Plymouth City Council approves keeping four lanes on Schmidt Lake Road

Crosswalks are still under debate

After a discussion on the proposed improvements to Schmidt Lake Road, the Plymouth City Council voted 6-1 to keep the road as a four-lane roadway, rather than reducing to three lanes.

The council, however, will continue the discussion on where crosswalks will be placed after two crosswalks, at Yuma and Garland lanes, were planned for removal due to the proximity to existing crosswalks.

The majority of the council voted May 23 to keep Schmidt Lake Road as a four-lane roadway, citing the public’s support, which was expressed after the March meeting, when the project was first presented.

Councilmember Ned Carroll voted against the motion. He cited three lanes, which would include turning lanes, as the safer alternative for the motoring public. Reports from similar projects in the metro area showed a reduction in average crashes per year.

Councilmember Jim Prom noted the cost to keep the road as a four-lane is nearly equal as re-striping for three lanes, at just over $1 million, and that Schmidt Lake Road receives more traffic than the average street, with Wayzata High School located on the west end and Providence Academy centrally located.

“I firmly believe this should remain a four-lane road,” Prom said, adding this roadway will carry more traffic in the future with the growing population.

Additionally, the motion presented was to keep the Yuma Lane crosswalk, but to eliminate the Garland Lane crosswalk.

Councilmember Judy Johnson, who represents Ward 1 where the project is located, expressed that she would only support a four-lane roadway if the crosswalks were maintained and improved, including a flashing crosswalk at Yuma Lane. She said she also didn’t want Garland Lane’s crosswalk to be eliminated, due to the trail access to the neighborhood park.

This statement received some push-back from others on the council, including Councilmember Jim Willis. Willis noted the balancing act between having enough crosswalks and too many along a higher traffic roadway.

Councilmember Jeffry Wosje wanted to review the council’s crosswalk policy, which was adopted in recent years, to see how this project aligned with that policy.

For the purpose of not delaying the project, the council voted to approve the improvement project as a four-lane, with the condition to review the crosswalks at a future meeting.

Contact Kristen Miller at [email protected]