29th Street Reconstruction Project

Calhoun-Isles, Cedar-Riverside, Longfellow, Nokomis, Phillips, Powderhorn, and Southwest
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Nathan
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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby Nathan » August 19th, 2013, 10:31 pm

I sure hope you'd drive to go see your 85 year old grandmother... geeze...

Nobody was crushing to walk on the highline, in NYC, until it became a destination either.

The Nicollet ave Kmart isn't even comparable since it was a private development that pressured the city into allowing them the land use when the city was desperate for retail and suburban feel. besides the fact that it's a major N/S artery not a two block low traffic (which I understand is convenient for some) residential street. I'm sure some sort of in between shared street could be totally feasible, which is just as good (or better).

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Nathan
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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby Nathan » August 19th, 2013, 10:34 pm

Chef wrote:I too wonder where all the pedestrians on 29th Street are going to come from, they aren't there now and there is nothing to draw them there. It is a glorified alley.
I use it as an access street to either Lyn Lake or Uptown when I come down the Bryant Ave Bike Blvd which I know a lot of other people do, because it's not worth getting on the greenway, and biking on lake is less than great.

I also remember the uptown farmers market which essentially closed this same exact section of 29th, and it was great to be able to walk along this section, and it didn't seem to disrupt anything.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby Wedgeguy » August 20th, 2013, 12:04 am

My 85 year old Grandma does not have a BBQ at her home. She, like many other older people enjoy getting out of their houses and visiting others. They like to be invited over for lunch, dinner, a BBQ, or coffee where they are the guest and they don't have the worries of making anything or being the host. When the narrow focus is broadened you can see how foolish you sound. Again stereo typing seniors as invalids and shut ins.

The Greenway is our Highline. Our is is a trench, the NYC is an old rail trestle that allow street traffic and pedestrian to get around the city with out the wait for trains and the safety of others. Same here is true except we build bridges over the rail where NYC built the rail over the streets. Both are long linear parks with seating along the paths. Neither is means to be a full service park and playground. Both are made to allow people a way to get away from the streets and feel more at home and safe while walking and biking. Once the Elan and the path way to the greenway from Bryant by Track 29 is finished there will be plenty of ways to get out of the trench.

One of the biggest things that I hope they would do when upgrading 29th is to bury the utilities. Get rid of those ugly power line and probably upgrade everything in that area.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 20th, 2013, 8:48 am

Wedgeguy wrote:My 85 year old Grandma does not have a BBQ at her home. She, like many other older people enjoy getting out of their houses and visiting others. They like to be invited over for lunch, dinner, a BBQ, or coffee where they are the guest and they don't have the worries of making anything or being the host. When the narrow focus is broadened you can see how foolish you sound. Again stereo typing seniors as invalids and shut ins.
I expect that your 85 year old grandma makes a choice on how to arrive at your place based on market-rate street parking that makes it available to anyone coming in to the area (such as people wishing to be patrons of nearby restaurants but willing to walk a little further to pay less). I hope you understand that just because the street in front of your residence has space that it is not reserved for you or your friends. I hope that you can admit that it's also foolish to depict a scenario where we need all this parking for private property owners because some of them have elderly folks who might visit by car and can't walk more than 300 ft, because there are just as many elderly people who cannot drive because of vision impairment, lack of motor skills, or the feeling of discomfort driving (at night, in the rain/snow, in general). No one was depicting them as invalids or shut-ins, the same that I don't assume every elderly person can drive 24/7/365.

WRT to the mall west of Hennepin is not a disgrace. I love walking along it. I love the art fairs it can hold without the need to close down streets. I love that it's a shaded, grassy area you can go throw a baseball or just relax and read a book.

A woonerf in the available sections of 29th with high pedestrian amenities would make a lot of sense. The Rainbow will more than likely be redeveloped soon, and the pedestrian-first design can be brought in to whatever the developer proposes.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 20th, 2013, 9:01 am

Chef wrote:I think thoughtful urbanism should try to strike a balance between all the different modes of transportation rather than focus on trying to eliminate the most popular one.
Just a question.. how much space in our metro area is devoted to moving autos (including buffers, runoff holding ponds, publicly maintained parking etc) vs space dedicated to bikes or pedestrians? How much space is dedicated to transit? In truth, I think we have a long way to go before a thoughtful balance is actually met. Closing off a 'glorified alley' (not just here, anywhere) should not be construed as an attempt to eliminate a mode (however popular it may be).

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby woofner » August 20th, 2013, 9:20 am

MNdible wrote:It used to be that urbanists cared about things like creating superblocks and unnecessarily breaking up the grid. Now, apparently, that's all secondary to the more important goal of ridding the world of cars whenever a crummy opportunity presents itself.
To be clear, no one is proposing creating a superblock here. Removing motor vehicle access from a street does not close a street. A pedestrianized street is still a street, so banning cars does not compromise the integrity of the street grid, although of course it alters the grid of driveable streets.
Chef wrote:I too wonder where all the pedestrians on 29th Street are going to come from, they aren't there now and there is nothing to draw them there. It is a glorified alley.
I agree that this is a mediocre candidate for a pedestrianized street, which should have lots of active uses directly fronting it. But I think you guys are contradicting yourselves when you say that this street needs to stay driveable because of all the new bars and restaurants and apartments, but also claim it will be a ghost town for pedestrians. Don't you think that all those new bars and restaurants and apartments might generate a pedestrian trips or two? It's not like the walkability of the neighborhood is one of the reasons most commonly cited for moving to Uptown or anything...

The fact is that walking on Lake St (and Lagoon) sucks. The sidewalks are far too narrow and are not getting wider anytime soon - the County decided that those streets will prioritize cars and the city agreed. The pedestrian network needs more beefing up than the auto network around there, and 29th is a good place to do it. Ideally there would be some compromises, but I'm a bit shocked to hear so many people on this board say flat out no to this idea. At least since nasa was banned, anyway.
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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby mullen » August 20th, 2013, 9:22 am

the thought of closing a street to auto traffic is still considered such an afront to personal freedom or something here. how we will live without cars? the horrors... so many fun possibilities to make this street exciting and urbane.

i'm going to miss having a big picture thinker such as Rybak in the mayor's office.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby talindsay » August 20th, 2013, 9:34 am

I try to take a WWJD approach to such projects - What Would (Jane) Jacobs Do? I don't recall her ever addressing this exact scenario, but it seems doubtful that looking at as dead and useless a street as 29th, she would propose that pedestrianization was the best way to spend effort and resources on a street like this. Given that it runs right along the Greenway, but is grade-separated from it and has continuous crossing conflicts with busy streets, and further has no active uses, I can't imagine who would walk it. It seems to me like any effort to develop pedestrianized streets in this stretch of the city would be better on a street with more uses - and more potential for uses - than 29th. The challenge of 29th is how to make it much more than an alley; although on the other hand I wonder if that's a challenge worth addressing when there are so many more promising streets that could be addressed first.

So really, why 29th specifically? It just seems a poor candidate. What's the problem this is meant to solve, and put in Jacobs terms, how will this activate the street?

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby woofner » August 20th, 2013, 9:57 am

Its uselessness for all types of traffic is exactly why Rybak proposed it. He's a shallow thinker and doesn't miss an opportunity to cave to entrenched interests. On top of that it's impossible to make into a continuous facility.

But as Wedgeguy mentioned above, it already has an even modal split. It's in atrocious condition, and it would be a shame if it were rebuilt with 30' of asphalt roadway and a 6' concrete sidewalk, e.g. the existing conditions. Let's use Rybak's simple-minded proposal to rebuild it as a multimodal transportation library, experimenting with all sorts of configurations.
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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby David Greene » August 20th, 2013, 10:17 am

talindsay wrote:Given that it runs right along the Greenway, but is grade-separated from it and has continuous crossing conflicts with busy streets, and further has no active uses, I can't imagine who would walk it.
Those on foot using the same reasoning others have for why 29th is important for cars.

It's one datapoint, but I walk it a lot to avoid Lake and Lagoon. Lake and Lagoon are terrible pedestrian environments in that area. Even in as bad of shape as it's in, 29th provides nice access to local businesses without the threat of being smooshed.

BTW, there is no sidewalk behind Rainbow.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby Chef » August 20th, 2013, 10:34 am

I think Lake St is great for walking - there is more to look at. I am more interested in people watching than the condition of the sidewalk.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby David Greene » August 20th, 2013, 10:55 am

Chef wrote:I think Lake St is great for walking - there is more to look at. I am more interested in people watching than the condition of the sidewalk.
It's not just the condition of the sidewalk, it's the traffic speed. Not only is it noisy, it's damn hard to cross. I'm not sure whether the crossing aspect would be better with two-way operation on Lake.

Chicago's Michigan Ave. is pleasant to walk along, primarily because of the wide sidewalks and vegetation.

Why is it so hard to make trees grow along streets here?!? I don't think I've ever seen a mature tree on a busy commercial street in Minneapolis or St. Paul.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby MNdible » August 20th, 2013, 11:04 am

The Michigan Avenue ROW appears to be literally twice as wide Lake Street (or damn close to it). They've got sooo much more space to work with, and I speculate that they have a special services district that puts anything in Minneapolis to shame, both in terms of what they provide in terms of landscaping and also in terms of what they pay for it.

I continue to find it to be a minor miracle that they were able to fit everything between building faces on the reconstructed Lake Street. Talk about 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound sack.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby seanrichardryan » August 20th, 2013, 11:05 am

Staying off-topic... Central, Cedar, & Nicollet all have very mature street trees. Just like Michigan Avenue, they happen to be honey locust, which do not have a very dense canopy.
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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby Wedgeguy » August 20th, 2013, 12:38 pm

David Greene wrote:I love this idea. 29th in Uptown/LynLake really serves no useful transportation purpose. It is car storage as others have said. I've driven on it perhaps twice in the nine years I've lived in the area.

The Greenway is rather unpleasant to walk on. There is no designated pedestrian space on the ramps and then you have to walk across busy bike lanes to get to the walking path. Then that walking path narrows in various places for no apparent reason so there is not enough space for two pedestrians to pass each other.

The gardens along the Greenway are great for pedestrians and I'd want to maintain that access.

I cannot wait for 28th and 26th to revert to two-way operation. The city already ruined the light timing so any time advantage to having them one-way is lost anyway. As it is, those streets are death traps for any pedestrian crossing them. People drive 35-40 on them all the time.

Why won't the Greenway promenade connect Hennepin and Lyndale? Is it solely due to Old Chicago or something else?
You seem to be splitting hairs here. You can't walk down a ramp at the same time a bike is going up. I do it all the time. Crossing a bike lane is like crossing a street except if only talk less than half the number of steps. I walk by people on the pedestrian walk with out bumping into them when they come from the opposite direction. Those walking paths are the same width as the sidewalk that runs in front of your house. What do you do when you meet someone on the side walk on your block., Stop and stare and see who will blink and allow the other to pass first? Again making something out of nothing. Also As I remember the Greenway was built to be a commuter alternative, that is why there are bike lanes down there. So learn to coexist with the bike like bike coexist with cars! IF they ever redevelop the Old Chicago site it will have a Promenade extension. Until that time you can walk across a parking lot like I walk along the transit bus road as a way to get to where I'm going.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby David Greene » August 20th, 2013, 12:54 pm

Wedgeguy wrote:You seem to be splitting hairs here. You can't walk down a ramp at the same time a bike is going up. I do it all the time. Crossing a bike lane is like crossing a street except if only talk less than half the number of steps.
It's not a matter of can/cannot. It's a safety issue. I walk with my baby down there. I do not want to get hit by a bike and have him go to the ER with a head injury. We have sidewalks for a reason. The ramps should have designated pedestrian space.
Wedgeguy wrote:I walk by people on the pedestrian walk with out bumping into them when they come from the opposite direction. Those walking paths are the same width as the sidewalk that runs in front of your house.
That is demonstrably false. It gets particularly bad west of Hennepin. When you're pushing a stroller, you need a little more space. Even without a stroller there are areas west of Hennepin that cannot fit two pedestrians on the pavement at the same time. One has to move over onto the dirt, also not great for a stroller.

I'm not familiar with the situation east of Lyndale since I rarely walk over there.

I have a hard time believing that the pedestrian walkway is as wide as a sidewalk in more than a few areas in the trench.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby Wedgeguy » August 20th, 2013, 1:02 pm

Again, if you have a stroller then people will make way for you. Same as a city sidewalk. What you are asking for is a special privilege walking only area. Well I'll tell you that bikes will use that same area as they do on the promenade. Life is full of risks, Use the sidewalk on 27th, 28th, any east west or north south street if you are that worried. The risks are all the same except you will not be hit by a car on the Greenway east of Hennepin. I have bicyclist that ride down my sidewalk even though the street is a designated bike route. This is MPLS not Utopia!

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby Wedgeguy » August 20th, 2013, 1:06 pm

fotoapparatic wrote:
David Greene wrote:Why won't the Greenway promenade connect Hennepin and Lyndale? Is it solely due to Old Chicago or something else?
There is a (nice/decent) Building on the west side of Lyndale, North of the greenway already as well. I'd imagine Old Chicago would probably go or be able to add a promenade before that building on Lyndale goes.
That building is part of what make the Greenway unique. One of the areas where private property owners actually enhanced the greenway.

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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby woofner » August 20th, 2013, 1:12 pm

I used to walk my dog in the greenway because walking on the surface streets in Uptown freaked me out too much, since just about every car stops past the crosswalk without bothering to check if anyone is about to enter it, let alone whether a foot-tall dog is already in it. We walked mostly between Bryant and 4th Ave, and I'd say for most of that stretch the pedestrian area is as wide as the typical side street sidewalk (6-8'), although of course there wasn't as much green space for my dog to poop on as a boulevard would offer. That said, there are plenty of tight spots where the ped space would go to 4' or less, including the block between Nicollet and 1st.

I'm not sure the ramps are wide enough in most places to demarcate separate space for pedestrians, but I agree that there should be some calming features indicating that the space is shared. A textured surface would be great (the cyclists would scream bloody murder) but even removing the center stripe and replacing it with zebras would be better than what's there.
MNdible wrote: I continue to find it to be a minor miracle that they were able to fit everything between building faces on the reconstructed Lake Street. Talk about 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound sack.
Lake St was just Hennepin County's Urban Street-by-numbers. Where fitting four through lanes, two parking lanes, and sidewalks got tight, they squeezed the sidewalks every single time. They made no attempt to alter the design to fit the context, such as narrowing intersections with one-lane one-way streets. And I think you mean between parking lots, not between building faces - we're talking about Lake St here.
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Re: The Pedestrianization of 29th Street

Postby Wedgeguy » August 20th, 2013, 1:17 pm

MNdible wrote:I'm all for improving the pedestrian experience along 29th, but I think that it really does provide important local circulation in this area. I think woonerfing it would be just fine -- as I'd said previously, this isn't a thru-street, and nobody needs to move quickly through here. And I think there's enough ROW here to do something that will accommodate all users without the need to eliminate auto access.

If you eliminate it, you're going to force people to make unfortunate movements, like making a left turn from southbound Aldrich onto Lake Street (a movement that would be folly during most of the day). 29th allows people to divert to Bryant's signalized intersection, or jog across to make a right turn onto southbound Lyndale. LIttle, but important, movements for locals.

As has been noted previously, you're adding a ton of residents to these blocks along very narrow streets. You're also adding more retail and restaurants and bars. You're going to have more people driving through the neighborhood, no matter how magically you wish upon a star that everybody ride buses/bike/walk.
Please explain why there needs to be this special pedestrian experience on a lightly traveled by foot count street where there is a sidewalk like the one that I use for my pedestrian experience to get from 27th down Bryant to Lake street where all the action is. No businesses fronting 29th so what give it the foot traffic, except for made up people who will most likely walk to Lake where they have business that they can walk into. There are stop signs at Fremont, Emerson, Dupont, Colfax, and Bryant so You can't say you are not safe because cars are zooming by. Again a pipedream with little solid foundation for change.


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