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?

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4 Responses to Are Streets Too Inviting to Cars? | MPR

  1. Walker Angell
    Walker Angell April 16, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    I think it was that quote above what did to our streets what’s been done to them today.

  2. Froggie April 18, 2014 at 9:47 am #

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

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini April 18, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      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.

  3. Nathanael April 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    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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