Nicollet Mall

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
VAStationDude
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby VAStationDude » January 31st, 2016, 5:30 pm

There are at least two reasons why Helsinki's maintenance costs would be significantly lower than ours - climate and litigation risks. Winter time low temperatures are a full 10-12 degrees warmer there than here. The spread between high and low temperatures is also quite a bit greater in Minneapolis. American cities face far greater risks from injuries as a result of shifted pavers than European cities. Health care is significantly more expensive here, litigation is common place and expensive, and our safety net covers only the elderly and the poorest of the poor. A person who is out of work for weeks because of fall will not get help from the government and may have limited work benefits so they will sue. I know Europe is neato but there aren't always examples analogous to Minnesota.

When it comes to highly specialized and unique designs we should cut planners some slack.

As a light rail user I haven't found myself longing for the old paved blue line platforms. Well designed and maintained green line stations are equally pleasing as the formerly more elaborate blue line.

Pausing sounds like a great option when you're not responsible to property owners, business and Nicollet mall users.

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grant1simons2
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby grant1simons2 » January 31st, 2016, 6:50 pm

I wonder if by switching to slabs if it will save time or not.

intercomnut
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby intercomnut » January 31st, 2016, 8:46 pm

NEeaster wrote:Yet - the mayor can come up money to redo 3rd Avenue to make it bike friendly? Not that it isn't a nice project - but something that can wait. The city really needs to spend just as money making the city pedestrian friendly as bike friendly - pedestrian improvements in the rapidly built up North Loop and other neighborhoods are not keeping up with development.
No, 3rd Avenue can't wait. In 2008, bicyclists had real bike lanes on Hennepin, Marquette, and 2nd, with Nicollet also being a good route. Now, bicyclists have basically nothing between 4th Ave S and 1st Ave N. Right now, downtown is very dangerous for bicyclists. The pedestrian infrastructure isn't great - I live in Downtown, so I know that very well - but at least there are sidewalks on both sides of every street.

And while I agree that Nicollet Mall is an important project and that it deserves to be better than the latest design - and even the original design - you're essentially saying that basic protected bikeway infrastructure on 3rd should be neglected so that Nicollet can look prettier.

Please don't make this a bikes vs pedestrians argument. Both of them deserve more investment than they're getting, and it's possible to give each an adequate amount of money. The city just chooses to spend that money on cars instead.

acs
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby acs » January 31st, 2016, 10:13 pm

I've said it before but I'll say it again. Transit lanes on 3rd street, bike lanes on Hennepin, bike and ped only on Nicollet mall. Everyone wins. Unfortunately in this city we have all groups fractionalized and fighting each other to get their projects in and claim ROW before the others get to it and it completely misses the bigger picture.

mamundsen
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby mamundsen » February 1st, 2016, 10:45 am

Is something filming on Nicollet Mall today? My friend just saw crews and signs. Says it looks private and not just the news.

mamundsen
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby mamundsen » February 1st, 2016, 11:37 am

mamundsen wrote:Is something filming on Nicollet Mall today? My friend just saw crews and signs. Says it looks private and not just the news.
Just a Twins Commercial.
https://twitter.com/Twins/status/694200258973151232

helsinki
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby helsinki » February 1st, 2016, 12:59 pm

MNdible wrote:I've tried to make this point before, but...

Helsinki's average January low temperature is 20.3 F. Minneapolis's is 8. And nowhere in Germany is anywhere near that cold. Minneapolis has a uniquely cold winter climate that requires aggressive salting and snow and ice removal equipment to keep sidewalks clear.

I could point to any number of locations around Minneapolis where concrete pavers have failed quickly and spectacularly. Main Street by St. Anthony Main is a recent example.

I'm sure that these were intended to be top of the line pavers, and perhaps they would have performed just fine. But the absence of pavers is not going to ruin this thing.

In any case, the existing Mall was in need of major maintenance work, and obviously now it's all ripped up, so any suggestion that we should put this on hold is a non-starter.
I highly doubt that the temperature difference rules out the use of pavers. For the sake of argument, look at a comparable pedestrian street in Moscow:

http://st.depositphotos.com/2340093/468 ... Moscow.jpg

U.S. Climate Data actually puts Minneapolis average January temperature at 15.6 degrees. It appears that Moscow has a similar average. Which city is a little lower is irrelevant: they are largely the same. The notion that Minneapolis is 'too cold for pavers' doesn't seem credible.

Nor does it it seem credible that -as the Strib cites the Director saying - much of the $24 million increase is attributable to, of all things, pavers. That's half the supposed project cost! Are they magical pavers that can only be installed by master-paver-installers?

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby FISHMANPET » February 1st, 2016, 1:09 pm

I don't know the reason, but every paver installation I've seen in this city looks like absolute crap. I'm thinking particularly of the UofM campus and the DTE light rail station. I'm glad DTE got replaced with poured concrete and I wish the U would stop installing the stupid things.

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Tiller
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Tiller » February 1st, 2016, 1:11 pm

Duluth also has [had?] pavers downtown. While I don't know much about the history there, it could also be instructive.

helsinki
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby helsinki » February 1st, 2016, 1:21 pm

Downtown there are also pavers on large sections Marquette and Second between the sidewalk and the curb. Admittedly, they are not the sidewalk itself, but neither do they seem to have failed miserably as paving materials.

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MattW
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby MattW » February 1st, 2016, 1:51 pm

I can tell you that Duluth's pavers are absolutely brutal to run on in the final mile of Grandma's Marathon.

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Nathan
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Nathan » February 1st, 2016, 1:53 pm

That's because they're pos concrete pavers and probably aren't maintained properly. I've done the same run over them and it's awful, totally preventable with quality materials and maintainence

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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby MNdible » February 1st, 2016, 1:59 pm

Moscow is a good comparison in terms of climate.

There are a few things to note here:

First, that photo appears to be of a brand new installation, so it's hard to know how it will perform over a thirty year horizon.

Second, as noted here and here, Moscow attacks its snow clearing with a passion shown by no other city I've ever seen. Snow clearing (as opposed to crazy salting) probably helps, but the main reason I point this out is because beyond the magic snow clearing machines, this nitty gritty of snow clearing is driven by cheap labor with shovels:
"It’s worth pointing out the Russians aren’t doing a lot of their own snow-clearing these days; instead, it's a lot of migrants from Central Asia, Tajiks in particular, who are keeping the streets of Moscow pretty clean.”
And the thing about pavers that becomes expensive, as implied by the articles about the Nicollet Mall bids, is that while the pavers themselves aren't cheap (at least the fancy ones that have a chance of surviving the climate), it's the labor of laying them that really kills you. And even worse than the labor of laying them once is the on-going, piddly hand-work of maintaining them. No doubt it can get done, but the way the city contracts for work like this and the MN union wage scale makes ongoing maintenance a real problem.

Finally, there are a whole world of paver options, and there probably are some that work better than others. The Duluth pavers weren't concrete, they were a baked clay (vitreous) paver. I suspect the reason those lasted reasonably well is that they didn't absorb water and the corrosive salt that comes with it; the granite stone pavers on Nicollet Mall also lasted pretty well for the same reason. Expensive concrete pavers that are made of dense, less absorptive concrete than the kind you can buy at Menard's will probably perform better.

helsinki
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby helsinki » February 1st, 2016, 2:12 pm

All good points.

At the same time, remember that Nicollet Mall is being designed for a third time because the city wants it to be a glittering retail destination showcasing the best of the city. Whether this is a desirable goal or not is unclear. What is clear, though, is that the desired goal of fancy-ness will never be obtained if snow-removal is not also part of the package. Haughty ladies in fur coats aren't going to clamber over snowbanks or practice penguin-walking on ice.

Second, the idea that labor costs make installing a certain material prohibitive seems a bit silly. It's expensive to have workers pour concrete. Is it so vastly different to lay pavers? Probably to a degree, but not in kind.

As to maintenance: if an army of leaf-blowers can descend on cities across the country seasonally (and in some cases, ie California, perpetually), it seems reasonable to expect that such attention can be lavished on some paving stones.

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grant1simons2
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby grant1simons2 » February 1st, 2016, 2:13 pm

What about the central libraries pavers? Sure there's a ton of gum and trash on them, but they look great!

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Nathan
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Nathan » February 1st, 2016, 2:20 pm

The pavers IN THE STREET in Duluth are not clay, they're concrete.

At least where you run down superior street during the marathon.

I sold the same kind of paver ALL the time.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby FISHMANPET » February 1st, 2016, 2:26 pm

Pouring concrete requires you to pour concrete and you rake it out, placing pavers requires a human to hand place each paver. So yeah, I can easily imagine laying pavers be more labor intensive, and therefore more expensive, than pouronc conrete.

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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby EOst » February 1st, 2016, 2:30 pm

helsinki wrote:Second, the idea that labor costs make installing a certain material prohibitive seems a bit silly. It's expensive to have workers pour concrete. Is it so vastly different to lay pavers? Probably to a degree, but not in kind.
I've obviously never laid pavers on a street, but I imagine it really could be, especially for a project like this. Remember that the pavers were designed to be laid out in several different herringbone patterns (to resist ware), and that Nicollet Mall has curves. At every boundary, at all intersections, and at the curb (both for the sidewalk and the road, since the pavers were for both) you have to fill in the correct space with pavers that have been cut to fit. So you would need many thousands of small, precise cuts on pavers that you can't really afford to make mistakes with. Sounds like a lot of work to me.

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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby MNdible » February 1st, 2016, 2:32 pm

grant1simons2 wrote:What about the central libraries pavers? Sure there's a ton of gum and trash on them, but they look great!
I'm pretty sure that the library has an asphaltic paver like this. The asphalt helps to keep the water out and makes them more flexible and less prone to cracking.
Nathan wrote:The pavers IN THE STREET in Duluth are not clay, they're concrete.
Unless you're referring to a location I'm unfamiliar with, the pavers in the sidewalks are the same as the sidewalks in the streets, and they're both clay. Citation: Me, as a little kid, watching them get installed.

helsinki
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby helsinki » February 1st, 2016, 2:33 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:Pouring concrete requires you to pour concrete and you rake it out, placing pavers requires a human to hand place each paver. So yeah, I can easily imagine laying pavers be more labor intensive, and therefore more expensive, than pouronc conrete.
Two things: First, I think you're underestimating how labor-intensive pouring concrete is. Second, I think there is a massive over-estimation going on here of the skill and effort required to lay pavers. Brick-laying is labor intensive and requires a certain amount of skill. But it's not mind-blowingly complicated or expensive either. It's largely the same skill set and equally labor intensive to lay pavers. Which is why I just don't buy this notion that pavers are somehow prohibitively expensive. Instead, my guess is that this is something that's just infrequently done in Minneapolis, and therefore common sense is lacking.


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