4/3/12 TPW Committee: Parking > Biking

Sorry I’m a bit late with the TPW Committee this cycle.  Actually it’s a good thing, because they had a special meeting on Thursday the 12th that I’ll cover below.  As always, if you’re curious, see the rest of this year’s summaries here.

The big news in this TPW Committee is that Minneapolis is continuing its proud tradition of innovation* by approving an incredible new experiment in bike facilities on Penn Ave S.  Known as a Quantum Teleportosymbolic Cycle Track, this facility is actually invisible on Penn but can occasionally be seen on a slow, labyrinthine side street somewhere nearby, as long as the occasional signs announcing its presence are not blocked by an SUV.  It has a dual purpose of allowing people to park directly in front of their house and also letting cyclists who get lost in SW Minneapolis and happen to stumble upon a sign know that they’re on a Cycling Route.

Phase one of the construction of this Pseudo Track would be the invisibility phase, in which the facility would be constructed on Penn that would create, as CM Hodges put it at the committee meeting, a “balance” between parking and cycling.  Of course, any scale measuring this would be tilted hard towards parking, because there would only be the customary few feet between the parked cars and the honking raging traffic along Penn for a cyclist to squeeze into.  But don’t worry, there will be a parking spot available directly in front of your house, as long as you don’t live on the west side of the street between 51st and Cromwell, where the existing roadway is 2 feet too narrow to accommodate parking according to MSA guidelines, or the west side along Armatage Park, where there is currently no parking.

Phase two will include, at some unspecified time in the future, signs placed along some unspecified side street somewhere near Penn using some unspecified funding to serve as the collector bikeway that City policy says should be on Penn.  streets.mn attempted to reach the Bike Master Plan for comment, but it was in critical condition at HCMC and not expected to survive past Friday’s council meeting.  In the meantime, instead of actually biking, check out this video about bike lanes that actually exist in some parts of the city.

Now that my spleen is vented, here’s the rest of the summary:

1.  Sheridan Ave S Street Resurfacing Project (39th St W to 43rd St W)  Public hearing for a mill and overlay, street was built in ’48 and last resurfaced in ’93, $185,856 for a half-mile of roadway.

2.  Upton Ave S Street Resurfacing Project (43rd St W to 54th St W) Public hearing for a mill and overlay, “various segments” of the street were built in ’51, ’66, and ’84, cost is $419,174 for about a mile and a quarter of street.  This entire stretch is designated for “Shared-use pavement markings/sharrows” in the Bike Master Plan.  Those don’t require removing parking?  So you’re saying there’s a chance…

3.  Nicollet Ave Construction Services Contract  Kimley-Horn & Associates will be paid for engineering work on the project to reconstruct Nicollet between Lake & 40th Sts.  Combined with the design work they’ve already completed, about 14% of the $5m budget will go to them.

4.  Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery Fence Rehabilitation Project  The MN Historical Society will kick in $150k to restore a cool, scary fence around the oldest cemetery in town.  You can kick in some of your own bucks at a benefit show featuring Low on June 12th.

5.  Talmage Ave SE Street Reconstruction Project – Contribution in Lieu of Assessment  The U is throwing in $192,793.91 (presumably in pennies) towards the construction of this longtime potholed road just on the Minneapolis side of the St Paul border, of which the U owns approximately a quarter of the total street frontage.

6.  Riverside Ave Street Reconstruction Project – Contribution in Lieu of Assessment  Ditto with Riverside, a road that I’m guessing a few more of you are familiar with, only this time they’re generously paying $360,459.72.

7.  Street Easement Deeds  You know that building under construction that looks like a lakefront hotel plopped basically on top of the 46th St LRT station?  There is some complicated real estate wrangling going on under it.

8.  Armatage Area Street Resurfacing Project  A whole bunch of streets in the Southwest corner of the city will get new pavement this year, costing about $1.1m.  With the construction of the new invisible bike lanes on Penn, it should make for a fun year in this neighborhood.

9.  Sabo Bridge Engineering Services  The engineering firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates is making sure nothing is wrong with the Sabo Bridge, besides the obvious, and Minneapolis is splitting the cost with Hennepin County.

14.  Airport Noise Resolution  Far South Minneapolis has apparently gotten noisier lately, and the City is asking the MAC to do the following about it:

  • Move the approximately 32 daily departure operations from a 360 degree heading to a 340 degree heading for those operations going to destinations such as Duluth, International Falls, Winnipeg, etc.
  • Implement the use of three divergent headings (360 degrees, 340 degrees, 320 degrees) for north bound departure operations off Runway 30R.
  • Continue adherence to the Runway Use System (RUS) at all times when traffic levels and prevailing winds allow.

If that doesn’t work, the next resolution will ask residents to stop flying to “destinations such as Duluth, International Falls, Winnipeg, etc.”

Bonus!  4/12/12 Special TPW Committee meeting!

1.    Yard Waste Processing  The contract with Organic Technologies approved by the council about a month ago turned out to be a bit too much for the company, so it’ll be revised to give them about half the work at a slightly higher per ton rate.  It’s still less than the other contractor is paid, so might as well take it.

2.    West Broadway Alternatives Analysis Grant Application  In February, the City Council agreed to a route for the Bottineau Transitway that mostly skipped North Minneapolis and cut through the city’s largest park.  In return, they asked the County and the Met Council to support other transit investments in North.  The money is going where their mouth was, as the three agencies are now jointly applying for Fed AA funding for a West Broadway streetcar.  Along with Central-Nicollet and the Midtown Greenway, that’ll make for a dizzying amount of streetcar studying in Minneapolis.

4 out of 7 ain't bad

*The definition of an innovation is something that’s never been done before except for in dozens of cities in Europe and Japan and California and Portland and Seattle, right?

Alex Bauman

About Alex Bauman

Alex enjoys blogging on his iPhoneDroid while stuck in traffic on his 90 minute daily commute to Roseville from bucolic Staggerford.

8 thoughts on “4/3/12 TPW Committee: Parking > Biking

  1. Scott F

    "…Minneapolis is continuing its proud tradition of innovation* by approving an incredible new experiment in bike facilities on Penn Ave S. Known as a Quantum Teleportosymbolic Cycle Track, this facility is actually invisible on Penn… [snip two and a half more paragraphs of this]"

    Maybe I'm daft, but when you write stuff like this I have no idea what you are actually saying. All I get out of this passage is the vague notion that you are upset about something and trying to be sarcastic, but what that actually is is inscrutable. What was really proposed? Where? And why don't you like it?

    1. Alex BaumanAlex Bauman Post author

      Sorry, but I reserve the right to occasionally be obtusely sarcastic. Here is a straightforward telling:

      In the Summer of last year, the City Council approved the Bike Master Plan, which designated Penn south of 54th St as a collector bikeway, and said that bike lanes should be considered when the street was reconstructed.

      This spring Public Works presented designs for the reconstruction of Penn south of 50th, scheduled to turn the dirt in 2013. The first designs included an option for bike lanes along the entirety of the segment to be rebuilt, then after one community meeting where neighbors expressed concern about parking at business nodes, they came up with an option for a two-way cycle track on the west side of the roadway separated by the boulevard. The next community meeting saw neighbors come out forcefully in favor of retaining convenient parking – as far as I know no one asserted that there is a parking shortage, but rather the issue was being able to park directly in front of your house – so a third layout was prepared without any bike facilities whatsoever. There was vague discussion at the TPW meeting about a route a couple blocks east of Penn being designated for bikes, and the typical patting themselves on the back for being progressive and designing a balanced transportation system. Yeah, Minneapolis' transportation system is really balanced between being able to drive anywhere as fast as you want and being able to park conveniently.

  2. Nathaniel

    What can we do / who can we lobby to get Alex onto the Transportation & Public Works Committee? Write your local Council member. I feel like he knows more about the Committee than people on the Committee.

    1. Alex

      That's really nice of you, Nate. I guess I haven't been clear that the TPW Committee is composed of councilmembers. So for me to get a seat on it I would have to be elected to the city council. Which is not only impossible, it's something I'm not really willing to do. Thanks though.

      1. Nathaniel

        Don't sell yourself short! Alex for City Council!

        As long as political contributions remain tax-deductible, I will financially support your campaign.

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