Friday Photo: What Does This Say?

What does this say? What will it say after the homeowner removes the guard tape?

MUP, Bike Path, Interrupted

MUP along McMenemy Street, Vadnais Heights

Walker Angell

About Walker Angell

Walker Angell is a writer who focuses mostly on social and cultural comparisons of the U.S. and Europe. He occasionally blogs at, a blog focused on everyday bicycling and local infrastructure for people who don’t have a chamois in their shorts. And on twitter @LocalMileMN

15 thoughts on “Friday Photo: What Does This Say?

  1. Sean Hayford OlearySean Hayford Oleary

    That the homeowner is volunteering to seal-coat 15-20′ of public trail for free? 🙂

    You’d like the Three Rivers markings for driveway crossings where the driveway is asphalt (same material as trail). They mark a white line distinguishing where the driveway ends and the trail beings, presumably to discourage cars in the driveway from blocking the trail.

  2. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

    I think this gets to a deeper problem: How can a suburban MUP be perceived as valuable to road users and land owners when it crosses many driveways like this?

      1. Stacy

        It seems like it may be a question of maintenance:

        When the materials are the same, the homeowner may take on the responsibility for maintaining the trail that crosses her driveway, and with good reason. It would look pretty goofy to sealcoat everything but the trail. Plus that part of the trail probably needed the maintenance before the rest of the trail as it is used by cars, garbage trucks(?), snow plows, ect.

        To have driveways similar to those shown in the video above, the governing agency would have to take on maintenance of the trail and the part of the driveway that connects to the street. Is that something we want? (Higher taxes, less money for future improvements and all that.)

        It’s a question of balance and who is responsible for what. I would say in the first photo, that yes it creates a minor inconvenience for trail users, but it also provides a maintenance benefit to those users.

        1. Walker AngellWalker Angell Post author

          Stacy, the problem is that this endangers people walking or riding bicycles along the path. This gives the impression that cars have the right-of-way and it removes the message that a continuous path gives of ‘here’s a path you’re getting ready to cross, be careful because there may be people on it’.

          Think about it this way. If you’re driving north on McMenemy (e.g., coming towards the camera) and planning to turn in to this driveway to deliver something, the way it’s now painted you’ll likely pull in quite quickly with little or most likely zero regard for anyone on the path. That’s dangerous. However, if the path is continuous across the driveway then when you’re pulling in you’ll get this bit of a message that you’re crossing something and that you need to be more cautious.

  3. Froggie

    This photo exemplifies why some consider MUPs to be nothing more than glorified sidewalks. Sidewalks that, in this particular case, the adjacent homeowner thinks belong to them and not to the public…

  4. Steve Taylor

    I guess I’m a little confused. If maintenance was being done just on the trail itself instead of a homeowner sealing it as part of a driveway resealing wouldn’t the results be exactly the same, ie. if the trail was being sealed by the government wouldn’t it be blocked off as well?

    1. Walker AngellWalker Angell Post author

      The blocking off is the minimal element. The major issue is the coloring and the safety issue it creates because of the message it sends about right-of-way.

  5. Andrew Andrusko

    It screams I am maintaining my right of access to my property. Or maybe, I want my chip seal to be perfectly uniform all the way down the slope of the driveway.

    To be fair to the homeowner, it would be interesting to the know provenance of the trail, the home and property rights as they relate to access. Does the author know if the homeowner granted an easement for the MUP prior to it being built?

  6. Walker AngellWalker Angell Post author

    Most suburban 2-lane roads that I’m aware of have a 60′ ROW so I would guess that this is built within the ROW.

    Imagine if I painted a crosswalk on hiway 96 in Shoreview where I wanted one just because I wanted it there. I’m guessing the city/county wouldn’t be too happy because it changes the way the road functions. This is not much different.

  7. Jule Audy

    What does it say? If one is honest, the obvious answer is MUPs are stupid. I recently rode many blocks south on the path down Lexington from County Road B(2?). The walkers were annoying, intersections sandy, and driveway and intersection transitions were harsh. Merged to the street and I felt happier and safer.

    Beforehand I made the mistake of riding the path (i.e., sidewalk) along the northside of Rosedale. Absolutely terrible.

    I’m afraid the protected bike lanes in Minneapolis are only going to make cycling worse.

    Freeways make routes troublesome, but generally side streets are better than riding on designated bicycle infrastructure. I do have to say I like Portland and Park in Minneapolis, though a lane on each side would have been better than the superhighway on a single side.

      1. Jules Audy

        Thanks for the link–the post highlights my complaints about the Lexington MUPs very well. The Dutch “crossing placement” design seems a good one. When I travel, I prefer to walk but I can recall that was a common feature at intersections in Amsterdam.

        Sometime soon I’ll ride out to Shoreview. I might be pleasantly surprised by what I find. I was sad to hear Kozlak’s closed. I worry Lindey’s will be next.

  8. Jule Audy

    My rare comments are always so negative, but I do appreciate this site and I enjoy Walker’s posts, primarily because I grew up in neighboring Arden Hills (which I mostly hated and left as fast as I could).

    In cities if you learn to ride on the streets, a world of freedom opens up. The suburbs are a different animal. Speeds are higher and drivers less tolerant. Maybe MUPs are good for the suburbs, less so in civilization?

    1. Walker AngellWalker Angell Post author

      Even negative comments are very welcomed, as long as they are honest.

      MUP’s are far from ideal but are cost effective and OK as long as they are low traffic (pedestrians, bicycles, skaters, etc.), designed well, and people obey some simple rules like keeping or moving right.

      As I discussed in Fear And Not Sharing, we should ideally have three separate systems; Pedestrians, Low Power (Bicycles & Disabled), and Motor Vehicles. When designed properly, such as in The Netherlands, this works extremely well in all environments; Urban, Suburban, and Rural.

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