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Author Topic: MN-51 and Statute 161.122  (Read 881 times)

MNHighwayMan

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MN-51 and Statute 161.122
« on: April 09, 2017, 10:08:25 PM »

In the Minnesota statutes that define the trunk highway system, there is this single odd statute:

Quote
161.122 RESTRICTIONS ON MARKED TRUNK HIGHWAY 51.

     The location, designation, marking and numbering of Legislative Route No. 125, marked Trunk Highway 51, as that route is established, located, designated, marked, and traveled southerly of University Avenue within the city of St. Paul, shall not be changed by the commissioner of transportation.

     Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the study of options under consideration regarding the completion of Interstate 35E.

What's the history/story behind this? Why does MN-51's south end need to be so explicitly defined, and more or less unchangeable, compared to the rest? It is quite the odd curiosity.
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Bickendan

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Re: MN-51 and Statute 161.122
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2017, 04:11:15 AM »

Is it some sort of protection against truncating the route to I-94 or University Ave? As it is, the Montreal-Snelling routing is the only logical routing between MN 5 and I-94, so rerouting wouldn't make sense.

And, why MN 51 of all routes? I'm generally not a fan of truncating or decommissioning routes/highways, but there is a certain logic to doing so to urban routes and letting the region, county or municipality deal with it.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: MN-51 and Statute 161.122
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2017, 07:37:48 AM »

Is it some sort of protection against truncating the route to I-94 or University Ave? As it is, the Montreal-Snelling routing is the only logical routing between MN 5 and I-94, so rerouting wouldn't make sense.

And, why MN 51 of all routes? I'm generally not a fan of truncating or decommissioning routes/highways, but there is a certain logic to doing so to urban routes and letting the region, county or municipality deal with it.

That theory certainly has merit, since MnDOT is a huge fan of eliminating surface street trunk highways in the Twin Cities area (MN-5, 49, 96, 101, 120, 242, and 244 are all examples/future examples of just that). However, that doesn't particularly explain why MN-51 gets special protection over all the rest.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 07:42:52 AM by MNHighwayMan »
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froggie

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Re: MN-51 and Statute 161.122
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2017, 08:29:05 AM »

To start, it should be noted that, as all of Minnesota's state routes are coded into state statutes, any route truncation requires Legislative action.  So regarding Bickenden's point, it could be argue that ALL Minnesota state routes are "protected".

Now, that said, the language in the route statutes gives MnDOT a fair bit of leeway in choosing which specific routing a given highway route will take.  For example, the language of Legislative Route 110 (L.R. 110) stipulates that it begins at the southern city limits of Minneapolis at Constitutional Route 50 (C.R. 50), and travels north through Minneapolis and continues north, eventually to Aitkin.  The legislative route "affords Minneapolis, Anoka, Ogilvie, Isle, and Aitkin a reasonable means of communication each with the other and other places within the state."  As long as MnDOT routes L.R. 110 to where it serves those communities (generally by passing within their city limits, per precedent and case law), MnDOT has leeway in how it routes it.

For a more specific example: between Minneapolis and Anoka, L.R. 110 originally ran north of Minneapolis on former MN 81 or MN 152 (now county routes of the same number), with CSAH 81 also being US 52 at one point, then up what is now US 169 to Anoka.  Later, with the wave of turnbacks that occurred in Hennepin County in 1988, it was moved onto I-94 to US 169.  After completion of MN 610 across Brooklyn Park, it was rerouted again to follow MN 252 up to MN 610 then over to US 169.

This specific statute (Section 161.122) was implemented back when construction of I-35E was halted and under hot debate (as well as going through the EIS process...initial 35E construction predated the EIS era).  Local residents (and their legislators) were opposed to connecting what is now Ayd Mill Rd directly to I-35E or extending it on the other side past Selby Ave.  Their fear was that MnDOT would reroute MN 51 onto Ayd Mill Rd and that traffic (trucks in particular) would drastically increase (since such a routing would directly connect I-35E to the St. Paul Midway industrial areas), degrading the neighborhoods adjacent to Ayd Mill Rd.  They were successful in getting this statute in as a hedge against MnDOT rerouting MN 51 to favor trucks.
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texaskdog

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Re: MN-51 and Statute 161.122
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2017, 10:46:14 AM »

Yeah, they fear having the traffic on Ayd Mill instead of on Lexington & in their neighborhood more directly.  Derrrr.
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bschultzy

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Re: MN-51 and Statute 161.122
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2017, 02:02:35 PM »

Yeah, they fear having the traffic on Ayd Mill instead of on Lexington & in their neighborhood more directly.  Derrrr.

As stupid is that fear is, people actually do have it. It's absurd, I know. I live around there, and it's annoying how many trucks are on city streets (where allowed).
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texaskdog

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Re: MN-51 and Statute 161.122
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2017, 01:54:19 PM »

Yeah, they fear having the traffic on Ayd Mill instead of on Lexington & in their neighborhood more directly.  Derrrr.

As stupid is that fear is, people actually do have it. It's absurd, I know. I live around there, and it's annoying how many trucks are on city streets (where allowed).

Yes, people just are not thinking. 
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