Washington Avenue (reconstruction, restriping, etc.)

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
ECtransplant
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby ECtransplant » January 30th, 2014, 9:49 pm

Because rail isn't perceived as just for poor people. Same reason Nic and 7th never got bus shelters as nice as those on Marq

David Greene
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby David Greene » January 30th, 2014, 10:06 pm

ECtransplant wrote:Because rail isn't perceived as just for poor people. Same reason Nic and 7th never got bus shelters as nice as those on Marq
And here's why.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rllayman/9006896/

helsinki
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby helsinki » January 31st, 2014, 8:57 am

Please correct me if I am wrong, but there are only 4 possible right turns in the zone to be reconstructed, right? (3rd, 2nd, Marquette, Hennepin)

Yet to spare the slight inconvenience of waiting a split second while someone turns right (not into incoming traffic), therefore, the reconstruction is eating up 10 feet 8 inches of ROW to install really long right turn lanes, correct?

So essentially the entire stretch of Washington between Hennepin and 5th will consist of: (1) 'Thru' Lane, (2) 'Thru' Lane, (3) Left Turn Lane, (4) 'Thru Lane', (5) 'Thru' Lane, (6) Right Turn Lane. In other words, 6 lanes. No parking. Sidewalks 7 feet 6 inches wide.

Isn't this a bit unbalanced? Has a compelling case been made for these right turn lanes servicing 4 intersections? Why not re-allocate that ROW to the sidewalks, and widen them? Only then could only plausibly claim to speak of 'Washington Boulevard'.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby Rich » January 31st, 2014, 9:24 am

helsinki wrote:to spare the slight inconvenience of waiting a split second while someone turns right (not into incoming traffic), therefore, the reconstruction is eating up 10 feet 8 inches of ROW to install really long right turn lanes
I wonder if “a split second” might be exaggerating a bit. If the goal of a more pedestrian-friendly Washington is achieved, won’t right- and left-turning vehicles consistently be spending several seconds waiting for pedestrians to clear the crosswalk?

mattaudio
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » January 31st, 2014, 9:48 am

Yes. But the point is that "continuous" left turn lanes aren't needed. And we have an extremely redundant grid... if we have a specific intersection where high pedestrian volumes interfere with right turns, there's always the option to prohibit right turns at that corner. Finally, I still do not see why Hennepin County insists that Washington must remain a car sewer for cars to get between downtown and 35W. We're building a new ramp from 4th St to northbound 35W. And there are ways that a partial reconfiguration (a temporary fix, not even a long-term full redesign) could allow southbound traffic from 35W to exit to Washington OR 3rd St.

helsinki
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby helsinki » January 31st, 2014, 10:01 am

Rich wrote:I wonder if “a split second” might be exaggerating a bit.
Perhaps. But the implication of your response is that the roadway should be constructed in a manner that best optimizes traffic flow. The old "congestion = bad" philosophy. Aside from the urbanist critiques of this point (for instance, that the increase in vehicular traffic speed narrows the scope of vision of drivers and increases the likelihood that accidents will result in fatalities), I would also add that such optimization just isn't possible. Traffic is a complex system (like, for instance, the brain, the weather, the economy, etc.) meaning that it is non-linear (output is not directly proportional to input) and not susceptible to modeling. It essentially can't be optimized by design for highest performance (like how, by analogy, the Soviet Union could not engineer an optimal economy through centralized economic planning). A jet engine is super complicated but it isn't a complex system - it can be optimized for performance by the designer who can tinker with it until it's perfect since it's component parts don't have minds of their own. A traffic system, by contrast, can't be tinkered with until it's perfect because the autonomous units that comprise it are not subject to the control of the designer. Rather than attempt the impossible, therefore, the city/county should build Washington the way people want it built (wide sidewalks, bike lanes, and still 5 lanes for cars) - not in the way some theory of future driver behavior dictates how it absolutely must be built in order to satisfy speciously objective criteria.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby min-chi-cbus » January 31st, 2014, 11:24 am

7.5 foot sidewalks on the future thoroughfare through downtown is not going to work for very long. I hope they're not finished planning yet!

TheUrbanGopher
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby TheUrbanGopher » January 31st, 2014, 3:13 pm

helsinki wrote:Isn't this a bit unbalanced? Has a compelling case been made for these right turn lanes servicing 4 intersections? Why not re-allocate that ROW to the sidewalks, and widen them?
https://streets.mn/2014/01/08/washin ... remodeled/

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 31st, 2014, 7:42 pm

Is the design final since the county voted on it, or does the city still have a say and/or some wiggle room in final construction? On one hand, I'm with the streets.mn post in questioning the logic and modeling assumptions (as well as the analysis of said data in where priorities lie). With that said, quality bike facilities are in the plan, auto commuters already think it'll be a disaster, etc, so maybe this is an opportunity to prove that it will work just fine for cars, and when the time comes to do the rest toward 35W a MWB can be had (or.. something) :)

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Mdcastle
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby Mdcastle » February 2nd, 2014, 9:19 am

It's not just a split second for one car- cars stopping to wait to turn in through lanes are incredibly disruptive to traffic flow. That's why road diets often work so well, removing turning traffic from the through lanes means you can get by with one instead of two. On Washington we already got rid of the third through lane, and now people are saying let's get rid of the right and left turn lanes. If we're going to make it that hostile to cars why not just close it altogether and have an east-west version of Nicollet Mall, at least west of I-35W, and have all the auto traffic use the one-way pairs with the new freeway entrance?

mattaudio
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » February 3rd, 2014, 10:52 am

Has anyone argued for removal of left turn lanes? Not that I recall.
Has anyone said that we should get rid of all right turn lanes? No. They should just not be continuous.
Or we can just prohibit turning movements at peak hours if they interfere with cars.
Accommodating automobiles and turning movements leads to outcomes like this: http://goo.gl/maps/gu0Gt

mattaudio
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » February 6th, 2014, 4:45 pm

Preliminary Layout 3 was just published:
http://www.hennepin.us/~/media/hennepin ... ouncil.pdf

MNdible
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby MNdible » February 6th, 2014, 5:02 pm

Seems like a very reasonable compromise. I'm sure everybody will hate it.

bubzki2
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby bubzki2 » February 6th, 2014, 5:07 pm

Glad to see what appears to be cycletracks crossing over 35W bridge. I like it.

Tyler
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby Tyler » February 6th, 2014, 5:15 pm

Looks good to me. Especially the concept segment. The one section I don't "get" is the right though lane west bound between 4th and 5th. Seems like that should be parking. But no huge deal to me.
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helsinki
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby helsinki » February 7th, 2014, 6:06 am

Tyler wrote:The one section I don't "get" is the right though lane west bound between 4th and 5th. Seems like that should be parking.
Agreed.

My assumption would be that the problem originates with the bus stop. This raises a criticism of the way bus stops are conceived here generally: the plan calls for a dedicated lane for the bus to pull into (either a right-turn lane or the removal of parking) when it pulls up to a stop. This calls for the elimination of bump-outs (see, for instance, the intersection with Chicago - the corners with the bus stops have the bump-outs removed). This is backwards. Presumably the logic is that the bus should pull out of moving traffic to allow for efficient traffic flow. Aside from this flawed premise, the even more flawed result from a transit design perspective is that the bus stop then intrudes into the pedestrian zone. Cities with better planning do the opposite: it is specifically at bus stops that there is a bump-out, because this provides a space for the people waiting for the bus to stand.

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woofner
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby woofner » February 7th, 2014, 11:31 am

The engineer for this project more or less admitted to me that they don't have any expertise designing bus facilities*, but also stated that they consulted with Metro Transit. It seems like all the layers of government here just creates an endless buck-passing game, where Hennepin County can say that Metro Transit signed off on their design and Metro Transit can say that they don't have any jurisdiction over design. I hope someone will someday care enough about buses to seal that particular crack, but until then we'll just have to keep dealing with your nonfunctional transit system.

Anyway, Washington Ave looks much better overall. Other than that I hate it.

*Specifically she answered my question about whether the design was reviewed by staff that has expertise in designing facilities for transit operations by saying that their staff is more experienced in rail facility design.
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mattaudio
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » February 7th, 2014, 11:41 am

They didn't know bus bulbs are where the curb goes out to meet the traffic lane, not where the curb goes in so the bus can get out of the way of traffic.

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mister.shoes
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mister.shoes » February 7th, 2014, 11:42 am

So what you're saying is that the people designing our streets for Hennepin County are no better than me f'ing around in Illustrator? Got it.
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby MSPtoMKE » February 7th, 2014, 1:53 pm

I'll also point out that there don't seem to be any bus stops on eastbound Washington between Hennepin and 4th Ave. As far as I know, the 18 is planned to be extended to end at the Gateway Ramp to allow the surface lot at Hennepin and Washington to be redeveloped. I would assume it would run on Washington Ave to get there. There is a westbound stop at 2nd Ave, but there should probably be an eastbound stop as well to make this extension useful.
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