Minneapolis’ Pedestrian Master Plan

On Wednesday the city and consultants had their first public meeting.

I had something later in the evening, so wasn’t able to stay the whole time. The meeting was well attended, with all seats taken and 10-20 people standing. The consultants only spent 10 minutes on their presentation, focusing more time on comments from the public.

With the pressure to leave early to get to my other thing, I was lucky to get the first questions after the presentation.

My two biggest issues for pedestrian safety are painted crosswalks and law enforcement.

In the fall of 2006 (I think November) all but the final layer of pavement, was completed on Lake St between Minnehaha Ave and about 37th Ave S. At thins point March 2006 (14 months later) that final layer has not been laid, and the crosswalks have not been painted. There was a 4-5 month delay on other segments getting painted crosswalks, and a really horrible situation at Lake and Chicago where the new left turn lanes weren’t painted.

Throughout Minneapolis, the painted crosswalks at controlled intersections, particularly those with stop lights, there is chronic fading issue. The area near my work (in St Paul) has probably been painted 7 times in the past 10 years, some out of it driven by lane marking changes.

The other huge issue is lack of enforcement of Minnesota Statute §169.21 Subd. 2 which is summarized here,

  • Do not enter the crosswalk if approaching vehicles cannot stop. While Minnesota’s Pedestrian law says that motorists must stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, it also says that pedestrians may not enter a crosswalk if it is impossible for a driver to stop. The word “crosswalk” applies to both marked and unmarked areas where pedestrians can gain the right-of-way.

Now the city of Saint Paul made a big deal out of this law, and enforces it. City of Minneapolis has been silent on it.

On these two issues, the city of Minneapolis could sure learn from St. Paul. In exchange we could tell St Paul about better methods of snow removal from the streets.

-Josh

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1 Comment

  1. September 6, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    I’ve really begun to notice how accepting Minneapolis has become with biking – not just for recreation and sport but as a legitimate means of transportation. Now the city is looking to extend it’s eco-friendly transportation commitment with a master plan for walking. I’ve always thought Minneapolis has been pedestrian friendly. But now that I look at it from a broader perspective, I see that it has a ways to go. My previous, more limited perspective has been that of a person who has walked for recreation or sport. When I’ve walked in the past it has been to walk to Pershing park with the kids or to take a run around Lake Harriett. In these circumstances, the city provides great resources for walking. That perspective changes quite dramatically if you look at walking for a purpose other than recreation – like to grocery shop, go to work or even get dinner at a local restaurant. I’ve noticed that walking to our commercial areas on W 50th St is really an unwelcoming and even unsafe adventure. There are many great businesses on W 50th St such as Patina, Broders’, Dunn Brothers, Wuollete’s Bakery and Lunds. Most of these businesses are an easy walk for our family but because the sidewalk situation along 50th is so poor and the traffic so dangerous, it feels as if the city would rather have us drive a few blocks rather than encourage us to walk. Making W 50th St a pleasant place to walk or bike would not only encourage our family to leave the car behind more often but would also encourage us to frequent the local business more too! At the request of the city, I photographed our family’s recent walk down 50th and posted them to flickr.com/groups/walkminneapolis .


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