Friday, August 8, 2008

Bike Boulevards

The Twin Cities has received a federal grant to convert several streets in the metro area to bike/pedestrian friendly boulevards. The roads will still be open to vehicular traffic but the idea is that bikes and walkers will have priority and cars will use alternative streets to get around, usually on a parallel street. It will also represent a major link to a number of bike paths in the area.

The only street in St Paul that may gain the "bike boulevard" designation is a section of Highland Parkway from the Mississippi River East to Snelling Avenue. Neighbors living in the area have expressed initial opposition because I really don't think they understand what a bike boulevard is.

There is a public meeting, Monday 8/11 at 7PM at the Hillcrest Rec Center on Ford Parkway in St Paul. If you ride anywhere in this area, it would be great if you could attend and show your support. A huge turnout of cyclists, especially coming by bike will be great.

Kevin will be leaving HC at 6:30 to attend so if you want to ride over as a group, meet up there.

Here is a map for the rec center. Hope to see you there!

View Larger Map


Tyboty said...

I was at the meeting, and it was pretty much as you would expect - impassioned opposition by almost anyone who lives on the street, and your basic back and forth on cycling in the city. My big dissapointment was with the city's public works department who failed to make any sort of compelling presentation of the scheme, and who seemed to have a very rudimentary knowledge of their own plan. No statistics, no accounts of success in other places, no traffic-calming infrastructure, and no knowledge of local traffic laws regarding cyclists. My observations here:

Bujiatang said...

I misquoted the state statute at the meeting 169.222, I said 164.222.

I was really getting frustrated that no one was citing the law, only vaguely referring to it.

I think if there was effective use of traffic statistics on the part of the public works the meeting would have been less hostile.

I personally think that this is a great way for the city to improve the neighborhood without any out of pocket expenses.

jim_h said...

What were the residents unhappy about? Was it the diversion of traffic to adjacent streets?

Bujiatang said...

After the meeting I spoke to a person convinced that cyclists were going to try and win the door prize every time she exited her vehicle.

I told her she should pay attention to traffic.

Our little discussion went down hill from there.

During the meeting it was mostly complaints about lack of enforcement of current speed limits, which doesn't have anything to do with the Public Works department, the cyclists disobey traffic laws, and that bicycles lead to crime.

Adventures in Ordinary has a nice analysis of the meeting.

Bujiatang said...

Sorry, I thought a google search would produce the blog. I didn't mean to double post.

jim_h said...

Don't be discouraged. The people who made the angry speeches are the same cranks who show up anytime a change is proposed, and the Public Works guys are used to it. And although PW didn't seem excited, that might be because it's already a done deal and it doesn't matter if they're for it, personally. Bottom line, if there's grant money, PW and their contractor buddies want their piece.

KM said...

Jim H and others

I posted about my observations here: