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Traffic Information and Safety

The Public Works – Engineering Department is responsible for the maintenance and installation of street signs, lane striping, and pavement markings on city streets. We also work with residents and businesses on property access and traffic control.

Due to the large number of County and State roads in the city, Lake Elmo works collaboratively with Washington County Public Works and MnDOT Transportation Engineers to address traffic and safety issues within the city.

If you have a traffic safety issue, please refer your concern to the City Engineer.

Helpful Resources

Speed Limits

Speed limits are set by state statute on most typical roads under ideal conditions.  All other speed limits are set by the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation based upon an engineering and traffic investigation.  Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on a residential street is 30 mph.

Click on this link for more information about speed limits http://www.dot.state.mn.us/speed/

Clink on this link for information on the city’s Red Zone Enforcement Initiative.

Traffic Sign Policies

The City of Lake Elmo follows the Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MnMUTCD) for the placement of signs along city streets. This ensures uniform installation of traffic signs installed on city right-of-way and compliance with Federal and State requirements. It also helps city staff respond to resident inquiries and protects against the overuse of signs resulting in their reduced effectiveness.

Stop Sign Policy-Requests

A stop sign is one of the most valuable traffic control devises when used in the correct location and under the right conditions.  A stop sign has one main function: to indicate which vehicle has the right of way when regular rules of the road, sign obstructions, or traffic volumes make that unclear or difficult or dangerous to judge.

Stop signs are not a traffic calming device. National research continues to show that stop signs are not an effective tool for reducing traffic speed and when placed incorrectly can actually render an intersection less safe.

Requests for stop signs should be directed to the City Engineer for consideration. Usually, the City Engineer will require the requesting resident to obtain and submit a neighborhood petition showing strong support for the request. This is to prevent the city from installing the sign at the request of one resident, only to receive complaints about the new sign from others in the neighborhood.

Once received, the City Engineer will evaluate the request and render a decision. The decision is subject to appeal to the City Council. In order for a stop sign to be installed in a new location, the provisions of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices will be followed. The City Engineer will review speed data, accident records, clear view triangle surveys, and any other relevant data when considering a Stop sign at a particular location. Signs will only be placed if they meet warrants.

If a sight obstruction in the clear view triangle is contributing to the sense of danger at the intersection or to a history of accidents at the intersection, staff should order the removal of that obstruction according to City ordinances before considering a Stop sign.

If average speed at the 85th percentile is more than five miles per hour over the speed limit, then police should increase enforcement in the area before considering a Stop sign.

Absent engineering data which clearly indicates the need for a Stop sign, a residential intersection should be left uncontrolled.

“No Parking” Sign Requests

Requests for “No Parking” signs should also be directed to the City Engineer. Again, the City Engineer may require the requesting resident to obtain and submit a neighborhood petition showing strong support for the request, or conduct a neighborhood meeting to solicit input. This is to prevent the city from installing the sign(s) at the request of one resident, only to receive complaints about the new sign(s) from others in the neighborhood.

“No Parking” signs will not be installed on a street when the street design adequately supports parking for the benefit of the public.