Bicycle Infrastructure

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
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sdho
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby sdho » July 5th, 2017, 10:11 am

David Greene wrote:
June 29th, 2017, 10:26 am
RailBaronYarr wrote:
June 29th, 2017, 10:19 am
all parking lots people turn into have alley access. Nicollet could be much better if the city just forced them to close off those curb cuts.
I 120% agree. <warning: "There outta be a law" ahead>

As we plan for the city's future, we ought to consider zoning/ordinances that require businesses and other developments with alley access to use it. Forbid curb cuts unless there is really no other way to get into the property. It would not only make the pedestrian experience noticeably better, I think it would encourage better building design and certainly street frontage.

I look at the the stuff built along the Greenway and ask, "why do we have all these huge curb cuts?"
I'm not sure single-lane alleys are really suited to commercial traffic of any consequence. Sometimes you'll see apartment buildings using them (West Broadway Crescent is one good example.) But high turnover from commercial stuff would make that hard.

There are a lot of ways you could address the curb cuts, but they all have issues:
1. Build district parking and use the space for something else (but, business owners might not be on board, and that could be a large public expense)
2. Require cross-access easements to consolidate access (but this would functionally require bigger parking lots and might be hard to do with zero-lot-line buildings)
3. Encourage consolidation into newer and larger multi-tenant buildings. The market seems to somewhat do this on its own, but you lose some "fine-grained urbanism" and existing attractive buildings.

I'm a little hazy on remembering my land use law class, but I believe simply removing all curb cuts could be considered a "taking", and the city would be responsible for the loss of value for the property.

Given the consistent grid, they could potentially install a narrow median and disallow left turns in and out of driveways. That would probably help with the more dangerous behaviors.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 5th, 2017, 2:13 pm

Making alleys with any sort of significant commercial access traffic one way would eliminate, what, 95% of the conflicts? I don't really think surface lots in urban areas (especially a place Eat Street, with well-used on-street parking as well as significant walk/bike/transit patrons) see as much vehicle traffic as you're suggesting. For example, I have parked in the Pancho Villa lot several times, and always exit out the alley, and have never had an issue with another vehicle.

But everything has a tradeoff - your list identifies some (though not all) for each of the options. Another option is "do nothing," which comes with the tradeoff of continued poor/dangerous sidewalk experience. People having to potentially wait in their cars a few extra seconds in an alleyway feels like the "least bad" thing to deal with.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby MNdible » July 5th, 2017, 2:36 pm

I walk the 25th-27th blocks of Nicollet at least three times a week, and I've never felt that the sidewalk experience was especially poor or dangerous. Which isn't to say that the consolidation/elimination of curbcuts shouldn't be a long-term goal, but maybe it isn't really worth the amount of teeth-gnashing we're giving it? And probably not worth the whole set of issues that pushing commercial traffic into the alleys would cause.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby David Greene » July 5th, 2017, 3:04 pm

I can't speak directly to Eat Street but I can speak to my experience of walking by the new Wedge Greeway apartments with a four-year-old who has a distressing habit of wanting to run across driveways to get a look at something interesting; driveways that are used quite frequently while we are walking down the street. Orienting those driveways to the alley would be helpful.

The biggest offender is Elan West which actually has parking access from the alley but has a big front-side curb cut anyway!

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 5th, 2017, 3:22 pm

I think both sides of a minor disagreement are guilty of using the same circumstance as evidence for why their preferred outcome is better. Sidewalks are fine because parking access is rare, but also there'd be many issues pushing that traffic to alleys. The reverse is true for me. We can't each have it both ways. But I stand by my take that people having to wait a little in their cars to get in/out of an alley isn't maybe a huge deal (if delays even did occur).

I can also say that, like David, having a 3 year old who walks with us along streets heightens my concern about sidewalk curb cuts for commercial parking. I'm generally in the (small) camp of people that thinks Families Get Too Much Attention in Urban Public Policy, but I think that my fears bleed into other demographics as well. And there's enough research showing that parking lot driveway frequency is associated with lowered pedestrian sense of comfort and actual safety outcomes. Obviously, Nicollet Ave here is not Cedar Ave through Apple Valley. But it would be nice to see something more than even the recent PO guidelines.

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sdho
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby sdho » July 6th, 2017, 1:08 pm

Of course, you're right -- "no build" is always an option. And the sidewalk experience is pretty good today, even with occasional driveway conflict. Maybe the best approach is do nothing for existing, but heavily limit curb cuts from new development.

One idea that I think I've seen, but can't find the spot right now is having a business near the corner pay to expand the alley to two-lane from their ramp access to the street. This means that only the (slightly widened) existing curb cut for the alley is used, but it doesn't overwhelm the single-lane alley with traffic. And it helpfully demarcates the more public part of the alley.

But, that's no good if the development is in the middle of the block.

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sdho
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby sdho » July 6th, 2017, 1:19 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:
July 5th, 2017, 2:13 pm
I don't really think surface lots in urban areas (especially a place Eat Street, with well-used on-street parking as well as significant walk/bike/transit patrons) see as much vehicle traffic as you're suggesting. For example, I have parked in the Pancho Villa lot several times, and always exit out the alley, and have never had an issue with another vehicle.
My assumption is the opposite, actually -- that in areas of somewhat limited parking, the parking lots will see more heavy usage relative to their size. I am certain that a greater proportion of customers are arriving by foot/transit/bike than other areas, but the movement in and out of parking lots can still be pretty heavy.

FWIW as a general statement about Eat Street section of Nicollet, this actually seems to hit the perfect balance of driveability and walkability. I think it is a perfectly reasonable place to walk (I've walked to Bad Waitress many times from his condo in Stevens Square, and even at that longer distance, it's pretty pleasant). On the other hand, it also is very convenient to drive to. I don't know that i've ever parked more than a block away, or had to pay for parking. Obviously there is a cost to accommodating driving, but since many restaurant owners and retailers want to be appealing to customers of all modes, this does it pretty well.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby sdho » July 6th, 2017, 9:21 pm

Although most of the conversation about the road projects has been in Suburbs > 66th St, the first section of the new 66th St protected bike lane has been poured:

Image66th St protected bike lane and sidewalk, mid-block by Sean Hayford Oleary, on Flickr

The facility will look similar all the way from Penn to Richfield Pkwy, with a gap around Portland.

I don't have good before pictures of this segment, but via Street View, this was the same side of the same block two years ago:

Image

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby mattaudio » July 7th, 2017, 7:12 am

They should buy up some more homes and build 3-4 story mixed-use along this corridor between Penn and 35W. Especially given the upcoming Orange Line stop. I'm sure that plan would be popular. Or at least zone it so private developers can start developing the 66th St frontage.

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Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby Qhaberl » July 7th, 2017, 8:58 am

I am sure this has been talked about, if there is a different thread this would fit in, feel free to place it somewhere else.

I wanted to know what others thought about the concept of dockless bike share. I have been reading a lot about it in China. I have read about some of the successes, and some of the failures. Do you think that this type of bike share system could work in Minneapolis? Our climate poses a unique challenge.

The other thing I was thinking about it, is whether or not E-bikes will ever catch on in Minneapolis. We have, relatively flat terrain. It's not like San Francisco. With that said, it would be nice to see people having the ability to communicate further A bike.




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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby amiller92 » July 7th, 2017, 9:22 am

I don't really see a great case for e-bikes at the moment. Personally, part of why I'm doing it is for exercise, so why do I want one? Maybe if huge hills were unavoidable, but they aren't and/or aren't that big of a deal around here.

Meanwhile, my MIL is interested in one and could see it helping her be able to actually get out on a bike, but as a relative beginner, does it make sense to drop $2-3k on a bike that may or may not get a lot of use?

As prices drop I can see it as a selling point for new/timid riders but otherwise I don't get it.*

*This probably means that everyone will own one at some point in the next six months.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby VacantLuxuries » July 7th, 2017, 9:28 am

I have an e-bike. I enjoy biking and making use of trails, but my commute contains the entirety of Theo Wirth and I don't have the luxury of being able to shower at both ends. So it makes a strenuous commute into a relaxing one.

I'd like to see it catch on more, but it's a solution designed for Chinese and European commuters to solve a problem American engineers "solved" fifty years ago with roads to every place imaginable. So it'll probably find commuters like myself who want to bike without training for a triathlon in the process, but they'll still have to want to commute by bike in the first place.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby sdho » July 7th, 2017, 9:35 am

My mom got an e-bike, and it's great for her. Honestly, I'd consider it myself. Although our terrain is mostly flat, a lot of people want to arrive at a good clip, without sweating. If you can ride at 20 mph but only put in the effort like you're going 8 mph, that's a big improvement to the mobility offered by bikes.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby EOst » July 7th, 2017, 10:07 am

They make a lot of sense in Saint Paul! ;)

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby amiller92 » July 7th, 2017, 10:23 am

VacantLuxuries wrote:
July 7th, 2017, 9:28 am
I have an e-bike. I enjoy biking and making use of trails, but my commute contains the entirety of Theo Wirth and I don't have the luxury of being able to shower at both ends. So it makes a strenuous commute into a relaxing one.
I don't get why people think that riding a bike is an activity that requires that one immediately shower at the end. But then again, I ride pretty slow and even slower when it's hot and I'm not riding for recreation.

I guess and e-bike would let me go a bit faster.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby EOst » July 7th, 2017, 10:33 am

Keep in mind that some people sweat more than others. Even on cool days, there's no speed I can bike that keeps me from getting sweaty. (I keep a lot of extra shirts around.)

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby kirby96 » July 7th, 2017, 10:35 am

A buddy of mine has one. It's pretty cool, but very frustrating to ride with him when he's on it. We'll head off to our destination maybe 4-6 miles off for beers, a game, dinner, whatever, and he sets a faster (but not obviously unreasonable) pace. So without thinking about it, I simply ride faster (hey, at first it's no problem). The issue is compounded by the fact that he's a BIG talker. So he's tooling along chatting non-stop while I'm riding faster than normal and feeling obligated to join in the conversation.

We arrive and he's chipper and ready to go and I'm sweaty and ready for a break. Sheesh.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby SurlyLHT » July 7th, 2017, 10:44 am

I think E-bikes are starting to catch on in Mpls. I see more and more of them. People seem to like them because their gadgety and remove the perception that biking is a lot of work. With that said, I'm not sure how I feel about them on bike infrastructure and seem to see a lot of fat-bike electric bikes. I almost got rear-ended by one Downtown when a car pulled in front of me to make a right-hand turn and I hit the disc brakes on my normal bike and could hear the electric bike sliding with the greater mass and I got a dirty look from the rider. I also think it'll be neat to maybe integrate them into bike share. This would remove the prohibitive cost barrier.

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby twinkess » July 14th, 2017, 2:45 pm

What is up with the epidemic of bicycle riding on the sidewalks downtown this summer? My wife almost got ran over last week, and while I haven't had a close call yet, I saw 6 or 7 people today, including one guy on 9th street where there is a bike lane in the direction he was going!

You aren't allowed to ride your bike on sidewalks downtown! Stop!

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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby EOst » July 14th, 2017, 4:23 pm

They probably don't feel safe in the streets. Blame Lisa Goodman for killing the protected bike lane on 9th.


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