Trail Users Shouldn’t Have to Stop

A cyclists pauses briefly at Irving Avenue South before proceeding through the intersection.

A cyclists pauses briefly at Irving Avenue South before proceeding through the intersection.

Can we have an honest conversation about stop signs for trail users? I take the Greenway from Whittier to St. Louis Park every weekday, and one of the very worst parts of my commute is where I cross Humboldt and Irving avenues, as illustrated below:

GreenwayI bet you can guess why: it’s because of those two awful stop signs! I’m not going to lie and say that I enjoy putting a stop to all of my beautiful, self-propelled momentum while on my bike, but the problems with these stop signs go beyond that.

They don’t make sense

The Midtown Greenway is a major bike thoroughfare, with over 3,800 daily trips west of Hennepin Avenue. Humboldt and Irving are residential streets on which traffic calming measures, including reversing the direction of one-way traffic, have already been implemented. Residents don’t want people cutting through these streets to bypass Hennepin, so there’s not a ton of traffic. It doesn’t make sense to force thousands of cyclists stop for limited traffic we’re already trying to discourage.

They don’t work

The stop signs don’t work anyways. The reason we have traffic signals is to set clear expectations for behavior. Most drivers are unnecessarily courteous to cyclists, which creates an expectation that drivers will always give up their right-of-way. Most cyclists don’t stop at these stop signs, because often there are no cars waiting to cross. It’s frustrating when drivers are passive and give cyclists the go-ahead when it’s not their turn, and it’s terrifying when drivers are aggressive.

I’ve found that there are three main types of drivers when it comes to their interactions with cyclists:

  • Passive: The majority of drivers fall into this category. They stop at the stop sign and wait for bikers to pass. Are they courteous, or just afraid of killing a cyclist? I don’t know. I do know that this may be the most frustrating situation. I’m 10 feet away from the stop sign and the car is just sitting there. They wave me through the stop sign, even though I’m supposed to stop. A cop car did this to me once. I thought it was a trick.
  • Assertive: These drivers treat the stop sign like any other stop sign, and they treat a bicycle like any other vehicle. They’ll stop. They’ll go when it is their turn. They do not wait unnecessarily. I love assertive drivers.
  • Aggressive: Aggressive drivers are pissed that you’re biking and they’re especially pissed that you’re enjoying yourself. They’re convinced you are going to disobey the stop sign. They will roll through their own stop sign and then honk at you if you start to progress through the intersection without coming to a complete stop. You have no idea how the driver is going to behave, and the vast majority of drivers you interact with are so passive it’s infuriating.

Most drivers are way too passive at these stop signs, which means that most cyclists won’t stop. It’s absurd to have stop signs that people are regularly going to disobey. The argument that cyclists don’t obey traffic signals is one of the often repeated assertions made by angry motorists who don’t want cycling infrastructure funded. As you can see from the comments below, taken from a recent Star Tribune article on potentially eliminating the 10mph trail speed limit for cyclists, angry motorists are convinced that bikers never follow the rules.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 6.35.57 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 6.38.41 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 6.41.24 PMSure, cyclists don’t like to stop. A study in Portland found that cyclists came to a full stop at stop signs only 7% of the time, but only 22% of cars fully stopped. The aversion to stopping seems to be a human flaw, not limited to cyclists. That said, coming to a full stop on a bike sucks, all that momentum and effort wasted! To encourage cycling, we should make it easy and fun, which yes, includes limiting the places at which cyclists have to stop.

If, as it seems, we want to discourage rush hour vehicle traffic on Humboldt and Irving, it makes sense to allow trail users the right of way and force vehicles to stop and wait at the Greenway. Maybe it will discourage people from driving down those streets; maybe it will even encourage them to hop on a bike instead. Drivers are not benefiting from the trail facing stop signs on Humboldt and Irving. If anything, they’re more nervous and more frustrated than drivers who are required to stop for Greenway traffic on James.

DSC01701

Cyclists cross James Avenue South without having to stop.

When crossing James, I know that cars will stop and wait for me; it feels safe and good. For those passive drivers who would already stop and wait, it is no different. For those assertive drivers, they will still take the initiative to go if I’m not at the intersection yet. And for those aggressive drivers, well, it gives me the security as a trail user that I’m not going to get honked at, yelled at, or run over.

The stop signs for trail users on Humboldt and Irving make those intersections less safe and make cycling through that area less fun. Let’s get rid of them.

This post was cross posted at bikinginmpls.com.


Streets.mn is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.

, , ,

64 Responses to Trail Users Shouldn’t Have to Stop

  1. Matt Brillhart April 30, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    I agree with everything you’ve said here. Let’s get rid of these stop signs. For roughly 5 months out of the year, bike traffic is light enough that motorists stopping at the Greenway likely won’t encounter a cyclist at all. Another couple months on either end of winter, bike traffic is maybe “medium”. It’s really only the peak hours, on the nicest days, on the 4.5 nice weather months of the year that bike traffic is so heavy on the Greenway that motorists will be delayed – anywhere from several seconds to maaaaybe a full minute or so during rush hour. Motorists can just think of it like an at-grade rail crossing 😉

    • Lindsey Wallace
      Lindsey Wallace April 30, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

      Agreed, I don’t think the situation would be much different for motorists, so why not experiment with giving bikes the priority?

      • Cedar May 2, 2015 at 8:02 am #

        Please keep in mind that pedestrians cross there, too — although bikes in that location rarely yield to them. There is a playground nearby as well as a preschool, so not only do you have pedestrians, but you have a population of young children and their parents attempting to cross safely. It’s not an issue in the winter, but on busy summer days it can be an issue.

  2. Nick April 30, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    While I’ve had a few run ins with autos at those intersections, the most recent was with another cyclist at Humbolt. A car passed through the intersection on Humbolt in “assertive” fashion and just as the waiting groups of cyclists on the greenway were starting to take their turn to proceed, a dad on his bike with a couple kids in tow barrels through the intersection on the sidewalk without stopping, loudly informing everyone who has now had to awkwardly stop again, “You have a stop sign!” There wasn’t an incident beyond some collective teeth clicking by the people he cut off, but if the situation had been slightly different someone easily could have crashed into him and/or his kids and/or each other while avoiding him and his kids. I should mention that its generally unexpected for someone to be crossing the Greenway at that speed from that direction because he was traveling on the sidewalk against the direction of traffic on Humbolt, and would have had a stop sign of his own to follow, should he have been riding on the road.

    Removing those annoying stop signs would be a great improvement and hopefully would provide a calming measure to “aggressive” drivers (and I guess cyclists) crossing Humbolt and Irving.

    The only reason I would be leery about removing the stop signs for the greenway at Humbolt and Irving would be an increased difficulty crossing on foot. Considering I can’t recall ever having an issue crossing at James on foot, I don’t think that would be too much of a concern.

    • Lindsey Wallace
      Lindsey Wallace April 30, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

      Things like that have definitely happened to me before, with motorists crossing the intersection aggressively and yelling at me that I had a stop sign. It’s scary and it would be nice to reduce those negative interactions as much as possible.

  3. Nicole April 30, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    This is great. I don’t often use the Greenway west of Bryant, but the few times I’ve dealt with these two intersections I’ve found the behaviors as you’ve described and the accompanying uncertainty are more annoying than the actual stopping.

  4. Nicole April 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    Spot On Lindsey! Trail crossings, especially the Greenway, should have minimal stop signs, and certainly not ones on calm residential roads.

    If we’re going to use LOS as a measure for car traffic, we need to apply it to all modes, and the bicycles are clearly the heavier users at these intersections.

  5. Adam April 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    In part 2 of this post, you can make the same points about the greenway where it crosses 26, 27, 29 & 30th ave s east of Hiawatha.

    • Rosa May 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

      I would actually argue for either timed lights or a 4 way stop at those crossings.

      The current system, where cars are always supposed to stop for bikes & pedestrians, but most of them never do, is terrible. It rewards bad, unsafe driving (cars that pretend not to see cyclists or never slow down never have to stop!) and punishes good, safe driving (cars that do stop have to wait for ALL the bikes and sometimes that is a lot of bikes). It also rewards the fastest, most able cyclists the most and endangers the slow, slow-to-start (like my 9 year old), or hesitant cyclists, plus wheelchair users and pedestrians.

    • Lindsey Wallace
      Lindsey Wallace May 1, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

      In the not too distant future, the city is going to experiment with removing the stop signs at 29th for 6 weeks to see how that goes. They’re considering options for 27th and 30th too!

      • Rosa May 2, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

        I wonder how many of the people who drive on those streets even know there are stop signs for the trail, and if that knowledge changes their behavior at all. The signage is terrible and mostly ignored in general, on all sides.

  6. brad April 30, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    The same dynamic applies on the other end of the Greenway too, especially east of 26th

  7. Paul Strebe April 30, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Good observations. I think non-bicyclists forget that it’s OUR physical effort being used to propel the bike, and that physically — and psychologically — it’s a downer to stop when there’s no clear benefit. I’ve also heard drivers complain that bicyclists don’t come to a complete stop (which of course all cars do…), forgetting that unless you can do a track stand, you often have to dismount (and perhaps unclip). All bicyclists know this of course, but I think all drivers should be forced to “ride a mile in our shoes” before they can get their license renewed every few years.

  8. Alex April 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    This was considered several years ago, at the time there was a stop sign on James also. I think at the time Public Works said there was a sightline problem on Humboldt, which is of course a silly excuse given that stop signs exist all over the world where sightlines are even worse. But not sure how receptive public works would be given that conditions haven’t significantly changed. Worth a shot either way.

    • Janne Flisrand
      Janne May 1, 2015 at 8:44 am #

      Actually, I think the reason it wasn’t changed was because the council member at the time opposed the change (possibly because a few homeowners who live in East Isles prompted her to?). If I recall correctly, the staff recommendation was to give the trail right of way.

  9. Walker Angell
    Walker Angell April 30, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

    Good and welcomed post!

    Stop signs, for cars or bikes, are extremely rare outside of the U.S. Instead they will use Sharks Teeth to indicate that traffic from one direction or another should yield right-of-way. This works well and has the benefit of not creating a conflict of people disobeying the law if they ride through a junction when there are is no traffic to stop for (that feels exceptionally ridiculous).

    The Netherlands will always give right-of-way to a bikeway if motor traffic is below approximately 2000 vehicles per day or if bike traffic is something like 60% or greater of crossing motor traffic. They also have some calculations for how often bicycle riders should be required to yield. From memory at no more than 40% of junctions along most routes and much stricter on major bike routes. This is all in the CROW manual for anyone interested in the specifics.

    • Lindsey Wallace
      Lindsey Wallace April 30, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

      Yes, there are definitely ways that we could do these kinds of crossings and intersections better. I’m actually going to the Netherlands in a couple weeks and I’m very excited to see all the bike infrastructure there!

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell May 1, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

        You’ll have a great time. Are you doing a study tour with Hembrow or Mobycon or anything similar?

        • Lindsey Wallace
          Lindsey Wallace May 1, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

          Nope, just going to travel around. Planning to do some bike riding in Barcelona, the Croatian countryside, and in Amsterdam.

          • Walker Angell
            Walker Angell May 2, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

            You’ll enjoy it. Try to get out of Amsterdam if you can. Assen, Gronningen, Utrecht, and Den Bosh all have better infrastructure.

            If you haven’t already you should blow through David Hembrow’s A View From The Cyclepath and Mark Wagenbur’s BicycleDutch videos. Also Kevin Krizek’s posts on here about Barcelona.

    • Janne Flisrand
      Janne May 1, 2015 at 8:47 am #

      There was actually a streets.mn post about this sharks teeth thing.

      http://streets.mn/2014/01/21/a-radical-intersection-recommendation/

  10. Walker Angell
    Walker Angell April 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    Vadnais Heights thinks that bike paths should have lots of stop signs. I suppose they think its healthier for people to do intervals.

    • Matt April 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

      This is almost comical (if it weren’t so downright disappointing).

    • Thomas Mercier May 1, 2015 at 10:52 am #

      At least those roads appear to have some reasonable traffic volumes. The city of Minnetonka Beach insisted that there be stop signs on private driveways that cross the Dakota Rail RT. Needless to say compliance is relatively low and some cyclists simply ride the public street that parallels the trail to avoid them altogether.

      • Alan May 2, 2015 at 10:42 am #

        Haha! Yes! I live in WBL and recognize that as the trail along Centerville Road over in Vadnais Heights. I bicycle commute through the area. And I believe there are 3 or 4 other stop signs before the ones in your photo even! The trail is a joke for any competent cyclist for sure. And trails which are not at grade are just annoying for riding. I’m by no means knocking the trail. For casual slow riding or ped’ing it’s OK. In my opinion when trails such as that one run along properties with driveways, hedges, intersections, and with lousy sight lines, etc, it may as well be classified as a sidewalk and generally avoided by cyclists. Centerville Road is great to ride with wide shoulders anyway.

  11. GlowBoy April 30, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    Great article, and I agree 100%. Those stop signs are particularly ridiculous since the cross streets have far lower (car) traffic than the path does. Even when I was on the Greenway back in February that seemed to be the case. There’s one stretch of bike path in Richfield (75th St, just west of Penn where it passes the South Education Center, part of the Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail) where you have have to stop three times (for driveway crossings!) in LESS than a block.

    Fortunately I think the paths here are actually better in this respect than the (fewer in number) of paths in Portland, where I recently moved from. As irritating as these stop signs are, things could be worse.

    • Rosa May 5, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

      I noticed just today that if you turn east off the Greenway at 28th Street instead of going across to the Sabo Bridge, there is a stop sign for both 20th & 21st Avenues.

      20th Avenue is just the driveway for the South Waste Transfer Station and it closes its gates really early – we went by at 4:30 today and it was closed. Stop sign (ignored by everyone) on the trail for 0 traffic.

  12. Eric W. April 30, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    “The reason we have traffic signals is to set clear expectations for behavior.”

    Yes!

    I experienced firsthand (from the car perspective) the result of the combination of a trail with a stop sign and differing driver responses about a month ago in St. Louis Park. My wife was driving and I was in the passenger seat. The road, which we had never been on before, had two lanes in each direction; we were in the left lane. I noticed that the traffic in the right lane had stopped and as we passed by the forward-most car I turned to see a bicyclist careening right into my door. Of course we were terrified that we had just killed someone, but he got up and insisted he was fine (despite our car having $3000 in damage).

    It turned out we had crossed the Cedar-Lake Trail. Bikers on the trail have a stop sign with an additional “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” sign underneath. Apparently a driver in the right lane was trying to be nice and let the bikes go through. I’m guessing the bike riders who had stopped and were waiting to cross saw that there was traffic still moving in the left lane, but the rider who hit us was moving so fast that he just went for it without thinking.

    So whether the stop signs stay or go, the safest thing to do is just follow the rules in place. If you’re supposed to stop, stop; if you’re supposed to keep moving, keep moving.

    • Eric Anondson
      Eric Anondson April 30, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

      Sounds like you were on Belt Line. Seriously poor sight lines worsen the crossing there. St. Louis Park put up the signs on Belt Line and Wooddale after a neighbor of mine was biking across Belt Line on the trail and got hit and put in a coma for a few days. At this time there wasn’t even a possible “refuge” in the center, it was a four-lane-death-road straight across.

      • Eric W. April 30, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

        Yep – you guessed it: Beltline going south from Highway 7. It seems almost miraculous that this bicyclist wasn’t seriously hurt. (He wasn’t wearing a helmet.) I imagine he was hurting the next morning, because even *I* could feel it in my back later that day.

    • Matty Lang
      Matty Lang April 30, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

      I’m sorry the Cedar Lake Trail got in the way of your driving. I’m also sorry that you decided to motor past a line of stopped cars and then caused a collision by doing so.

      • Eric W. April 30, 2015 at 11:59 pm #

        That’s interesting, because as much as we were apologetic about the collision and concerned that the rider was injured, he apologized repeatedly for running at top commuting speed through a stop sign and into our car.

        I’m sorry that you somehow misconstrued my post as a complaint about Cedar Lake Trail.

      • ae_umn May 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

        A real class act.

        Come on, now. Cars slow down ALL THE TIME in the right lane. Sometimes they’re stopping, sometimes they’re turning, sometimes they’re being idiots and texting (so they’re unaware of their speed).

        This accident was the result of bad road design. Yes, drivers need to be hypervigilant. That doesn’t mean that this accident was a driver blatantly breaking the rules.

        That’s what makes road design so sinister today: What we might call “driver privilege” makes it difficult for others trying to get around outside of an automobile. No, cars aren’t intending to make it difficult for others and probably don’t even realize it. They’re just trying to get to their destination. But by doing so with the rules we have, they can unintentionally endanger others.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller April 30, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

      So you approached stopped traffic from behind, and rather than find out why it stopped, decided to speed around it? And you think someone else was the problem?

      is that what the rules in place say you should do?

      • Eric W. May 1, 2015 at 12:03 am #

        No. There were two lanes of traffic. Cars in the left lane (including ours) were moving. At some point the traffic in the right lane stopped. We didn’t “speed around” anyone. We were just driving straight down a road.

      • Monte Castleman
        Monte Castleman May 1, 2015 at 8:20 am #

        Which Minnesota Statute specifies that you have to figure out the exact reason traffic is stopped on the right before passing on the left?

        • Adam Froehlig
          Adam Froehlig May 1, 2015 at 9:15 am #

          There are none, to my knowledge. However, in this scenario, Section 169.21, Subdivision 2(a) stipulates that drivers must stop for a pedestrian using a crosswalk, and Section 169.222, Subdivision 4(f) says that bicycles using a crosswalk are considered pedestrians for right-of-way purposes.

          That said, under Section 169.222, Subdivision 1, the bicyclist should have stopped at the stop sign.

          • Joe T May 1, 2015 at 10:28 am #

            169.21 Subdivision 2(b) indicates you will not overtake and pass such a vehicle if stopped for this reason, so yes Monte, you might not need to know why, but you have to be able to eliminate that the reason is a pedestrian.

            I’m not sure anyone knows if he did stop or not, but having the right of way ceded to you is kinda an exception… Perhaps should have crossed to the end of the lane and then stopped again.

          • Monte Castleman
            Monte Castleman May 1, 2015 at 11:52 am #

            Is there something about stopping in a traffic lane where it’s not required? Impeding Traffic or something?

            Sounds like there’s plenty of blame to go around to all parties in this incident as well as the engineers as I don’t see traffic volumes justifying four lanes.

          • Dave K. May 1, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

            I live in SLP near this intersection and avoid it at all costs when on a bike. There have been multiple fatal bike accidents there. The crossings at Beltline, Woodale and Blake are not crosswalks and there are signs at each one saying “All Trail Users Must Stop and Yield”.

            Every spring the city posts a warning for motorists to NOT stop and wave-through cyclists at these crossings for the very reason that this article mentions. This crossing also happens to be really close to the SLP police station so you see a lot of police vehicles in the area and they do not stop at that intersection. I have followed them through as a cyclists waits.

            Look in the lower-left on page 14 of the Park Perspectives.

            A few years ago this crossing was redesigned to improve the safety. They added an s-curve in the trail to dissuade bikes from riding straight through and added a space between the traffic lanes so cyclists can cross the north and south bound lanes independently. I’m not sure but it seems to have helped.

            • Adam Froehlig
              Adam Froehlig May 1, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

              St. Louis Park may think otherwise, but those trail crossings do meet the legal definition of an unmarked crosswalk. And drivers are legally required to yield to pedestrians (including bicyclists who stop at their stop sign first) at those crossings.

              • Eric Anondson
                Eric Anondson May 1, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

                What I’ve been told by city officials is that drivers only needed to stop for pedestrians or cyclists who have dismounted and are walking their bike across the trail crossing. Mounted cyclists had to wait.

                • Sean Hayford Oleary
                  Sean Hayford Oleary May 1, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

                  There are two ways to conceive of the trail. The first (and more natural, IMHO) is to conceive of it as a sidewalk. If the trail is a sidewalk, the crossing is an unmarked crosswalk (despite what St. Louis Park might think) — and your right-of-way would be the same whether you’re walking or driving your bike.

                  The alternate way is to conceive of the trail as a normal “highway”. In this case, the crossing (since it is not marked) would simply be “an intersection with no marked crosswalk”, and this distinction would work. People on feet have right-of-way, people on bike do not. Of course, if there is striping, it’s a crosswalk regardless.

                  And of course, no matter what, the sign that claims that “ALL trail traffic” (including pedestrians) must stop and yield has no basis that I’m aware of. I note that the same sign is even used on the N Cedar Lake Trail for *driveway* crossings to a townhome development.

                  • Monte Castleman
                    Monte Castleman May 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

                    I’ve thought about the concept of a green circle “Go” sign that would clarify that the other direction had a stop in situations where it might not be obvious.

                • Sean Hayford Oleary
                  Sean Hayford Oleary May 1, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

                  But the fact that you could have a group of people interested in traffic and bicycling, aware of bike-ped laws, sitting on their computers poring over the language of our statutes and looking at the intersection in question — and still not reaching clear consensus on correct traffic behavior seems to be a clear indication that engineers have failed spectacularly at these crossings.

                  • Lindsey Wallace
                    Lindsey Wallace May 1, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

                    Yes. This point exactly. If we can’t figure it out, casual drivers and trail users are going to be confused.

                  • Walker Angell
                    Walker Angell May 2, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

                    Yes!

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller May 1, 2015 at 9:43 am #

          Who said anything about “exact reason?” But one of the reasons that four lane undivided roads can be accurately called “death roads” is that we have a driving culture that exacts to a blockage ahead of us with “how do I get around” instead of “I need to be one high alert because something is up?”

          But I was unfair. I assumed there was a lane change involved, like the kid in St. Paul who was killed. This situation not that bad.

          • Eric W. May 1, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

            I’ve looked back at my post and think that my trying to be brief — and writing with the benefit of hindsight — allowed a plausible, but inaccurate interpretation of the events.

            As you say, there was no lane change involved. But also, the cars in both lanes were moving together — and rather slowly — until just a couple of seconds before we crossed the trail, when one of the drivers in the right lane decided to stop. The bicyclists waiting to cross had not even started to move into the intersection when the faster rider passed them and collided with my car. We were moving slowly enough that if there had been time for a pedestrian (or a bicycle crossing from a stop) to enter the intersection, we would have seen them and had time to stop.

            In any case, my intent was to illustrate Lindsey’s point in the article about stop signs on trails being ineffective due to inconsistent behavior of drivers. My solution to this particular trail crossing would be to either mark the trail crossing with stripes and give trail users unambiguous right of way or reduce Beltline Blvd to one lane in each direction. Or both.

    • Janne Flisrand
      Janne May 1, 2015 at 8:55 am #

      St Louis Park has consistently “upgraded” crossings of the Greenway and Cedar Lake Trail to be more dangerous and confusing for all people in the intersections — drivers or people riding bikes. They’ve taken streets that were one-lane in each direction and turned them into two in each direction — which invites precisely the problem you experienced.

      I’m not going to victim blame here — and to be clear I think both you and the person on the bike were victims. The street design is the cause of this incident, not the behavior of anyone (except possibly the “passive” driver who was waving the person across by yielding inappropriately — but again, culturally appropriate behavior allowed and encouraged by the bad street design). I will note that as someone who bikes these trails, I have had drivers yell at me for not going when they yielded to me in the exact location where you had your incident. It’s tough to not go when someone does you a “favor” and then yells at you to appreciate and accept that “favor.”

      The solution is for SLP’s engineers to learn how to do this right, and then to retrofit their intersections so that it’s clear to everyone how they are supposed to behave. People want to do the right thing and be safe — no matter how they travel. That may be yielding (inappropriately) allowing a more vulnerable road user to cross the street, (dangerously) not figuring out why there is a line of stopped cars, or (foolishly) going because a driver WON’T go through despite having the right of way when seeing a person a bike waiting to cross.

      • Sean Hayford Oleary
        Sean Hayford Oleary May 1, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

        Well-said, Janne. When I look at their attractive, urban development, it seems like SLP is the real leader in the first ring, but when I see their bike-ped accommodations, it makes the city dramatically less attractive. SLP has some of the greatest trails in the metro running through their city, with amazing, high-quality connections to downtown and uptown, and they’ve completely squandered them.

        Even brand-new major streets like Park Pl Blvd are simply shameful in the environment they create for anybody not in a car.

  13. fIEtser April 30, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

    Rejigger the title of David Hembrow’s post and presto, we have the solution.

  14. Sean May 1, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Non issue. If something like this bugs you enough to write a post on it, you aint been out there long enough. I find it kind of annoying that there are suggestions to change the set up of the stop signs. Some intersections are open, some have stops. Seems fair enough. Even if I have right of way I will usually stop, or prepare to stop quick, for the accursed automobiles. It is a matter of survival frankly. I have been tagged too many times. I have commuted, all seasons for 12-13 years or more and I would say, most cyclist should ignore most traffic signals and treat all intersections as hazard. Most people do it instinctively but folks only notice when they cut through a red. This business about taking such a non issue to city hall???? energy that should be spent somewhere else.

  15. Dale May 1, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    What about yeild signs? Don’t they make those in Minnesota?

    Why is the vocabulary a binary “stop” or “go”?

    • Rosa May 1, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

      because cars barely slow down for yield signs.

      The most obvious sign of this is that at all the places along the light rail where cars have a right-turn cut, and a yield sign, the cars never ever yield unless there is an actual train blocking the road (and then they typically stop in the crosswalk anyway) and even then it’s such a hit and miss thing, the signage often includes a big light in the shape of a train for the safety of the sign-ignoring drivers.

  16. Z. Fechten May 2, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    As a traffic engineer and cyclist, it seems to me that many trail crossing could be converted from stop control to yield control. If the sight lines are good enough that an approaching cyclist can see cars on the street from far enough back to stop or slow down and let the car go first, a yield sign can be justified.

    Most cyclists do that at stop signs anyway, and safe behavior should be legal. If yield signs were the default, when a trail user came across a stop sign, he or she would know that stopping was really needed at that intersection.

    I think the reason stop signs are used so extensively in the U.S. is an overabundance of caution due to fear of liability.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell May 2, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

      At some of these it would seem that the cars should yield rather than bikes.

      • Z. Fechten May 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

        If the trail gets more traffic than the street, you may be right.

  17. Stuart May 3, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    Late to the conversation, but my nomination for most useless bike stop sign. This one isn’t dangerous like many of the others. It’s just pointless.

    Cedar Lake Trail at the Linden Yards entrance.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9749383,-93.2927614,96m/data=!3m1!1e3

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller May 4, 2015 at 10:14 am #

      I stopped for a truck there on Saturday, the driver of which insisted on letting me go first.

  18. Keithan May 7, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Wondering why it is acceptable for cyclist who ran into the back of my car when I stopped at a stop sign and then chase me home screaming obscenities and “share the road’ slogan?

    Cyclist refusal to obey traffic rules have caused no less than 3 rear end collisions at the intersection of 26th Street and Hiawatha Avenue. Twice in the last week, I have had to stop on the light rail tracks because cyclists on the bike path refuse to even slow down when entering the intersection.

    Why again is that cars are required to stop on the light rail tracks and cyclist are NOT required to obey the STOP sign on the bike path? Is it more desirable for a car to be hit by a train, rather than a cyclist slow down and obey the stop signs?

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller May 7, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

      I’d be much more concerned about your complaints if the cyclists were operating 3,000 high speed fortresses.

      Its a shame that some cyclists aren’t more careful and more compliant with traffic laws. But not as unfortunate as the many drivers who aren’t either, because its just not as deadly to others.

      As for the crossing you’re talking about, those are some particularly brazen cyclists you found, because every time I approach it on a bike there are cars coming from all directions, most of whom are not paying attention to bikes and many of whom are going faster than they are legally allowed to.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bipartisan Bill Proposes National Complete Streets Policy | Streetsblog.net - May 1, 2015

    […] on the Network today: Streets.mn says trail users shouldn’t be forced to stop at every intersection on some of […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP (162.209.59.194) doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP (173.236.65.81) and so is spam.