Road Geek Topics

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby talindsay » May 12th, 2013, 2:55 pm

Yes, I thought we'd made it clear earlier in the thread, if you ever drive through Chicago you should get an I-pass. I got mine eight years ago and it's always ready to go when we show up in Chicago. The $10 one-time fee is easily worth it.

EDIT: sorry, I was forgetting that this is a *new* thread - on a *new* forum! We'd discussed this quite a bit on Minnescraper. Anyway, it's pretty big win and well worth it. This further reminded me that I probably hadn't checked my I-pass account in ages, so I just looked and found that my registered car in their system was two cars ago! Of course, as long as the transponder works that isn't a problem..

beykite
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby beykite » May 31st, 2013, 3:34 pm

From MDOTS Facebook page. I thought this was pretty cool. I'm always a fan of sprucing up signs.
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PhilmerPhil
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby PhilmerPhil » June 4th, 2013, 2:44 pm

Random question: Does anyone know why some neighborhoods in Minneapolis have streets made of concrete instead of the standard asphalt? Was this a failed experiment?

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » June 4th, 2013, 2:48 pm

Not sure about the answer, but I have noticed that concrete streets have one major disadvantage in Minnesota... they melt snow much slower than asphalt.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby RailBaronYarr » June 4th, 2013, 3:00 pm

^ I always say this when people talk about how great concrete driveways are. Asphalt melts the snow away like crazy. To follow up with the question.. why are so many alleys in Minneapolis concrete?

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Andrew_F
Rice Park
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Andrew_F » June 4th, 2013, 3:08 pm

I've always thought that asphalt was cheaper, but didn't last as long, whereas the more expensive concrete ones are more durable. As to why they do some neighborhoods in asphalt and others in concrete, I am unsure. Perhaps the concrete alleys are because they don't build it up from a deep gravel base as they would a street? Another idea-- bus stops on asphalt streets usually have a concrete section so that the buses don't sink and disform the asphalt; perhaps the same applies to garbage trucks in alleys?

web

Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby web » June 4th, 2013, 7:19 pm

alleys see all the garbage trucks and utility trucks........concrete lasts longer without replacement. life cycle cost way cheaper for concrete, just have to cough up the initial money

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Mdcastle
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Mdcastle » June 5th, 2013, 7:59 am

The new Hastings Bridge is open. I was there taking pictures Monday night and last night, when they had a ceremony and let people walk on the old bridge one last time.

The I-35W bridge collapse doomed any talk about keeping the old bridge as a vehicle bridge, and the city of Hastings didn't want to accept it as a bicycle bridge so into the recycling bin it goes. I wonder it Hastings will have nostalgia for "Big Blue" in the future just as they're nostalgic for the Spiral Bridge, but I have a feeling for now people are sick of being stuck in traffic on the old one.

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IMG_2753 by North Star Highways, on Flickr

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mattaudio
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » June 5th, 2013, 8:08 am

I also think there's some misguided hope that this is going to fix congestion. North of the river, 61 is an expressway to St. Paul. South of the river, it is Vermillion Street with a 30 MPH speed limit and intersections every block. The bridge was a very effective demarcation point for these two segments.

There was rarely congestion where the lanes merged northbound at 2nd Street, but there was often congestion southbound where the expressway ended. This seems to convince me that the congestion was more about the end of an expressway road type and less about merging to cross a two lane bridge. Considering that we're past Peak Vehicle Miles Traveled as well, I'm wondering if Hastings will regret a four lane bridge that opens the valve on traffic into town.

But if that's the case, I'll be happy to consult with the city on conversion of Vermillion Street to a multiway boulevard.

mulad
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mulad » June 5th, 2013, 9:32 am

Yep, that's basically what I was thinking too. The old bridge probably needed to go since it was in poor shape. It doesn't/didn't have much bike/pedestrian space either, did it? I'm not sure what the facilities are like on this new bridge, though.

mattaudio
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » June 5th, 2013, 9:34 am

It had a four foot sidewalk on the east side of the bridge, not barrier separated from traffic. I remember biking across that once or twice growing up.

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Mdcastle
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Mdcastle » June 5th, 2013, 11:11 am

It's the same situation as the old Stillwater Bridge, where it could have probably been preserved indefinitely if someone wanted it saved, was willing to pay for a rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance, and vehicle traffic was removed. But I guess we can't save everything. They saved the Big Blue Bridge in La Crosse, but that was a different political environment and traffic situation.

They did study doing six lanes, but rejected it because four would be enough given that Vermillion St. would limit capacity anyway. Normally I'm in favor of freeway bypasses, but I think a bridge at the existing location did make sense here being that most of the traffic wants to go into town, and through traffic usually uses US 52. I'd still like to see a cable-stayed vehicle bridge in Minnesota. It was considered and rejected for the Stillwater (towers too visually intrusive and visible outside the valley) and Dresbach (towers interfering with airport). The Hastings contractor was given the option of bidding on one vs the tied arch design, but the contractor chose to bid on the arch. Although the overriding factor was that it looks cute, unlike the Lowry Bridge there were some engineering reasons to pick the design, and it didn't cost that much more than a girder bridge.

mulad
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mulad » June 5th, 2013, 12:51 pm

Here's a topic for true road geeks: Portable weigh-in-motion sensors being tested/developed by Mn/DOT and UMN-Duluth


mattaudio
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » August 7th, 2013, 10:15 am

Anyone know what this little shack is for along 394/Penn? I've always wondered.
http://goo.gl/maps/MimMW

seanrichardryan
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby seanrichardryan » August 7th, 2013, 1:15 pm

I've been meaning to ask that. They recently cleared the trees from around it. There appears to be a weather station behind it and a few cameras nearby. I imagine it's a relic from the metro's first HOV lane, where dignitaries would sit in comfort to watch the amazing 'sane lanes' in action.
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PhilmerPhil
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby PhilmerPhil » August 10th, 2013, 11:32 am

Fun little tool: http://streetmix.net/

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Mdcastle
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Mdcastle » August 19th, 2013, 6:01 pm

Don't know if anyone's noticed, but the new lights on Crosstown from just beyond Cedar to almost Hiawatha are LED. Mn/DOT now has LEDs on their approved product list, (except for mast lights) and I get the idea all new projects will be LED. Also, they bought some to convert the Bloomington Ferry Bridge but were having problems getting them delivered.

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mister.shoes
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mister.shoes » August 19th, 2013, 11:23 pm

I did notice that just last week. I was very surprised to see them, but was equally pleased to know that Mn/DOT is willing to give them a shot. Less power + better light = win.

Funny that MN100 just got all new lights in the past year or two but missed out on the LEDs. Do you know if just the heads can be replaced? Or does it have to be a full pole replacement like they just finished doing?
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mattaudio
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » August 20th, 2013, 4:54 pm

They've been on the crosstown for a couple months now. I've noticed there's less glare from a distance, as the LEDs seem to sit flush within the housing rather than within a lens that dips below the fixture. Less light pollution as well, I assume.

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Le Sueur
Landmark Center
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Le Sueur » August 20th, 2013, 5:29 pm

Mdcastle wrote:Don't know if anyone's noticed, but the new lights on Crosstown from just beyond Cedar to almost Hiawatha are LED. Mn/DOT now has LEDs on their approved product list, (except for mast lights) and I get the idea all new projects will be LED. Also, they bought some to convert the Bloomington Ferry Bridge but were having problems getting them delivered.
If they are Mn/DOT approved I assume manufacturers figured out a way to melt snow. Do you know how/if this was addressed Md? I read a couple years ago about snow fouling being a problem on low power/heat LED stoplights, just never heard how/if they solved the problem.

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