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Current Conditions

Downtown South Study
The split of the Prior Lake downtown area caused by County Rd. 21 imposes difficulties in maintaining a vibrant, connected downtown. Over the past eight years there have been numerous studies on the roadways surrounding the Downtown South Area – defined as the area bound by Duluth Avenue on the west, Hwy. 13 on the east and south, and Downtown Prior Lake on the north.

Downtown South Study Report (Nov. 2012)
Traffic Analysis and Recommendations Memorandum
Community Comments to Alternatives and Recommended Alternative 9C
Citizens and Business Group (CBG) Comments to Roadway Network Options

Click here for the November 2012 Newsletter Update on this project.

south mapMany of these studies have looked into the future capacity and access changes necessary along County Rd. 21 and Hwy. 13 to accommodate increases in traffic while also maintaining access to downtown Prior Lake. The modifications proposed for the highways will change how traffic will access the area and will shape how the area will develop and redevelop. The access changes proposed on County Rd. 21 and Hwy. 13 will also alter how and where traffic can move into the area.

Study Goals and Purpose
The goals of this project include
1. Assemble findings and recommendations from the previously completed projects,
plans and studies into one plan for the area.
2. Develop a plan for a future street network that is consistent with the County Rd. 21 plan,
provides connectivity and facilities for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists between
downtown and other destinations, provides access to downtown south
businesses and provides access for traffic between Duluth St. and the intersection
of County Rd. 21 and Arcadia St.
3. Develop a street network for the area that reduces right-of-way acquisition and considers the City's options for implementation.

Study Timeline
The Study Timeline displays the related previous studies, recommendations, and Council Actions over the past eight years. Click here to view the Downtown South Study Timeline.

Planning Considerations Map (right)
The Planning Considerations Map displays the approved future changes from the previous studies, essential connections, and other areas of consideration for the Downtown South Area. Click here for a larger version of the Downtown South Planning Considerations Map.

Traffic Volumes and Operations
Existing traffic volumes were collected in the fall of 2011 and spring 2012 before construction began on County Rd. 21. Currently, all of the intersections being studies are operating acceptably (green) except for County Rd. 21 at Hwy. 13 and Hwy. 13 at Franklin Tr. in the afternoon peak hour.
(link to existing turning movement map)

Future traffic volumes were projected for the project area based on the most recent City and County Comprehensive Plans. This includes growth both within Prior Lake and communities outside of Prior Lake. The traffic projections also account for minimal development occurring within the Downtown South area equivalent to 29,000 total square feet of both retail and office space by 2030. By 2030, it is anticipated that the intersection and traffic control will be changed along County Rd. 21 in compliance with the County Rd. 21 Corridor Study. With the traffic growth and intersection changes, it is anticipated that the some of the intersections (Duluth Ave. at Colorado and Duluth at Pleasant) will operate unacceptably and cause undue delay to both residents in the area and business patrons.
(link to 2030 Turning Movement Map)

Citizen’s and Business Group
This study will look into the future roadway network options within the Downtown South Area. The roadway network options will impact the access, properties and development potential in the area. As part of this study, a Citizen’s and Business Group (CBG) will be implemented to represent the interests of all property owners and businesses in the City and communicate with other residents and businesses in the City about the Downtown South Study issues, alternatives and recommendations. The Group will meet two times during the study to discuss local concerns and issues, and comment on alternatives and recommendations with the project team. For more information on the members of the Citizens and Business Group please see the City Council Work Session presentation below.

Alternatives and Evaluation

A total of 15 different alternatives for roadway options were developed during the study. Of these, the Baseline option and four other options were brought forward into formal evaluation. These include:

Baseline Design Concept
Option 1 Design Concept
Option 4 Design Concept
Option 6 Design Concept
Option 9 Design Concept

After additional discussion and comments from the Citizens and Business Group, two additional options were developed and evaluated.

Option 9B Design Concept
Option 9C Design Concept

The evaluation of the alternatives followed established criteria developed during the study.
The evaluation matrices are included in the City Council Work Session presentation provided below.


City Council Work Session on Oct. 8, 2012

A presentation was made to the City Council to inform the Council on the study process, issues, alternatives and recommendations. The Council provided comments during the meeting but no decision was made on a preferred alternative. An Open House will be hosted in Mid-November to inform the community of the study process completed since the first Open House in June and to receive comments from the community. The City Council will make a final decision at a Council Meeting in December. The presentation provided to the City Council, with updates, is provided here.

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