MNDOT meeting Questions and Answers from 8/21 meeting

Questions and Answers from MNDOT/ CPNA Monday August 21, 2017

Natalie Reis MNDOT, Aaron Tag MNDOT, Paul Miller City of Minneapolis

Sound Wall along University AV Presentation by MNDOT followed by

Q and A. Natalie, Aaron and Paul gave a brief presentation and then answered questions.


To be eligible for a sound wall along a State Hwy, the houses must be built prior to 1997 and decibel levels must be over 65 during the day and the number of houses need to meet a state minimum.

The area from 37th AV NE to Edge Place meets all the criteria.

The project is funded by a combination of sources as follows, 90% MNDOT funds 10% city funds.  If the vote is negative, MNDOT will not be back in the future. If the vote is positive the contribution by the city must be allocated for the project to occur.

Votes are given to the houses that will receive the noise reduction using noise modeling.

Currently proposed for fiscal year 2021 which means it could start as soon as the 2020 construction season.

Q1 Will this help with noise from RR Yard?  A1: No , strictly to mitigate HWY noise

Q2 Will this put us into a noise bowl for other noise (RR)? A2 In order to get an increase in noise the sound would have to be coming from 200 feet away or nearer, the RR is well over 500 feet away to the west.

Q3 Would planting on the wall (ivy, other creepers) help deaden noise from the RR side?

A3 It might but it is likely not able to be funded within the MNDOT limited budget, You could ask the City to pitch in more for aesthetics?

Q4 What is 5 decibels? A5 Less than someone talking in the next room?

Q5 Who will maintain the wall if it is built?  A5 It is MNDOT’s responsibility to maintain the HWY side of the wall, often municipalities will take care of the back side.

Q6 Noise walls by HWY 100 seem to be working really well, will this wall be similar? A6: Yes

Q7 Will this be coordinated with the Columbia Heights noise wall so they are consistent? A7: We would try?

Q8 Why here?  A8: This area was ranked #8 of all the areas that qualified for the program.

Q9 What would happen to the plantings along the fence line recently planted?  A9 It is within 10 feet of the right of way line so most of it would be removed.

Q10 Who votes? A10 The houses affected vote and then the City must take a positive vote and be willing to pay for it to be built.

Q11 Will the Welcome sign need to be taken down?  A11 It can be worked around.

Q12 Does the wall affect property values?  A12 It is a judgement call based on personal opinion, no studies with results prove in either side.

Q13 How is the vote tallied?  A13 We need at least 50% replying and then it is a majority vote.

Q14 What will the city do?  A14 Councilman Kevin Reich would like to see more than a 50% return rate with a high percentage requesting the wall in order to approve funding.

Q15 Could the city money be spent in a different way to help households to mitigate the sound?  A15 The councilman would be willing to listen to alternate proposals.  The city would fund this out of its capital program.

Q16 Would this affect where snow blows or is plowed?  A16 The front side not really, back side it may take longer for snow to melt.

Q17 Could we just change the speed limit? A17 The speed would need to drop by a minimum of 20MPH.  The state could look at it, but because of the design of the road you would likely not be able to slow folks down. It is a very unrealistic expectation.

Q18 Can we do anything about the trucks downshifting?  A18 That is more of an enforcement issue.  This wall is really only dealing with the steady background sound.

Q19 Will MNDOT do anything about the light timing or speed for the likely senior riders who may need to get to the bus stop on 37th? A19: Signal timing is operated by the city?

Q20 Which city as 37th is the city and county line?  A20 Unknown at this time.

Q21 Could we fund a pedestrian crossing instead of a wall?  A21 Not from this pot of funds.

Q22 Do the walls affect crime statistics? A22 Mostly livability, graffiti and we try to take care of that quickly.

Q23 Would more trees and plantings give the same sound reduction as a wall? A23 Only if you plant conifers 100ft deep.

Q24 What happens if the wall is built and it is hated?  A24 It stays

Q25 Can we have a clear (transparent) noise wall? A25 They cost twice as much.

Q26 Could there be some other benefit worked into the wall like solar panels?  A26 This would be something to ask the City?

Q27 How big of a margin is the city council looking for?  A27 Not known

Q28 How many people need to vote?  A28 We would want at least a 50% reply rate so 25 households.

Q29 How many total possible? A29 50 households with 3 votes per household (all three to a house if owner occupied homesteaded) otherwise 2 votes for the owner, 1 for the renter.

Q30 Who proposes action to the city council when the votes are tallied?  A30  The councilmemeber for the area.

Q31 How much will this noise wall cost the city? A31 Somewhere between $90-$100,000.

Q32 What has been the result of these walls? Positive? Negative? Liked? Hated?

A32 No serious studies done, mostly thought to reduce the noise. No good statistics.

Q33 Is there follow up by MNDOT if people don’t reply (vote)?  A33 Not really.

Q34 Is there a cost comparison to upgrading the housing from the airport noise to see if that would be more cost effective?  A34 Not research MNDOT would do.

Q35 Who would we lobby to get our opinions across? Q36 The City Council, especially CM Reich.

Q36 Will the vote of the city be taken prior to the new City Council being seated? A36 Likely

Q37 Will the affected households be assessed for any of the costs?  A37 No.

Other Comments

This will make us even less visible as a part of Minneapolis

Wall will be 20ft high

Noise from accelerating vehicles from intersection would be blocked

Would block the skyline view from backyards

As of today (8/21/2017)  the tally is 19 points yes, 15 points no

8:00pm meeting completed

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