More stop than go for drivers with Minneapolis traffic light troubles

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: October 13, 2011 - 9:37 PM

Problems may persist for a bit after a power failure hit a computer system that syncs Minneapolis traffic signals.

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jo1glexOct. 13, 1112:08 PM

As much as I like to complain about traffic management in Minneapolis, our system actually works really well. The worst part of our system is Hiawatha, by a long shot. The problem there is that the timing just doesn't work unless the trains can go up to 55 mph, which they are capable of. If they went that fast, however, they would have to blow their whistles more often, by law. Neighbors lobbied to force the trains to go slower, so they wouldn't have to blow the whistles. This made the timetables such that we have the timing nightmares we have on Hiawatha. Hard to blame Traffic Management for that. Really, that line should have been elevated in the first place, but political budget realities are what they are, I suppose.

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dorkeemnOct. 13, 1112:22 PM

I think that the system works fairly well most of the time - but there are always people that try to get into an intersection before the light changes then sits blocking the intersection. There are also issues caused by people (both in and out of cars) trying to figure out where they are going!

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jimmybobbyOct. 13, 1112:27 PM

3rd street and 9th has never been better. Maybe I like the uncoordinated lights. Didn't have to drive 40 to hit the light from 10th to 9th.... SIGH I supposed Mpls will 'fix' this and then I will have to speed again to make the light one block away. Brilliant.

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woldieOct. 13, 1112:29 PM

no this isnt hard to blame. as neighbors do you want trains going that fast through your neighborhood blowing their horns late in the evening/night. Perhaps this is something they should have thought about before they did it.

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samson2500Oct. 13, 1112:42 PM

Minneapolis has one of the worse traffic signal strategies in the country. The red lights are perfectly engineered to create a standstill - One red light after another after the other. How many times do we arrive at a traffic light only to have it go red right as we arrive? And how many intersections do 20 cars stare at a red light with almost zero cars in the cross street? HUNDREDS of times. Traffic engineers need to re-time EVERYthing in this city.

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jonknutsonOct. 13, 1112:43 PM

unfortunately my commute to downtown is now 20 minutes longer

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karatedancerOct. 13, 1112:46 PM

I hope they do something soon! My 26 minute commute (on Metro Transit) now takes 45-50 minutes. Avoid Olson Hwy westbound from Penn to Lyndale between 7:30 to 8:30 am. We have been reporting this to 311 since Monday, yet we haven't seen the City take any action, not even a yellow-vested traffic cop directing traffic and helping people get to work.

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pafabianOct. 13, 1112:50 PM

Hwy 55 from 100 to 94 (going east) was a mess this morning, ~8am. One of the traffic lights would go to green for less than a minute while the others would stay green much longer. What a mess.

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jo1glexOct. 13, 1112:52 PM

@ "woldie": I'm not saying I would want the trains going that fast. I'm just saying that the traffic tie-ups that happen on 55/Hiawatha aren't the fault of the Minneapolis traffic management people. They've got the lights on that road timed about as well as they can, given the timings of the trains and the traffic.

"About as well as they can" is still pretty bad though, especially if you get stuck through 4 cycles of lights trying to cross Hiawatha westbound on 42nd, as I was a couple nights ago. From what I hear, traffic management engineers told MnDOT, Hennepin County and everyone else it would be a mess ahead of time. My understanding is that the issue was placed in the "Omelet = broken eggs" category.

Anyway, I don't disagree with you. I just meant to say I've been in a lot of cities with really stupid traffic light systems, and as much as I like to complain, I'd like to point out that ours works really well for the most part.

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donotbugmeOct. 13, 1112:55 PM

so .... will this make the intersections on the east bank side of the 10th Ave bridge better or worse?

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