SEND US YOUR COMMENTS!

Here it is, what you’ve been waiting for, the Draft Bike Walk Central Corridor Action Plan!  We’re looking for you thoughts and comments, so please take a look, and write a comment to this post.  If you’re feeling ambitious, you can read the entire document, or just the summary and key maps.  It’s up to you!  The important thing is you tell us what you think, and do it by February 27th.  Bear in mind that it’s very drafty at this point.  We’re mostly looking for comments on the routes and general policies, as opposed to grammar and such.

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14 Responses to “SEND US YOUR COMMENTS!”

  1. Martin Wessendorf Says:

    Hey, folks–

    I have a bunch of comments.

    1) P 2 and P21–regarding the bike-friendliness of major streets–the most major street in the Central Corridor is University Avenue. University NOT bike-intolerant–it is bike friendly. It’s not a pretty ride, but by-and-large it is SAFE–I would far prefer to ride University than, say, Summit Avenue. There is lots of room–the most precious commodity a biker can have–and that room keeps traffic at a safe distance. Other streets may not be as good, but please don’t forget University–the ONLY street to be completely altered by light rail.

    2) P 3 and P26–The bikeway plan is not presently acceptable for the simple reason that there is no available route parallel to University. University Avenue will of necessity remain a major bike route, whether auto traffic likes it or not–there is no alternative proposed that doesn’t involve unreasonable detours. ***The best thing that the City can do is to acknowledge that fact and label the street appropriately with “Share the road” signs. Lots of them. On the sides and on the pavement. This is crucial! Please see to it that it is done, for the safety and sanity of all.***

    3) P 20–What exactly is your definition of “bike-friendly”? I think that the one that should be used begins with the word SAFETY. Safety involves bike density (so that traffic expects bikes), traffic density (so that bikes expect and watch for traffic), space (so cars can maneuver around bikes), good road surface (so bikes aren’t dodging pot-holes) and experience upon the parts of both the auto drivers and bikers. If you want to include the presence of bike parking, then fine–that’s a practical issue. However, although beauty and quiet add to the pleasure of a bike ride, they don’t get you from point A to point B and are superfluous to the argument. They can safely (pun intended) be ignored.

    4) We have a new administration with new transit policy. I would appeal to them to ease up their strictures regarding the “car-friendliness” of University Avenue necessary for light rail to be funded.

    All for now but I’ll be back!

  2. Lance Says:

    In an ideal world, the needs of cyclists and pedestrians and motorists are met perfectly with no conflict. This is not an ideal world. The plan provided seems to account for the varied requirements of each, although no one can be represented perfectly. As for a specific recommendation on your proposed plan, I would say the faster the Greenway connection is completed, the better for all involved.

  3. Kelli Says:

    LOVE the Midtown Greenway extension to Ayd Mill Road business. Hope it can be done ASAP.

  4. Dana Says:

    Thank you for the open house on Thursday night and all the work that has been put into this plan. If all the pieces of it are able to be accomplished, biking in St. Paul will be great improved. There were a few suggestions that I either did not have the opportunity to share at the open house or did not think of until later.

    First, and I know this is considered “off the table”, but I will continue to beat the drum for complete streets. University must be safe for pedestrians and cyclists. It is unfortunate that the goals of this plan will not be met as without a barrier to traffic, University will not be a nice place to walk and without adequate space, University will not be a nice place to bike. The reality is that bikers like myself will continue to use University when other choices do not exist, such as in the Hwy 280 area and in the winter when other routes are not plowed, and less experienced riders will chose other modes of transportation.

    I would highly recommend that the city look at making Thomas Ave, rather than Charles Ave the parallel to University. It already has limited parking and stop lights at all major intersections. I would also recommend Hamline Ave in preference to Pascal Ave. Hamline would certainly need some improvements (the potholes are amazing), but it actually goes somewhere useful and has the existing bridge on the north.

    In regards to entering downtown, I am very much against a shared side walk on Kellogg. First, it sends a mixed message to auto drivers who are often already unclear about laws regarding cyclists. Bikes are either on the road or not. Second, mixed paths are dangerous. Pedestrians, plugged into ipods and walking their dogs, are not looking for bikes. Mixing pedestrians and bikes is dangerous for both. Also, riding on the sidewalk is the most dangerous place for cyclists, particularly at intersections. Cars just do not see or look for bikes on the sidewalk, especially at speeds above 10 mph. I realize that this is a difficult space, but shared sidewalks are not the solution.

    I also thought of another route into downtown. It is currently unsafe for all but very experienced and perhaps daft cyclists, but there is room for improvements. Here is a link to a gmap of the route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2577226. It is a one-way, so would requre an alternative to exit downtown.

    In regards to downtown in general, it is unfortunate that so many of the solutions from the previous downtown plan were incorporated into this one as it was a poor plan, lacking in imagination and usefulness. Downtown St. Paul, as you are probably well aware, poses many challenges in designing bike infrastructure due to its narrow streets and variable road widths. Therefore, increasing biking in downtown will require some creative solutions, beyond bike lanes. Reconfiguring streets from one-ways (bad for bikes and pedestrians) to single lane in each direction with a center turn lane allows for good traffic flow for cars, but safety for bikers. The city should also look at bike boxes at stop lights, painting pavements with “green” bands that indicate that cars should share the road, and timing stop lights so that cars moving faster than 20 mph get stopped at every light. This last recommendation is used in downtown Seattle and is being explored
    by Minneapolis for Hennepin and 1st Avenues. Speed differential is dangerous for bikes and this option slows traffic while keeping it moving.

    I look forward to hearing more about this process as it moves forward and the exciting changes coming to St. Paul.

  5. Benita Warns Says:

    1. Bicycles should be accommodated on University Avenue. Period. If a dedicated lane is not feasible, post share-the-road signs all along the entire route so motorists are placed on notice that there will be bicyclists there.

    2. If an east-west bicycle route is created to parallel University, it must be on Thomas where there are traffic signals to allow bicyclists to cross major streets safely. The proposed route on Charles is a JOKE. We don’t need those crappy traffic circles that make winter plowing (what little of it there is) more difficult. Thomas gets plowed because it is a snow emergency route. Put the bicycle route there where it belongs.

    3. Make the Pascal Street connection to the Midtown Greenway. Your plan shows it, but doesn’t list the specifics like it does for all the other streets. This language is critical to get this done. The Pascal bridge, and the Pascal route is a great way to get across the freeway and across University Avenue. It also works well to get people through the neighborhood to the north of University, and with the Albert connection takes riders up to the bridge at Pierce Butler and Hamline.

    3. Reduce wait times for north-south traffic at all signalized intersections along University Avenue. Pedestrians should not be made to wait through the extremely long light cycles currently in place. Also, the time to cross needs to be lengthened because right now even able-bodied adults cannot cross University before the light changes. There needs to be a walk cycle in every light cycle, so pedestrians can cross legally during every cycle.

    4. Do not put a bicycle route on Hamline. The residents of the high rise, as well as people who live in the immediate area, held a meeting a few years back when bicycle lanes were propsed for Hamline. They overwhelmingly voted to put the route on Albert, so that’s where it is. Also, Hamline is not wide enough to add dedicated lanes without loss of parking. The high rise needs this parking for the employees as well as all the people who come to visit the residents. We already have a good route on Pascal and Albert, and a Griggs route is supposed to be coming, so we don’t need one on Hamline.

    5. Bicycle loop detectors should be installed at the Snelling/Thomas and Snelling/Minnehaha intersections.

    6. Include in your plan a direct connection between Pierce Butler Route and the Lexington Bridge that goes over it. There is room there to make bicycle/pedestrian on-off ramps. The bridge is supposed to be cantilevered to accommodate wider sidewalks for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Reduce the current speed limit on Pierce Butler to improve safety for the bicyclists who already use this designated route.

    7. Do not install more medians like on Marshall Avenue. These promote illegal mid-block crossings by pedestrians. Small islands installed in crosswalks (like Fairview and Charles) will improve pedestrian safety but not encourage mid-block crossings. Also, the plantings in the medians are too tall and interfere with sight lines for all roadway users. The other problem with these medians is that they take up the space needed by motorists and bicyclists to avoid obstacles along the right side of the roadway – like opening doors, or cars parked in the bicycle lanes because the snow isn’t plowed to the curb.

  6. bikewalkcentralcorridoractionplan Says:

    This isn’t an official comment, but it is online chatter about the plan from people who love bikes, so I thought I’d connect it to the postings we have so far on this blog just to get more ideas in the pot: http://mplsbikelove.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=10901

  7. Ed Lehr Says:

    Greetings,

    Good meeting Thursday.

    University Avenue and the rest of the corridor should be marked with Sharrows, which mean “Share the Road.” Then, add the Share the Road signs as well. The safety of bicyclists will be enhanced.

    Please examine this link for the City of Seattle, a Gold designated Bike Friendly City.

    http://www.cityofseattle.net/transportation/sharrows.htm

    Make this a great example of a bike-friendly route. Any thing less is not a fair use of this connection.

    Thanks.

  8. St. Paul Smart Trips Says:

    St. Paul Smart Trips comments on DRAFT Bike Walk Central Corridor Action Plan
    February 27, 2009

    DOWNTOWN
    • It’s not clear what the proposed width is for the shared (bike/bus) lane on 5th/6th (page 5). In the short-term, reduce the width of travel lanes and increase the width of the shared lane to at least 14’. In the long-term, reduce width of travel lanes or number of travel lanes on 5th/6th to accommodate on-street bike lanes.
    • Jackson is not a principal bike route from the north, Cedar is (page 38). Though Cedar will not be an identified route after light rail, we’d like the plan to acknowledge its current status. The plan should also offer a viable alternative to Cedar. Jackson is not viable as it is very steep north of University and interacts with freeway on/off ramps.
    • Consider a side path only on the east side of Kellogg. A side path on the west, where it intersects with multiple streets and driveways including the freeway on/off ramps would be very dangerous (page 38). There are limited driveways and intersections on the east side of Kellogg making a side path more feasible. However, this would require innovative treatments at the Kellogg/John Ireland and Kellogg/ Smith intersections to transition bikes back to city streets.
    o Please provide more detail related to the Kellogg treatments. Would you recommend painted conflict zones near the on/off ramps?
    o Are sharrows a safe option for Kellogg in the near-term? Might speeds on Kellogg be too fast for sharrows to be safe?
    • The plan mentions removing parking on one side of Sibley (page 40 and page 72). We’re concerned that this will be a non-starter with the businesses and residents along that street. We believe converting Jackson to a 2-way street is a better recommendation.
    • Image of Smith Avenue Transit Center does not show mixed use (page 62). Is this photo intended to be an example of mixed use?
    • The draft shows the jog of 10th Street across Cedar, but we know (and the draft mentions) that this won’t be possible after LRT. Therefore, don’t show it as a route. The draft mentions a shortcut on Exchange. Please show this on the map and discuss in more detail.

    MIDWAY
    • The draft states that 10’ has been established as the sidewalk width on University. We are not ready to accept 10’ sidewalks (page 56) and still believe that a single lane of traffic in each direction is feasible if we employ a measurement such as average trips generated (ATG) as opposed to level of service (LOS).
    • What is the recommended width for the Mackubin bridge (page 71)? We’d like to see the plan recommend an ideal width for reconstruction of all the I-94 bike/ped bridges since they will be key connections to LRT.
    • As a primary east/west bike connection, Marshall needs year-round maintenance. We’d like to see the plan mention peak hour or seasonal parking restrictions as an option for facilitating this.
    • At the end of the document, specific streets and plans for them are discussed but Chatsworth is not mentioned at all. This is a route that is already being used (despite the dangerous rail crossing). We’d like to see the plan explicitly recommend a rail crossing since Chatsworth directly connects Summit to Como Park and is a regional route.
    • We recommend Hamline between Charles and Pierce Butler be recorded as a bike route. We have heard there may have been some sort of vote against this route of property owners along Hamline near the bike/ped bridge. While we respect this, we think the regional priority outweighs individual preferences and Hamline should connect up with the bridge in a legible manner.
    o Between Aldine and Griggs, there are not any planned connections over Ayd Mill Road. What about recommending traffic calming on Hamline to get cyclists safely over Ayd Mill? Pascal will not provide this connection over Ayd Mill.
    o Consider identifying Hamline as a Commuter route all the way from the bike/ped bridge over the railroad to Summit.
    • The gap in east-west routes between Cleveland and Prior needs more thorough attention in the plan. Cyclists will bike on University in this section because there is not another connection until Pierce Butler (north) or Marshall (south).

    CAPITOL AREA
    • Please clarify the draft’s intent on the continuation of the Aurora/Fuller route eastward from Rice to Park and the Capitol. Are cyclists intended to ride on the sidewalk along University? The draft appears to show a local route cutting through the MnDOT building.
    • The draft shows a connection from Constitution Ave to Robert to 14th to Jackson but because of the station and topography issues, people won’t be able to get to Jackson along the road this way. Therefore, the plan should not show this as a connection.
    o In light of the above, how are people going to access downtown from the Capitol area? There needs to be something beyond John Ireland to Kellogg. This is too far out of the way and potentially unsafe (the Kellogg portion). The plan needs to recommend a route. Are there any innovative long-term infrastructure changes that could be made?
    • Please provide more details on the near and long term suggestions for connecting the Charles east-west route with Como and Park. There are challenges with this connection and it deserves more detailed attention.
    • The plan shows a Regional Trail (and off-road planned bikeway) that extends southward from near I-35E and the extension of Pierce Butler. This little branch appears doesn’t appear to connect with any planned routes. What is the plan for this branch? How does it fit into the system?

    GENERAL
    • The off-street trails section on page 31 sites 4-10 feet as the range for ROW width. The Midtown Greenway is 21 feet wide. The 4-10 foot range is inadequate for a shared use facility.

    Jessica Treat
    Executive Director

  9. chris büdel Says:

    This is a conundrum. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t (allow Bicycle traffic on University).

    Through painstaking discussion at the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Council meeting on March 4th, a resolution was hashed out for a stretch of Washington by the University of Minnesota that could be modified for use here in the uglier segments.

    Keep your parking. Keep your through motor-traffic, but slow it down. Bicycles will continue to use University whether you make it “safe” or not.

    Instead of “Share the Road” signage in conjunction with “sharrows”, install (many/often) “Bicycles Have Full Use of Lane” signs. (If not here, where? If not now, when?) Sprinkle in a few “Share the Road” signs and some (as yet non-existant) “State Law: 3-Foot Clearance When Passing Bicycles”.

    A colored-pavement at intersections would be helpful for both parties, so long as a color could be agreed upon.

    Enhance Intersection-with-Stoplight crossings by adding (well-marked) in-pavement triggers to change the lights sensitive enough to be tripped by Bicycle-traffic. Bike-boxes would be helpful for all parties, especially if they were of a color mentioned above. Consider “early-green” for peds and Bicycles, and/or “early-green” left-turn signals for Bicycles at busy intersections.

    Enforcement. This corridor should, AT ALL TIMES, be a zero-tollerance corridor: Tag all motorists and Bicyclists for any infraction. Those that don’t want to travel on the “mommy” road can go elsewhere– this road WILL BE SAFE.

    The 800-pound gorilla in the room that is always ignored (surprising, really, in Minnesota) is snow/ice and snow-storage. All systems (especially those involving Bicycles) will break down into entropy if snow is ignored. Witness Marshall Avenue. If left to its own devices, Saint Paul would be a three-season Bicycling town. A plan of action needs to be adopted and strictly followed. Saint Paul currently fails at dealing with this Wintertime Bicycling hazard. (And the “economy” is no excuse– it failed before the current economic meltdown, too.)

    Parallel & Perpendicular Routes.

    Obvious crossings of busy streets (at traffic-signals) need to be developed. Shunting Bicycle traffic onto side-streets that cross busy streets like Lexington or University itself without the aid of a stoplight is a waste of money– they will not be used.

    All North-South streets that have I-94 egress will intimidate “B” riders and should be avoided. So to with the “speedway” North-South streets that carry heavy traffic volume. Save your money to enhance crossings (of 94 and University) on the sleepier “through” North-South streets.

    The “Emerald Route” should be (re)considered to (safely) move Bicycle traffic between Minneapolis and Saint Paul through the no-mans-land, light-industrial, 94/280 convergence area. This Route, ignored by Public Works, could safely and efficiently move Bicycle traffic through this difficult and intimidating area. It could be continued, with a little creative modification, through to Pascal, if not Lexington itself, where it could join the aformentioned “Zero Tollerance Bicycle/motor-traffic Route”.

    Granary Road/Pierce Butler Route with its promise of a parallel Bicycling Route from the Stone-Arch Bridge to the Gateway Trail should be heavily promoted.

    Minnehaha is already a striped Bicycle Route. Fix the surface and it might get used. (It will become part of the Granary Road/Pierce Butler Route as a feeder.)

    Downtown

    The plugged-up Streetcar tunnel by Cathedral Hill should be investigated for a Bicycle Route. It existed as the streetcar couldn’t handle the grade and when the line was scrapped in favor of buses (that’s progress), it was blocked up. I think the tunnel still exists.

    I liked 10th Street as a through-downtown Route, but reading (above) this is now evidently a moot point. Kurt Schroeder and I rode downtown days before Biko was assigned to dope this out– we came to much the same conclusion as Biko (for free, I might add), and I believe Mr. Schroeder should be queried on this particular set of problems (he lives downtown, is a BAB member, and represents it on the Board, and is a longtime Bicycle rider).

    Also see my previous rambling comments, submitted at an earlier request, especially regarding the North/South Routes of Chattsworth and Hamline.

    Chris Büdel, At-Large member, Saint Paul Bicycle Advisory Board

  10. Christina Morrison Says:

    Re: the selby avenue tunnel – That is something we took a look at when we were looking for the “undiscovered” route to downtown. The main problem is, even if it was open, it only gets you from Selby (I think it formerly came up in the middle of Selby Ave) to College Ave. Unfortunately, it’s Kellogg that’s the problem! If it crossed Kellogg, it would definitely be in play.

    That said, I can see why it was built, because trying to get a future Selby Ave. streetcar into downtown is going to painful. But that’s a topic for another plan : )

  11. Don Miuske (St. Paul Bike Advisory Board) Says:

    I, too, would love to have a bike lane on University Ave. The logic for it is lost only on people who don’t see biking as an equal opportunity mode of transportation. Since the realities of our situation do not support this goal, I do like the designation of east-west routes through the city that are adjacent to University. In some ways this is a better idea for those cyclists who’d feel intimidated by the amount of traffic on University. Any plan that increases the opportunitities for riders and that enhance awareness in drivers of cyclists is a plus for St. Paul.

  12. Ed Lehr Says:

    Greetings,

    Here are comments to clarify what I believe should be considered for the Central Corridor University Avenue treatment in regard to vehicle traffic:

    1. University Avenue should be as bike and pedestrian friendly as possible. Bikes are allowed by law, and therefore substantial accommodation should be made for them.
    a. University Avenue is the shortest distance to travel to the University of Minnesota from downtown Saint Paul.
    b. University Avenue currently is not bike and pedestrian friendly because lanes are too wide, which encourages vehicles to travel at inappropriately high speeds.
    c. University Avenue should not function as a substitute for Interstate-94 for vehicles.
    d. Less vehicle traffic will be a likely outcome for University Avenue if Light Rail is properly implemented.
    e. University Avenue should be friendly for bike-ped and slow moving vehicles and provide parking for local commerce.
    f. Short trips should be the norm for motor vehicles and University Avenue should be implemented accordingly.

    2. Using the above presumptions, there are several bike friendly alternatives if 25 feet of width is available in each direction.
    a. Make an 11-foot inside vehicle lane, a 9-foot parking lane and a 5-foot outside bike lane.
    b. Make an 11-foot inside vehicle lane and a 14-foot shared bike-bus lane.
    c. Make two 11-foot lanes with the outside lane a shared bike-bus lane and the balance dedicated to widening the pedestrian walkway.
    d. Time traffic for bikes, not vehicles.
    e. Add bicycle-friendly traffic signals that can be activated by bicycles, and install bicycle boxes within the appropriate lanes for bicycles to congregate for start and turn ahead of motor vehicles.

    3. The worst possible message for all: A 12-foot inside and 13-foot outside lane which will encourage higher speeds and make the road another through-traffic mini-Interstate-94 nightmare.

    Sincerely,

    Ed Lehr
    Saint Paul Bicycle Advisory Board Vice Chair
    League of American Bicyclists League Cycling Instructor

    Opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent a consensus BAB or League position.

  13. Deb Alper Says:

    I know the comment extension is really for BAB members, but I’m belatedly coming to this process because I was away traveling. Actually, I do attend quite a few BAB meetings as an interested observer. So, several comments.
    First, I’m really pleased to see a bike plan that includes an entire, integrated network. Thank you. I ride Summit to work and as with many other bike paths/lanes, I’m disturbed when the bike amenity simply ends. I hope that one of the main goals of the plan, whatever the eventual details, will be creation of connectivity.
    A thought on Kellogg – my route once I leave Summit to reach downtown. Currently I cross through the light and take the sidewalk by the History Center. It’s very wide, has few pedestrians, and I can see it being turned into a dual bike/ped route. I turn through the passageway north of the Smith Ave. parking ramp (sharp left, might pose problems) and then onto the street at the corner of Smith and 5th. (The lights here by the way are badly synchronized with 7th street: a green allows you to reach 7th just as the light there is turning red, must be similar for cars.) Alternatively, would a striped lane on Kellogg going into town provide a safe route for bicyclists? With cars using Kellogg in this stretch as an on ramp for 35 I don’t know, but I’d probably use the lane if it existed.
    About north/south routes: I’m aware you’re trying hard to make connections to the area north of Pierce Butler and the railroads. One connector you haven’t included is Snelling, a route which meshes nicely with the Minnehaha bike lane. Is this deemed impossible? Snelling is bikeable, though not a lot of fun, but I think improvements could be made. It’s my route of choice for many points north (like the fair). In the same way people will continue to bike University Ave., I think they will Snelling north of Minnehaha.
    Finally, thanks for all the hard work.

  14. Christina Morrison Says:

    St. Anthony Park Community Council sent written comments on March 3:

    The Bridging the Gap task force has been assessing bicycle and pedestrian access in the University Avenue and Hwy 280 area. We would like to make the following recommendations to the “Bike Walk Central Corridor Action Plan” based on community input and our task force findings:

    -Consideration of University Avenue as a potential bicycle route
    -Establishment of a strong bike/pedestrian connection to Minneapolis along Franklin Avenue
    -Consideration of Charles Avenue as an alternative route for Territorial Road as a bicycle connection, East of Raymond
    – If Territorial is the chosen route, addition of bike lanes as a long-term goal on Territorial
    -Consideration of colored pavements and bike boxes as additional treatments for bike lanes, intersections, and pedestrian crossings

    Thank you for your continued work on this important topic for our community

    Sincerely,
    Wade A. Johnson

    On behalf of the “Bridging the Gap” task force, a collaboration between the St. Anthony Park Community Council and Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association.

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