You’ve made it through Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and are on the brink of Cyber Monday – a good time to relax and take a look at the past week on streets.mn. First, though, click over and buy tickets to the 2015 streets.fundraiser – Thursday, December 17th and plan to come chat, nibble, and watch Holidazzle below with streets.mn members, prospective members and friends. Your contributions – financial and conversational – can help make streets.mn even better.
Walking and biking
New writer Clark Parker finds himself Breaking the Law to Mail a Letter, or, Being a Pedestrian in America and Abroad when he tries to walk from the light rail station to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport post office to mail a letter to Japan. In addition to showing how hard it is to walk 350 feet, he also shows us a few low-tech ways to walk in Hanoi and Tokyo and observes “it is understandable that sprawling, car-oriented suburbs would grow at the expense of public transit investment. But what isn’t understandable is why American road builders go to such lengths to make walking difficult.”
Joe Totten documents recently completed Improvements for Cyclists on Ford Parkway and Montreal Avenue in Saint Paul. The new bike lanes, crosswalks and other improvements are the kind small-scale changes which could be built into all street projects and incrementally add up to big change across a community. The comments include some geeky discussion about street lighting, as well as thinking through how bike lanes and right turning vehicles fit together.
Signal Timing Transformed My Everyday is Janne Flisrand‘s fond memory of the change in signal timing at 22nd Street and Hennepin Avenue South several summers ago. During that wonderful season, the signal cycled more frequently and gave bikes and pedestrians crossing Hennepin Avenue more than a mere 10 seconds to cross and “people crossing Hennepin mattered almost as much as the drivers hurtling along it.” The comment section has some detailed discussion about biking against traffic on 22nd Street and more general conversation about signal timing.
Walker Street’s New Mystery Lanes in Saint Louis Park have Eric Anondson wondering what’s going on. New bike lanes have been striped along with what look like parking lanes, except no parking is permitted. He recommends this space “be repainted to use this mystery space (“no parking”-“parking lane”?) to put buffers between drivers in motor vehicles and cyclists.” Commenters generally agree, but wonder if the space is simply “extra” after allocating space for vehicle traffic and bike lanes and whther engineers met the letter of the law, but didn’t think how to design better.
Jefferson Crashes Rekindle Bicycle Boulevard Debate is Bike Boulevards 101 and a must read for anyone wanting to understand these facilities. Bill Lindeke’s attended a police press conference at Cleveland and Jefferson Avenues in Saint Paul where a bicyclist critically injured after being hit by a car crossing the street at Jefferson Avenue. Bill found the press conference and news coverage interesting for what wasn’t mentioned: the history of this particular intersection. Bill’s PhD research included looking at the politics and design of the Jefferson Avenue bike boulevard which he uses to help us understand the challenges of building safer designs into streets. The dominant theme of the many comments is how we describe incidents – whether to call them accidents, how to assign fault, whether citing helmet use is relevant.
A Journey Down US 14 is just that; Monte Castleman takes us on a photo road trip from New Ulm to Rochester on US14. Since Monte is streets.mn’s resident signal and sign geek, the photo tour includes fewer sweeping vistas, but more about signals, street lights, signage and the story they tell along the way.
From an actual road trip to an imagined one, Minneapolis Grand Rounds + Saint Paul Grand Round = Twin Cities Grand Infinity links to some of the history and research for completing the Minneapolis and Saint Paul parkway systems as separate networks and David Levinson suggests the two systems could be connected into one grand infinity loop instead.
Video: Roundabout Myths (video) is a 15 minute video debunking common myths and misconceptions about roundabouts perhaps created in response to recent debate at the Rochester City Council where the myths were much in evidence.
Map: Map Monday: 1901 Dual City Blue Book Map of Minneapolis and Saint Paul -The “Dual City Blue Book” was addressed to “the ladies of the Twin Cities” and promised to supply information “essential in every well-regulated household, and is therefore a necessity in metropolitan life.” The map is interesting and clicking over to look at the Blue Book is, too.
Minnesota is looking at its first big winter storm this week, so drive carefully, clear your sidewalks, and get out and enjoy your streets. Have a great week!