THE IMPACT OF DEVELOPMENT
TRAFFIC, ROADWAY & SAFETY ISSUES
Over the years, residential development & evolution of our road system limited vehicle access to Hollydale. This in turn causes safety and traffic problems with any proposed development of the property.
A DANGEROUS INTERSECTION
Schmidt Lake Road looking west from Comstock Lane towards Wayzata High School around 3:00 p.m. Cars come fast around the curve and over the hill, creating peril when drivers are attempting to exit Comstock Lane.
Presently, the only way to get to Hollydale is via Holly Lane from Old Rockford Road. That's fine for a golf course. It's not fine for a large residential development. So in order to accommodate traffic for the 1000 or so people who would live on the golf course and the new Timbers Edge development next door, the developer plans to plow Comstock Lane through Courts at Nanterre, a neighborhood of 37 townhomes that sits between Hollydale and Schmidt Lake Road.
The problem with this, besides the obvious destruction of property values and quality of life for those in Courts at Nanterre (see below), is that the intersection of Comstock and Schmidt Lake Road poses concerns of both size and safety.
Comstock Lane sits less than 500 feet east of the bridge over the railroad tracks at Schmidt Lake Road. This sight line is insufficient for left hand turns from Comstock. Cars coming fast over the hill from the high school need to slow down quickly so as not to hit those coming from or going into Comstock.
And, the entrance to Courts of Nanterre was designed to accommodate private road access to fewer than 40 homes. It's short and narrow. Safety will be compromised for the 2/3 of the owners who live west of Comstock and take left hand turns on to a new, busy Comstock Lane.
IT GETS WORSE
So what's a creative traffic guy to do? It's simple! Just convert Schmidt Lake Road to three lanes and add a median to prohibit cars from turning left from Comstock. That's what was proposed in the Traffic Study.
It's not a good idea.
Schmidt Lake Road is an arterial road, designed to accommodate the flow of east west traffic. It is one of two roads that feed traffic to the east side of the very busy Wayzata High School, and is subject to peak traffic periods when 4000 people are attempting to get to or from the high school. Reducing the road from four to three lanes would slow speeds and jam traffic, as cars and busses attempt to get in or out of the high school on single lanes. The City Council studied Schmidt Lake Road and made the decision to keep it four lanes fairly recently, in May of 2017. Adding a median on the base of the hill, while limiting danger from those who turn left from Comstock, would add an impediment for the inexperienced and frequently distracted drivers coming from the high school.
Not to mention the hassle for those attempting to go northwest from Comstock. Where would all those cars go?
TRAFFIC WOULD BE ROUTED TO HOLLY LANE
This is the route that school buses and cars would be required to use to get to the high school from Courts at Nanterre, Hollydale or the new Timbers Edge. It seems silly, doesn't it?
IMPACT ON HOLLY LANE & OLD ROCKFORD ROAD
1900 trips over a 15 hour day is one vehicle every 28 seconds.
Holly Lane presently carries traffic from the golf course and a few houses west in Wyndemere Farms and north of 46th. It looks like the photo on the left most of the time.
As shown on the map above, a new development west of Holly Lane called Timbers Edge will have 40 homes. The revised proposal for Hollydale is 229 homes. These two developments, would generate just over 2,500 vehicle trips per day.
Over 1,900 of these trips would be carried on Holly Lane, and on to Old Rockford Road. Old Rockford Rd is a two lane collector on which there are two elementary schools and an intersection to the primary street to the high school. There's so much traffic already on Old Rockford that the schools won't allow the students to ride their bikes to school. Kids who live in a development across the street take a bus. 269 new homes would increase traffic on Old Rockford Road by over 45%, and Holly Lane by over 500%.
People bought homes near Holly Lane to live in a quiet neighborhood on a quiet street. The quiet will end, and some are wondering how they will get out of their driveways. The traffic study said that no additional traffic control will be needed at the intersection of Holly Lane and Old Rockford Road. 1,900 more cars per day, and no need for a stop sign at Holly and Old Rockford? Unlikely.
COURTS AT NANTERRE
If Hollydale is developed, residents of the Courts at Nanterre will bear the brunt of the consequences. A neighborhood of mostly retired residents for over 20 years, homes sit near the northern border of the golf course. With the addition of 229 homes and a road carrying over 600 cars per day bisecting the neighborhood, the activity, light, and aesthetics would have a material and negative effect on the quality of life. It would have a pretty negative effect on property values too. Even the developer admits it. Hollydale's buyer and seller win big. The 74 people who live here lose big. It's an unfair trade-off either way.