Pedestrian path to lead from Target to Younkers
Starting in the middle of next year, walkers can expect to have an easier time crossing from the Oak Park Mall area to Austin Town Center.
The Austin City Council approved a permit with the Minnesota Department of Transportation Monday night and transferred money to the budget for a pedestrian trail connecting the parking lots of Younkers and Target. The eight-foot-wide trail could be done by the middle of next year, though the exact schedule still has to be worked out, said City Engineer Jon Erichson.
The path will lead from Younkers up the slope toward the intersection of Highway 218 and the Interstate 90 westbound on and off ramps. There it will cross Highway 218 at the signal lights, and come down the slope on the other side toward the parking lot near Target.
The short existing path, which heads straight out from Younkers to the side of Highway 218, will be removed to keep pedestrians away from drivers looking to enter the turn lane to 18th Avenue.
“MnDOT perceives that as a very dangerous situation with all the pedestrians walking along 218,” Erichson said at the meeting. “Right now, I think our immediate concern is the pedestrians’ safety out in this area.”
The signal lights already in place at the intersection were made to be adaptable to the new path.
“In 2009, signal lights were installed at the I-90 west bound on/off ramps,” Assistant City Engineer Steven Lang wrote in a June memo to the Mayor and City Council. “The signal lights included provisions for a pedestrian crossing.”
Erichson said the path may eventually provide access to the Blazing Star Trail.