In a noteworthy scoop, streets.mn editors have obtained a dossier of bicycle infrastructure concepts from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). In the interest of public disclosure, we are sharing them at this juncture.
The files convey a number of potential designs that appear to have been rejected through usual agency protocols, part of an ongoing departmental process whereby possibly innovative design schemes are briefly entertained. Together, the design proposals offer a series of unusual and creative efforts at building bicycling lanes that might, or might not, convey new best practices for 21st century non-motorized infrastructure.
We reached out to agency insiders for further information.
“We considered a lot of innovative treatments when developing the bike manual, but not all of them made the cut,” a source close to the project said. “We think this is doable, but our standards engineers determined that it wasn’t quite MN MUTCD compliant, so we’re waiting to see if another state DOT does it first.”
One of the designs featured a potentially innovative combination of plastic demarcation devices and tiki torches, one of a broad spectrum of design treatments that may have been briefly considered by the agency. According to one document, the torch demarcation system would double as trail lighting, saving millions of dollars in maintenance costs.
Interestingly, the dossier included designs featuring several different animal kingdoms, including both reptiles and larger insects. In one notable exchange, alligator demarcation was dismissed due to a general lack of availability in Minnesota, and maintenance concerns.
However, one review comment stated bluntly: “This isn’t Florida, we have snow here!”
At this point, the design was apparently rejected.