University Avenue Traffic Lane Modification Study

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Didier
Capella Tower
Posts: 2344
Joined: June 3rd, 2012, 10:11 am
Location: MSP

University Avenue Traffic Lane Modification Study

Postby Didier » October 21st, 2013, 8:49 pm

A group is studying converting a lane of traffic on University to parking and bike lanes. Three years ago I could not have imagined doing this, but with the LRT traffic calming I actually think this could be a great idea.

http://www.twincities.com/stpaul/ci_243 ... nes-adding

robotlollipop
Metrodome
Posts: 98
Joined: October 10th, 2012, 1:00 am

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby robotlollipop » October 22nd, 2013, 3:03 am

Didier wrote:A group is studying converting a lane of traffic on University to parking and bike lanes. Three years ago I could not have imagined doing this, but with the LRT traffic calming I actually think this could be a great idea.

http://www.twincities.com/stpaul/ci_243 ... nes-adding
Why do I allow myself to read those comments? o___o

orangevening
Nicollet Mall
Posts: 138
Joined: June 18th, 2013, 12:18 pm

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby orangevening » October 22nd, 2013, 7:01 am

robotlollipop wrote:
Didier wrote:A group is studying converting a lane of traffic on University to parking and bike lanes. Three years ago I could not have imagined doing this, but with the LRT traffic calming I actually think this could be a great idea.

http://www.twincities.com/stpaul/ci_243 ... nes-adding
Why do I allow myself to read those comments? o___o
Especially in St. Paul. Online comments sure bring out the "what a waste of money" and the "its my god given right to drive and have convenient right of way for it too" crowd.

Take out a travel lane and IS there room for parking AND a bike lane?

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5569
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby MNdible » October 22nd, 2013, 8:35 am

As opposed to the "every street is the right street for a bike lane" crowd you get here.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 22nd, 2013, 9:10 am

Instead of just being snide, why not offer up your take on the issue? I think the reason many people think bike lanes are good ideas for most of the streets/corridors discussed in these forums is that they're the major residential and commercial areas of our city (no thread for Wentworth Ave S and potential transit/bike changes, wonder why?). What's your take on the trade-off of vehicle traffic capacity vs the benefits of on-street parking? The trade-off of convenience for cyclists who could bike directly adjacent to businesses/residences (as opposed to riding multiple streets over) vs the inconvenience for motor vehicles who might choose to drive on 94 for 2 miles instead of just along University for that full stretch? Any benefits to having a 9-11' sidewalk separated from moving vehicle traffic by a bike lane and parked cars, in addition to shortening the crossing distance? I'd be curious to see your take on this specific proposal.

Tcmetro
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1271
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago (ex-Minneapolitan)

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby Tcmetro » October 22nd, 2013, 9:13 am

I honestly believe that taking a lane during off-peak hours for parking could be a good idea. Traffic is fairly low, and I think it could be advantageous, especially on the stretch from Marion to Fairview.

I don't know how a bike lane and a parking lane are going to fit. There are a lot of portions of the corridor where there are only 2 lanes each way with little to no room for expansion.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 22nd, 2013, 9:26 am

orangevening wrote:Take out a travel lane and IS there room for parking AND a bike lane?
It wouldn't be a pretty segregated bike lane by great design standards. If the travel lane was reduced by half a foot, parking gets 8.5', and the bike lane is directly adjacent to it (no 3' door buffer), it would be 5' wide with 2 of that in the gutter pan. Not perfect by any stretch, but on the safe side of moving traffic and better than nothing. I would be interested in the city using some lean techniques and trying it out for a 10-15 block section with just chalk paint and Home Depot planters next summer. See how it works for a month or 2. Don't pay some firm $150k, use that money to actually try it out and get the real data yourselves. Just my take.

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5569
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby MNdible » October 22nd, 2013, 9:33 am

I don't think there are enough details on this specific proposal to really comment on them.

My point was just that we're an echo chamber just as much as the PiPress comments are.

My general opinion is that providing high quality bike boulevards on parallel streets is a much better solution. Off-peak on street parking may well make sense.

User avatar
woofner
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1329
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:04 am

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby woofner » October 22nd, 2013, 9:38 am

As part of my commute I typically ride the 11th St bike lane past Lee's Liquor Lounge to access the Cedar Lake Trail. This is a 5' bike lane with a 2' gutter pan next to a 10.5' general traffic lane that is typically 3-4 deep with express buses deadheading. It gets cramped at times, especially on the curve, but it usually works, and would be even better with a parking buffer (of course in St Paul that parking would be unused most of the time).

I would be interested in trying out a high quality bike boulevard sometime. I'd say 5th St NE is the closest thing we have here and that still prioritizes cars.
"Who rescued whom!"

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 22nd, 2013, 10:44 am

MNdible wrote:I don't think there are enough details on this specific proposal to really comment on them.

My point was just that we're an echo chamber just as much as the PiPress comments are.

My general opinion is that providing high quality bike boulevards on parallel streets is a much better solution. Off-peak on street parking may well make sense.
Fair opinion. Maybe some of this can be moved to general bike infrastructure thread, but... I'm curious to your take on when to decide if a lane of car traffic gets priority on a major commercial/residential street vs. a bike lane? Why not allow car traffic to spill over to a parallel street and allow bicycles to have direct access to amenities?

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5569
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby MNdible » October 22nd, 2013, 11:44 am

In very general terms, I think that bike traffic is more compatible with the land uses on the parallel streets than through automobile traffic is. These secondary streets frankly aren't built to handle much in the way of through traffic, and certainly not regular heavy traffic. Our grid has a hierarchy of intensity, and I don't think we should ignore it.

The idea of direct access to amenities is frequently raised in this sort of topic, and I think it's kind of a bogus argument. Partially because a biker can cover the extra 300' or so with very little effort, and partially because it's a false equivalency. Nobody has "direct" access to amenities, except maybe pure pedestrians. Those using transit are dropped off at the stop, and then need to cover the rest of the distance on foot. Those driving need to find a parking place, which is unlikely to be directly in front of the business, and then need to cover the rest of the distance on foot.

As for when dropping a lane of auto traffic makes sense for a bike lane, I guess you'd have to look at the actual demands on each individual corridor. There are certainly instances when it does make sense -- I think, for example, the Park and Portland compromise that was executed is a very fair balance between different users. Politically, I know the bikers have the ears of a lot of decision makers right now. I think that the population at large is a bit more suspect, especially if a congested road gets more congested to accommodate a bike lane that's very lightly used.

Well, you asked.

User avatar
woofner
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1329
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:04 am

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby woofner » October 22nd, 2013, 1:37 pm

I'm not sure I understand the idea that a particular mode of transportation would be better for any particular land use. But there are a couple aspects of the existing street hierarchy that I think your analysis misses.

First, the side streets have stop signs placed at least every quarter mile and often even more frequently. I think we all understand why regular stopping is more detrimental to the bike user than to the car user (although certainly the environmental and long-term fiscal effects of frequent hard stopping are bad for some types of cars, that is often ignored by the individual user). A good bike blvd must have a stop sign no more than every half mile, with several intervening diverters. I think the best this region has so far managed has been one diverter per bike blvd. This situation must change for bike blvds to be a real solution, that is, a practical alternative to driving (the status quo is fine if you just want to make liberals feel like they're progressive without actually changing travel behavior).

Second, our arterial roadway grid is at most half-mile square and in many places less (in the Midway and Frogtown Thomas is a quarter-mile north of University and Concorda/St Anthony is a quarter-mile south, not to mention I-94). This capacity hasn't been fully used because certain streets are designed to highway standards, allowing people to feel like they can drive faster and feel like their trip is faster. Basically, the existing arterial grid is sufficient to handle existing travel demand with two-lane streets, so there is little risk in converting any particular arterial to a two-lane.
"Who rescued whom!"

robotlollipop
Metrodome
Posts: 98
Joined: October 10th, 2012, 1:00 am

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby robotlollipop » October 22nd, 2013, 4:24 pm

I'm not saying that the plan will work or that it's the best plan, but it is a plan. If the ultimate goal is to decrease the number of people driving cars, then why shouldn't I be annoyed by commenters shooting down potentially progressive ideas all because they are afraid of change? It is just an idea, it can be tested.

mulad
Moderator
Posts: 2751
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 6:30 pm
Location: Saint Paul
Contact:

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby mulad » October 22nd, 2013, 4:36 pm

Even if bike lanes don't happen on University, there's a good case to be made for more bike parking. Have one or two car-sized spaces per block set aside for bike corrals.

I see people riding bikes on the sidewalk frequently, partly because there aren't suitable on-street riding facilities, but part of that also comes down to the need for them to hunt for a decent spot to lock up, just like car drivers.

UptownSport
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 607
Joined: July 23rd, 2012, 12:07 am

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby UptownSport » October 23rd, 2013, 9:00 am

So the priority is to get rid of cars?
Pretty much at any cost?

There was a rather large change to University, so saying people don't like an idea because they're afraid of change doesn't make sense.
Perhaps there could be something wrong wirh the merit of the idea.
robotlollipop wrote:I'm not saying that the plan will work or that it's the best plan, but it is a plan. If the ultimate goal is to decrease the number of people driving cars, then why shouldn't I be annoyed by commenters shooting down potentially progressive ideas all because they are afraid of change? It is just an idea, it can be tested.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 23rd, 2013, 10:54 am

UptownSport wrote:So the priority is to get rid of cars?
Pretty much at any cost?

There was a rather large change to University, so saying people don't like an idea because they're afraid of change doesn't make sense.
Perhaps there could be something wrong wirh the merit of the idea.
I'm confused, in what way does "a lane of traffic, a lane for parking, left turn lanes at intersections, and I-94 a quarter mile away" say "get rid of cars" to you?

robotlollipop
Metrodome
Posts: 98
Joined: October 10th, 2012, 1:00 am

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby robotlollipop » October 23rd, 2013, 1:29 pm

UptownSport wrote:So the priority is to get rid of cars?
Pretty much at any cost?

There was a rather large change to University, so saying people don't like an idea because they're afraid of change doesn't make sense.
Perhaps there could be something wrong wirh the merit of the idea.
robotlollipop wrote:I'm not saying that the plan will work or that it's the best plan, but it is a plan. If the ultimate goal is to decrease the number of people driving cars, then why shouldn't I be annoyed by commenters shooting down potentially progressive ideas all because they are afraid of change? It is just an idea, it can be tested.

I would hardly say this would be an example of "at any cost" when they are still planning to accommodate cars. People get overly upset about a plan that hasn't been tested yet and isn't even completely fleshed out. Chances of businesses failing with an objective to increase foot traffic isn't logical so it's worth a try. Besides, when I was reading the comments, most of them were up in arms about worse Thru street traffic (people that I don't think should have much of a say because it isn't their neighborhood). Ideally, more people should live in the city and getting them to stop commuting because traffic isn't worth it isn't a bad plan.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Green Line (Central)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 24th, 2013, 8:39 am

Pretty thorough position paper on re-striping University Ave, obviously by the pro-bike folks.

http://saintpaulbicyclecoalition.org/pr ... niversity/

Mods, let us know if this should stay in the Green Line thread or move to the generic bicycle infrastructure thread...

at40man
Rice Park
Posts: 414
Joined: January 3rd, 2013, 6:49 pm
Location: The Saintly City

Re: University Avenue Traffic Lane Modification Study

Postby at40man » October 24th, 2013, 10:24 am

I am a bicyclist, and there is NO WAY I would bike down University if they were to restripe it to accommodate cyclists. There are way too many stoplights, turnoffs into various businesses, and crazy drivers. Put all the traffic calming measures in you want, and squeeze any number of cars you want that had been in 2 lanes down to 1 lane, but at the end of the day I would MUCH rather bike down a side-street and use the roads that feed into University to get to whatever business I need.

Most people who are driving on University aren't using it like I-94, so to continually bring that point up is far-fetched. People who are driving on University are trying to get to their homes or businesses in the area.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: University Avenue Traffic Lane Modification Study

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 24th, 2013, 11:06 am

Are stoplights preferable to intersections at Snelling, Lexington, and Rice (all major arterials) that don't have stop lights, leaving one to fend for themselves to cross? How many stoplights are there compared to stop signs + lights on neighboring streets? With all the housing and business development that is and will likely continue to go up directly adjacent to University, I think it's a lot to ask for those people to go many blocks out of their way at the beginning and end of their journeys, both ways.

I don't think either of us can say how people are driving on University, in aggregate. Yes, I agree most people are using it to get to homes and businesses - don't people do that on interstates? There is no origin-destination report that I've seen to confirm what % of traffic along the corridor is really local vs. less local. My guess is there is a good chunk of people driving down University for more than a mile or 2, even if their destination is home/business. The point is that a solid chunk of these trips would either 1) head 1,400' (all of 30 seconds by car) down to 94 to make the longer journey instead of using University, 2) use the LRT instead (assuming they live or work within a reasonable walk shed of the stop), 3) choose to bike if possible, 4) choose to take the bus if LRT stops are too far, or 5) longer-term, change destination or origin habits by moving, changing jobs, or choosing to shop elsewhere. The last option is detrimental to local businesses, but increased connectivity brought by LRT, bike lanes, and on-street parking may draw people who wouldn't have chosen University Ave as a shopping/living location, evening it out (to potentially net benefit to local businesses).


Return to “Transportation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: awgrill and 2 guests