Pedestrian Infrastructure Alignment Chart

A D&D alignment chart of pedestrian infrastructure

All images are ruthlessly stolen, many from this fine website’s archives.



Lawful good: Sabo Bridge. High above the car traffic, Sabo Bridge provides a safe, comfortable, and extremely legal way to cross Hiawatha (as long as you’re not in a hurry).

Neutral good: Nicollet Mall. Undeniably good, but for the light timing issues.

Chaotic good: Crossing Snelling Ave in front of the Loons stadium scramble-style diagonally whenever you want because there’s never actually cars on that other road so when you get the signal to cross Snelling it’s go time.

Lawful neutral: Lake/Marshall Ave Bridge. Nice view, good cement barriers, but you can hear the roar of the cars and smell their stink up close.

True neutral: The Bruce Vento Trail just so happens to run past a MNDoT materials testing facility. Hmmm. Anyway, it appears to be a rail-to-trail conversion project, which is nice. Too bad it doesn’t go much of anywhere.

Chaotic neutral: Stone Arch Bridge. The ped/bike lanes are suggestions at best and I’ve caused near-misses as both a ped and a cyclist here.

Lawful evil: Snelling Ave bridge over 94. It’s to code, but not a code that a pedestrian would have written.

Neutral evil: Franklin Ave. The non-ADA compliant sidewalks don’t care about you or your bags of groceries.

Chaotic evil: Closing sidewalks while car lanes are open. Most recent personal example was on Robert St between 9th and 7th a couple months ago while they were putting in the heated sidewalk for the new fancy condos. I walked in the street against the flow of rush hour traffic, and live to tell the tale.

Pine Salica

About Pine Salica

Pine lives in Minneapolis and works in Saint Paul. Pine hasn't owned a car for over a dozen years, and can count on one hand the number of times they've operated one in the last 12 months. Housing is a human right, car storage is not. Member of the Climate Committee.

11 thoughts on “Pedestrian Infrastructure Alignment Chart

  1. Bob Roscoe

    I appreciated your reading, I wish to comment:
    Nicollet so-called mall was originally designed to be car-free by noted landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, I think, in the 1960s, and functioned very well that way until someone probably traffic engineers, wanted cars back on it followed by several feeble redesigns that put lipstick on a concrete snake. I don’t know if anyone has written a study on how this farce happened. Former Mayor R.T. Ryback probably knows more than anyone. But this would be a very interesting and much needed study.

    Thank you

    Bob Roscoe

  2. Ian R BuckModerator  

    Oi, Bruce Vento “doesn’t go much of anywhere”?? I use it every day to get to and from work, at the largest school in the district!

    1. Isaac Boyd

      Same. Right of way connection between lake phalen, dense east side neighborhoods, and downtown SP. Probably SP’s best commuter greenway.

      This is an interesting way of thinking about infrastructure though. For SP, I would call the bike lane that goes down summit hill true neutral.

        1. Jenny WernessJenny WernessModerator  

          We should have an east side bike ride and enjoy the connectedness of Bruce Vento!

          1. Ian R BuckModerator  

            The Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition’s August meeting took the form of a social ride touring new bike infrastructure on the East Side! I would be down for doing something Bruce Vento focused on the future!

  3. Lou Miranda

    It’s important not to think about all pedestrian & bike infrastructure the same way.

    Rails-to-trails conversions, like Bruce Vento Trail, Cedar Lake Trail, etc., are more like highways. Sure, they connect places, but mostly on the ends and on limited access points. They often go through fields, forests, industrial areas, or other non-urban areas. They are best for long-distance commuting by bike, i.e., fast.

    Something like the Stone Arch Bridge, on the other hand, virtually connects two dense downtowns. Sure, it might act as a commuter line during morning & evening rush hour (fast speeds), but it’s generally an urban connector and a recreational scenic trail, where slow speeds are important. It is dense with people, most moving slowly.

    People can ride fast on off-the-beaten-track trails, much like freeways for cars, but in denser areas full of people & destinations people need to ride much slower and respect the speed of pedestrians, much like cars on urban streets.

    1. Ian R BuckModerator  

      The difference being that we’re not willing to destroy entire neighborhoods in order to build bike highways through the heart of our cities. 😛

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