Greg Cochrane rode his 6-mile commute through the snow in St. Paul to the University of Minnesota on Friday, April 4, 2014: a week and a half ago. Jeffrey Thompson / MPR News

Are Streets Too Inviting to Cars? | MPR

Streets.mn’s Bill Lindeke appears on MPR’s Midmorning discussing (audio at link): Are streets too inviting to cars?

It’s been only weeks since the streets of the Twin Cities were buried in hard-packed snow, with parking limited to one side and intersections made hazardous by icy surfaces and obstructed sight lines.

Now, with the streets mostly free of snow even in Duluth, we can revert to our spring and summer hazards: potholes deep enough to deploy our airbags and car doors swinging open in the path of our bicycles.

Some urban experts think it’s time to reconsider the way we use our streets. As they exist today in most U.S. cities, the roads are primarily — if not solely — for cars. Is it time to rethink that? Might we, for example, want to limit parking to one side year-round?

4 thoughts on “Are Streets Too Inviting to Cars? | MPR

  1. Froggie

    Regarding limiting street parking to one side year-round, I would say no. Street parking on both sides is a method of traffic calming.

    1. Alex CecchiniAlex Cecchini

      I read this a lot, and I don’t disagree with it. But is there a study out there comparing different methods of traffic calming techniques, and which are most effective on different street types (neighborhood, commercial, etc)? It seems the necessity to have parked cars to calm the large volumes of potentially fast-moving cars is a catch-22 of sorts. Do other things like protected bikeways with trees in the raised strip and narrowed lanes without a median protecting alternate directions have the same potential? Obvious tradeoffs exist, notably to businesses, just wondering your thoughts here.

  2. Nathanael

    What do your streets look like?

    Here in my small upstate NY town, two-way streets with one driving lane each way and one parking lane each way are quite reasonable for pedestrians, who generally feel free to just walk out in the middle of the street — the slow cars stop for them.

    Streets with more than one driving lane each way are the *problem* streets with the fast-moving cars. I actually don’t think there should ever be more than one driving lane in each direction, although the occasional “pocket lane” for turns is OK.

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