city property tax increase coming in the next two years.”