Washington Avenue (reconstruction, restriping, etc.)

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mister.shoes
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mister.shoes » January 14th, 2013, 3:06 pm

As is my map. This does make a lot more sense than trying to swap 4th and the LRT. And you gotta dig that bikeway connection from the U to DTE.



Edit 1: didn't realize the [thumbnail] BBCode went away.

Click to enlarge:
Version 3


Edit 2: Obviously, Froggie's version of this map is better. Just updating my post so it doesn't look so broken.

Edit 3: I suck at teh BBCode sometimes.
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Last edited by mister.shoes on March 5th, 2013, 9:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
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helsinki
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby helsinki » March 5th, 2013, 3:45 am

Looks like Strong Towns made a short video about Washington Avenue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6jFnOnjzrk

Since it's at the heart of the urban core, I vote that it be made into a "Street".

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » March 5th, 2013, 9:48 am

There are lots of options to make it more of a street with the wide ROW. Basically this would be **anything but** what was actually done with downtown streets ~50 years ago, which was to fit as many traffic lanes as possible inside the ROW.
This could be a combination of -Wider sidewalks -Cycletracks -Vegetated boulevards -Slip lanes -Dedicated streetcar ROW -Etc

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mplsjaromir » March 5th, 2013, 9:57 am

helsinki wrote:Looks like Strong Towns made a short video about Washington Avenue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6jFnOnjzrk

Since it's at the heart of the urban core, I vote that it be made into a "Street".
It seems to be a generic video about roads and streets. Nothing specific about Washington Ave.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby helsinki » March 5th, 2013, 10:25 am

mplsjaromir wrote:
helsinki wrote:Looks like Strong Towns made a short video about Washington Avenue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6jFnOnjzrk

Since it's at the heart of the urban core, I vote that it be made into a "Street".
It seems to be a generic video about roads and streets. Nothing specific about Washington Ave.
Well, yes - of course. The point is that Washington Avenue is a so-called "stroad".

I am always startled when I mention to people how wide Washington is, even in a mildly critical way; it's girth is vehemently defended as necessary for supposedly massive volumes of traffic. It's as though people waited at a red light once near the Old Spaghetti Factory, so Washington just needs seven lanes.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby MNdible » March 5th, 2013, 1:45 pm

helsinki wrote:Well, yes - of course. The point is that Washington Avenue is a so-called "stroad".
Did you listen to the description?

It's not. It doesn't meet most of the criterion, aside from being wide. Sorry.

Is Washington Avenue perfect? No, it's been a largely neglected streetscape because, for most of its history, it was abutted by a giant ugly rail switching yard, and then it was asked to handle a major chunk of traffic into and out of downtown Minneapoils. So, yes, it could use some help.

But the application of a hip new urban buzzword to any street that you don't like is not helpful.

There are very few true Stroads in Minneapolis. Off the top of my head, I'd suggest sections of Hiawatha Avenue, and really nothing else.

Apologies for the rant.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 5th, 2013, 2:11 pm

I'd say any one-way couplings count (of which there are MANY). Any street that has been widened, had lanes added, parking removed, has access points (like, more than one or 2) between cross-streets, has cars traveling faster than 25-30 mph, horrible pedestrian access to cross or even to walk on one side, all could be considered Stroad-y. There are tons of roads that embody more than one of these characteristics in the Twin Cities. Just because there is a sordid history for the use of Washington doesn't make it less of a stroad. Just like simply because there is commercial or residential activity on a street doesn't make it any less of a stroad.

Even under your strict definition, Olsen Hwy, 7, Excelsior Blvd, and parts of University would all also count. But I'd throw in a ton of stroads in urban areas that don't function well for activity (horrible pedestrian access, little/no bike access, cars that are able to fly by at 35-40 mph despite posted limits of 30, etc) but also don't move cars/trucks through quickly and efficiently (35-40 mph average, too many access points clogging vehicle traffic up, etc). And Washington Ave is one of them.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby MNdible » March 5th, 2013, 3:00 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:Even under your strict definition, Olsen Hwy, 7, Excelsior Blvd, and parts of University would all also count.
I'll grant you that most of these are Stroads, and also mostly not in Minneapolis.
RailBaronYarr wrote:I'd say any one-way couplings count (of which there are MANY). Any street that has been widened, had lanes added, parking removed, has access points (like, more than one or 2) between cross-streets, has cars traveling faster than 25-30 mph, horrible pedestrian access to cross or even to walk on one side, all could be considered Stroad-y. There are tons of roads that embody more than one of these characteristics in the Twin Cities. Just because there is a sordid history for the use of Washington doesn't make it less of a stroad. Just like simply because there is commercial or residential activity on a street doesn't make it any less of a stroad.
A Stroad, as defined by the guy that made the word up in the first place, is a specific thing. It isn't a catch-all for any street that you don't think is performing up to snuff. One way couplings are a thing that many people don't like, but they're not Stroads. Same with the rest of the things you list. The concept is really designed to deal with new suburban greenfield development, and applying it to streetcar corridors in an urban setting is really stretching the usefulness of the term.

Streets in Minneapolis are ROW constrained and have a lot of demands placed on limited real estate. Most exist in ROW's that are no more than 80' from property line to property line (Washington Avenue being a notable exception). They're probably not adequately living up to any of the demands that are placed on them.

If we can figure out a way to take some of the load off of Washington, we should be able to make it a better experience for all. But the traffic is real, and it is going to go somewhere -- it won't disappear just because we've installed a cycle track.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » March 5th, 2013, 3:32 pm

Do you follow Strong Towns at all MNdible? The whole Kansas City thing? I feel like you are a little lost here. Chuck defines Stroads as facilities that are partially designed as a road and partially designed as a street, but fail to provide the value of either. So, yes, any Mpls street that has been converted to a one way 3+ lane or a two-way 6+ lane, short of a freeway, is Stroady. Just because he wrote "A 45 MPH World" does not mean a 30 MPH street has not been degraded into a stroad.

Also, despite lots of evidence to the contrary, if you say the traffic "is real, and is going to go somewhere," then how about it goes to the new 4th St to 35W ramp that is being built for this purpose.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby woofner » March 5th, 2013, 5:00 pm

I didn't coin the term (unlike 'Beg Button' - that's my contribution to humanity, now I can just relax for the next 40 years) and I don't follow Strong Towns, but it seems to me there's a lot more to stroadiness than the number of lanes. Washington is a great example, because I've always felt that the North Loop segment (say between 5th & 10th N) is more stroady than East Downtown, despite being four lanes rather than six.

First off, while Washington east of Hennepin is a slightly wider ROW than most Minneapolis streets, let's be honest and admit that most of that ROW goes to median space. This width is mostly beneficial to pedestrians of course, although there's room for improvement in its application on Washington (I'd suggest closing left lanes in a few spots and also ensuring bike/ped access at least every block, which they currently fail to do at 9th).

Two big things that both segments do wrong are lane width and pedestrian realm configuration. The reason the North Loop segment feels so stroady is that the lanes are all 12' wide, but they also don't delineate the parking lanes. It's gotten better as the neighborhood's grown but there's still many times of day when most of the spaces on a given block will be empty, and so you effectively have 24' wide outside lanes. At least on South Washington the lanes are delineated, but I hope that even if they keep all six lanes, they'll slim them down to 10 or 11'.

I don't think the sidewalks are all that narrow on South Washington now, but they're either bare or configured backwards with the tree against the lot line instead of on the boulevard. Trees should be added where possible - or big planter/benches and a boulevard space should be emphasized. These steps will be easier with the 3-5' that could be added to the sidewalks by reducing lane widths.

Reducing lane width, closing left turns, and sprucing up the sidewalks are a whole lot simpler than removing lanes and should be the minimum steps taken in this reconstruction (although the segment they're redoing may not have any opportunities for closing left turn lanes).
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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » March 5th, 2013, 5:30 pm

You invented "Beg Button" ??? that's awesome! I use that phrase frequently but I didn't know where credit was due.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 5th, 2013, 9:46 pm

MNdible wrote:I'll grant you that most of these are Stroads, and also mostly not in Minneapolis.
Well, by my count, University, Olsen, 7, and Excelsior all pass through Minneapolis (even though I stated in my post Twin Cities): http://goo.gl/maps/1zTWR
MNdible wrote:A Stroad, as defined by the guy that made the word up in the first place, is a specific thing. It isn't a catch-all for any street that you don't think is performing up to snuff. One way couplings are a thing that many people don't like, but they're not Stroads. Same with the rest of the things you list. The concept is really designed to deal with new suburban greenfield development, and applying it to streetcar corridors in an urban setting is really stretching the usefulness of the term.

Streets in Minneapolis are ROW constrained and have a lot of demands placed on limited real estate. Most exist in ROW's that are no more than 80' from property line to property line (Washington Avenue being a notable exception). They're probably not adequately living up to any of the demands that are placed on them.

If we can figure out a way to take some of the load off of Washington, we should be able to make it a better experience for all. But the traffic is real, and it is going to go somewhere -- it won't disappear just because we've installed a cycle track.
All the things I list are components of a Stroad, by Chuck's definition (and there are more). There are perfect examples of stroads out there, and then ones that embody many aspects of one and aren't as productive or useful as they COULD be if defined correctly. I also strongly disagree that the term is designed to address greenfield development. Chuck has a huge problem with our built environment, how our existing places have been changed and degraded, and how traffic engineers, NIMBYs, etc continue to use unfounded principles to make unproductive, barely livable places. And this includes stroads in urban environments, old town centers, and anywhere else (yes, including greenfield suburban development).

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby MNdible » March 5th, 2013, 9:57 pm

mattaudio wrote:Also, despite lots of evidence to the contrary, if you say the traffic "is real, and is going to go somewhere," then how about it goes to the new 4th St to 35W ramp that is being built for this purpose.
I'm aware of this proposal, and support it, and support reconfiguring Washington as possible where there is demonstrably excess capacity. But you're just shifting around traffic, and impacting one street to benefit another.

I don't read every post from the Strong Towns blog, so I may be missing out on some sweet sweet insider action. Sorry. But I'll stand by my contention that trying to use the same term to describe a suburban style high speed strip (like the justifiably maligned Highway 371 in Baxter) and a Minneapolis commercial street is patently ridiculous.

[As an honest aside, what really gets my goat about this is when I see people saying that something like Lyndale Avenue between Franklin and Lyndale is a Stroad. Washington Avenue has more in common with the Stroad, but from my viewpoint, the land use and the finer grain of the urban fabric still makes this a largely meaningless comparison.]

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby Nick » March 16th, 2013, 4:40 pm

Lawl

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IMG_2944 by UrbanMSP, on Flickr

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby MNdible » March 16th, 2013, 4:43 pm

Nice find!

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby gpete » May 2nd, 2013, 2:12 pm

Upcoming public meeting about the redesign of Washington Ave on May 14 at Mill City Museum.

Hennepin County released some info and documents in advance of that meeting:
http://www.hennepin.us/portal/site/Henn ... fe4689RCRD

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby gpete » May 2nd, 2013, 2:46 pm

Of particular interest might be this "Traffic Operation Analysis."
http://www.hennepin.us/files/HennepinUS ... pr2013.pdf

And at the end of the document, the engineering firm (Alliant) gives some recommendations about traffic needs on Washington.

1. During PM rush hour, 2 lanes eastbound will do fine, as long as there are dedicated left-turn lanes.
2. Westbound, the report recommends keeping 3 travel lanes to accommodate PM rush hour.
3. The report says there should be left-turn lanes at every intersection that allows left turns and there should be right-turn lanes where possible.
4. It also makes some recommendations about removing or relocating bus stops so that buses don't block travel lanes.

If the County accepts the conclusions from this report, it sounds like there might not be much ROW left over to play around with.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » May 2nd, 2013, 3:17 pm

Right turn lanes? Gross.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby ECtransplant » May 2nd, 2013, 4:37 pm

gpete wrote:4. It also makes some recommendations about removing or relocating bus stops so that buses don't block travel lanes.
Sigh.

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Re: Washington Avenue

Postby mattaudio » May 2nd, 2013, 5:29 pm

Did they question the assumption that Washington Avenue needs to "meet the demand" of rush hour traffic?


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