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What to do with intersection - Our view: It will probably never be safer

Keyboard warriors wasted no time last Wednesday, Nov. 20, jumping all over news there was an injury crash at the intersection of North Morningside Drive and Highway 212. It was a case of never let the facts get in the way of a social media rant.
The evidence indicated one of two things happened: The driver wasn’t paying attention, lost control of the vehicle and hopped over a curb and the median dividing Morningside Drive’s north and southbound lanes, or, the driver had a medical event of some kind and lost control of the vehicle. Either way, the driver’s car came to a stop on the grass just north of the highway and west of Morningside Drive.
Turns out the driver lost control of the car and ran the stop sign because of a medical issue. The driver was transported to the hospital.
The point here is the design of the intersection of Highway 212 and Morningside Drive had nothing to do with this crash. Sure, the intersection is problematic, but if four stop signs with flashing lights on them isn’t enough to safely control the flow of traffic through the intersection, we can’t imagine what will do the trick.
It would seem short of placing a concrete barrier at each crossing point on a giant hinge, the current design of the intersection can’t be much safer than it is.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to move traffic as safely and efficiently as possible. Four-way stops on U.S. highways impede the flow of traffic, but they make for relatively safer crossings. Is a four-way stop perfect? Apparently not.
The simple fact is people don’t pay attention to the degree they ought to. A quick check of court records for fines for inattentive driving and people using their phones and texting while driving is a sign drivers aren’t paying attention as they should.
As part of its study of Highway 212 through Glencoe and Highway 22 between around Glencoe, MnDOT has floated the idea of a roundabout at the crossing. It is the safest idea MnDOT has available to it.
Ideally, an overpass with lanes on and off the highway would provide safe crossings and proper access and egress. Such a structure would at best be a tight squeeze and more likely would require the dedication of valuable land. Funding for an overpass is not likely available anytime soon.
There have been some calls for a semaphore. This is likely the least safe of the options though it would keep traffic moving.
If motorists can’t stop for a mandatory stop sign with flashing lights, what’s going to happen when they punch it to sneak through a yellow light about to turn red?
A roundabout will keep traffic flowing through the intersection, albeit at a slower speed. Crashes in a roundabout are likely sideswipes, and not the right-angle impact more likely to cause more severe injury. But a roundabout does nothing for pedestrians crossing Highway 212 at the Morningside Drive. The safer solution for pedestrians crossing the highway at Morningside is a pedestrian bridge. But MnDOT previously said a pedestrian bridge was not even considered. It’s not in the budget for now. If MnDOT is committed to improving the intersection, the options should be workable and safe for all.