Driver Confusion Could Kill Controversial Edina Road Design

Updated: 03/21/2013 9:27 PM By: Stephen Tellier

A confusing stretch of road in Edina could soon be changed.

The Edina city council voted Tuesday to seriously consider new markings for a portion of Wooddale Avenue, just six months after major changes were made there to accommodate bikes.
There's no longer a center line on part of that road, and there are advisory bike lanes on either side of the street. We've told you about the resulting driver confusion on that road before.
The new markings were paid for by part of a $250,000 grant from the federal government, aimed at making Edina more bicycle-friendly. Now, there's a chance Edina may have to pay that money back.
That's because some drivers say this is just too complicated, and the city council says it's not working.
"It's a maze. That's the best way to describe it," said George Griffiths, an Edina resident.
Griffiths is not a fan of the disappearing double yellow line.
"I think it's a disaster," Griffiths said. "First, when I drive on it, I'm not sure where I'm supposed to be. Second, it's idiotic that they do what they've done."
And he refuses to drive on it.
"I'm afraid," Griffiths said.
"We're running out of space on the roadways and you can't build yourself up," said Wayne Houle, engineering director for the City of Edina.
Houle said the city is trying to make the best use of limited pavement space, and accommodate all forms of transportation. But the city council said drivers simply aren't adapting to the design, and voted to look at other options, including bringing back a center line.
Houle said despite the backpedaling, the project has still been a success.
"It's not a failed event by any means. We've had a lot of great publicity that bicycles are out on the roadways and motorists have to work around the bicyclists," Houle said.
We found a bicyclist on Thursday. He told us that in time, drivers would get used to the advisory bike lanes.
But Griffiths won't.
"It's nice to have bike lanes, but I don't think that Edina is really set up for bikes," Griffiths said.
The city is now on stand by, waiting to hear back from the federal government on whether they would have to return that grant money if they change the layout of Wooddale Avenue. City officials said they're fairly confident they won't have to, but they'll know for sure within a week or so.
The markings on Wooddale Avenue could change as soon as May.