The intersection of County Road 116 and Hackamore Road in Medina and Corcoran has increasingly been the seen of serious car crashes. For those in Medina and Corcoran who have to cross that intersection throughout the day, it feels like you are running the gauntlet. There is a convergence of traffic in both directions causing significant safety concerns.
According to the Star Tribune, Hennepin County has agreed to install traffic lights at the intersection of County Road 116 and Hackamore in Medina as it is increasingly more busy and seeing a higher number of serious accidents. It’s a big relief for those who live in Foxberry Farms and Bridgewater who have high school aged drivers trying to cross this intersection at least twice per day as they travel to and from Wayzata High School and Providence Academy.
(County Road 116 and Hackamore Road pictured below)
Recently a group of citizens organized by Mark Osmanski, collected nearly 300 signed petitions from area home owners and presented them to county officials including Hennepin County Commissioner, Jeff Johnson, as well as the lead Traffic Engineer for Hennepin County, Jim Grube during a public meeting recently held and organized by Mr. Osmanski. At this meeting were about 40 people in total including Commissioner Johnson and Mr. Grube as well as Medina Mayor Tom Crosby, Corcoran Mayor Ken Geunthner and Corcoran Police Chief Sean Gormley. Key traffic engineering staff was also present at this meeting which was held on December 16th, 2011 at the Hennepin County Public Works Facility in Medina.
At this meeting led and spearheaded by Osmanski there was an excellent discussion of the issues and the county was very receptive to the issues and concerns presented by Osmanski and others who gave testimony to the harrowing experience they or their children have faced. A few of those who had been involved in serious crashes also spoke.
Someone raised the question…”do we have to wait until someone dies?” Mr. Grube immediately responded and said no that is not the case and that’s not how the county operates or makes it’s decisions. I personally attended this meeting and thought Mr. Grube did a good job of handling the questions. While there were some pointed questions at times, the group was very respectful making for a productive meeting.
It turns out in preparation for the meeting Grube and his team had done some additional homework on the road to update their data as well and he concluded that it was indeed time for the county to take a hard look at that intersection and that it probably made sense to install a light there especially prior to the road construction set to shut down Highway 55 west of Arrowhead Road which will divert more traffic up and down County Road 116.
During the meeting Medina Mayor Crosby as well as Corcoran Mayor Geunthner spoke and said that they would gladly support the effort and the funds were there if the cities need to contribute. Both acknowledged they would need council approval but didn’t foresee an issue with that. (Note: some days after the meeting, we received an e-mail stating that Hennepin County would go ahead with the traffic light and install it on a temporary basis. Temporary for the county would be up to 25 years. Now according to the Star Tribune story, the cities will have to pay for the electricity to run the light. That should not be an issue).
It’s expected the light will be installed this spring which can’t come soon enough for area residents and drivers. This issue is a great example of citizens organizing and raising an issue with their government in a professional and productive manner. The individuals that really needs to be applauded for their efforts are Peter Hayden, Kristin Toste, Deb Engebretson, Mike Mrosak and Mark Osmanski who led the campaign.