Comments galore

I’d be proud – and humbled – if I was able to make a 138-page document out of the comments on one of my blog posts.  But that’s what Don Pflaum did with the comments on his Bicycle Master Plan – the document, which collects email comments and summarizes comments made at public meetings, was posted on the agenda of the 11/30/10 Public Works & Transportation Committee meeting (I don’t think the document is on the Bike Master Plan webpage yet).

You could not pay me to read the whole document.  But I have to admit that I skimmed it and read some of it – mostly because I saw my name, “Alex B,” on the first page, which lists then names of all commenters.  It was a bit surprising to see myself there, because I didn’t remember commenting.  When I’d skimmed to my comment, I was even more surprised:

Hopefully the Cedar Lake Trail reconstruction will find a way to widen the approx. 700 feet east of
the Wirth Pkwy bridge. At about 11 feet for bidirectional bike travel and pedestrians, it’s waaay too
narrow.

Pretty sure I left that as a comment on a blog entry (In Transit maybe?  I can’t find it now).  Maybe I was drunk and submitted it as a comment to the public record, too.  Certainly I’ve said stupider things when I was drunk.

According to my memory, I chose not to comment on the Bike Master Plan because it reminded me of the multitude of plans that Minneapolis has adopted and quickly forgotten.  The only part of the plan that is at all important is the map of designated routes, and that is only important because Public Works policy is to not put bike facilities on any street that isn’t designated in the plan – which is a really stupid policy, not to mention unfair (why isn’t there a map of private auto facilities, and if a street isn’t on that map, then it doesn’t get free parking).  So my comment would have been to designate every street as deserving of some cycle facilities, and also that cycle capital funds should come from property taxes, and I just thought that would be too radical – especially for a farmboy like Pflaum.

Also of note – Hennepin County’s comments to the plan.  I’d quote them here, but for some reason they are saved as a picture rather than text, and that would be too much work.  Anyway, it is always interesting when one level of government comments on another level of government because it makes obvious the ridiculous layering that exists in fragmented regions like ours.  This is actually a great example, because Hennepin County already has a Bicycle Master Plan, and most of the comments deal with the differences between the two plans.  Some highlights:

  • “The County has 156 of its 900 mile bikeway system designated in Minneapolis.”  My understanding is that these are designated miles, rather than existing miles.  Whether they will ever be built is an open question, of course.
  • Washington Ave S from 11th Ave S to 3rd St S – the County has a good point here about how cycle facilities largely duplicate parallel facilities.  Also the County goads the City about “completing the connections necessary to the trail tunnel that was built under the new I-35W bridge south approach to finish this facility.”  Finally, there is a brief mention of the 4th St ramp plan that recently failed to win a TIGER grant.
  • 26th Ave S from Minnehaha to Franklin – It was gratifying to see County support for full lanes here (instead of the sharrows on the plan), as I have advocated for them in this chain of emails:

— On Fri, 8/13/10, Alex Bauman  wrote:

From: Alex Bauman
Subject: Re: 26th Ave S Resurfacing
To: James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us
Cc: Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us, commissioner.mclaughlin@co.hennepin.mn.us, donald.pflaum@ci.minneapolis.mn.us, katya@redesigninc.org
Date: Friday, August 13, 2010, 10:45 AM

Thanks, Mr. Grube, for again taking the time to explain and clarify.

Seward Redesign is working on a plan for bike lanes on Franklin Ave E, which I believe would satisfy your requirement for logical termini.  Katya Pilling has agreed to speak with you about that, if you like.  Her contact info is as follows:

Katya Pilling

Associate Director

Redesign, Inc.

2619 E. Franklin Avenue

Minneapolis, MN   55406

612.338.8729

katya@redesigninc.org

Thanks again.

-Alex

— On Thu, 8/5/10, James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us <James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us> wrote:

From: James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us <James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us>
Subject: Re: 26th Ave S Resurfacing
To: “Alex Bauman”
Cc: Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us, commissioner.mclaughlin@co.hennepin.mn.us, donald.pflaum@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Date: Thursday, August 5, 2010, 2:11 PM

Mr. Bauman,
In answer to your questions:
1.  It is possible to re-stripe 26th Avenue S without resurfacing.  We’ve done it before on other streets.
2.  Logical termini are connections to other trails, parks, or something of that order.  For instance when the city is completed with its trail on
Minnehaha, 26th will have logical termini at the Greenway and the Minnehaha trail.  In the past we’ve striped on road shoulders for bike use then
transitioned to bike lanes when we had the termini.  I dislike taking bikers along a formal bike lane only to have it evaporate on them.
Jim Grube

From:    Alex Bauman
To:    James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us
Cc:    Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us, commissioner.mclaughlin@co.hennepin.mn.us, donald.pflaum@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Date:    08/05/2010 12:18 PM
Subject:    Re: 26th Ave S Resurfacing

Thanks, Mr. Grube, for your fast and thorough response.  I wonder if you (or
the others copied) can help me by clarifying two things:

1.  Is it possible to re-stripe 26th Ave S without resurfacing?
2.  What is an example of what a logical terminus would look like?

Thanks again for your time and thoughts.

Alex

— On Wed, 8/4/10, James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us
<James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us> wrote:

From: James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us <James.Grube@co.hennepin.mn.us>
Subject: Re: 26th Ave S Resurfacing
To: “Alex Bauman”

Cc: Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us,
commissioner.mclaughlin@co.hennepin.mn.us, donald.pflaum@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Date: Wednesday, August 4, 2010, 3:25 PM

Mr. Bauman,
As the County Engineer, I am responsible for the overlay and striping that
occurred along 26th.  You are correct about 26th being on the city’s bike
plan, and the county’s Complete Streets policy seeking greater modal options
for the citizens.  In this case we did provide the makings of a
connection along 26th between the Greenway and the city’s bike lanes along
Minnehaha and we thought that was okay for now.  To be honest we didn’t
really have much conversation about 26th to the north.  When I looked at it I
noticed parking in the business areas and thought it would be a bit too
hard to get lanes introduced with logical termini this year, and felt the
overlay was needed now.  So in essence we elected to make sure the paving
got done because of need.  In fact, we’ve had similar conversations for other
road segments in the city.  Much as we’d like to be able to get the bike
lanes at the same time as the overlay, we recognize we stripe the roads each
year.  That means we can address the lanes with the city in a coordinated
manner when it makes sense across the city.  I’ll certainly bring the issue up
with city staff and we can discuss how this fits with an overall city
action plan.
Jim Grube

From:    Alex Bauman
To:    Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us,
commissioner.mclaughlin@co.hennepin.mn.us, donald.pflaum@ci.minneapolis.mn.us,
james.grube@co.hennepin.mn.us
Date:    08/04/2010 10:13 AM
Subject:    26th Ave S Resurfacing

Hi,

Can someone explain why 26th Ave S was striped without bike lanes north of the
Midtown Greenway after the recent
resurfacing?

The Minneapolis Bikeways Master Plan of 2001 identifies the whole length of
26th Ave S as a candidate for an on-street
bike lane.  There is certainly room on 26th Ave S, as streets with comparable
widths and traffic volumes currently
include bike lanes (along with, of course, 2 lanes for through automobile
traffic and 2 lanes for automobile parking),
for example 4th Ave N and 2nd St N and S.

In addition, Hennepin County Complete Streets Policy requires facilities for
all road users to be included on all
projects.  I understand that doesn’t necessarily mean bike lanes, but they are
the preferred on-street facility for
cyclists, and could have been accommodated in the case of 26th Ave S.  Can you
explain why they were not striped north
of the Midtown Greenway?

Thanks,

Alex Bauman

  • Sharrows – the County apparently understands that sharrows are bogus, the “only support the use of these types of markings in very limited circumstances.”  But an alternative that is acceptable to the County is “postponing any action until an opportunity occurs” – commonly known as doing nothing.
  • Monolithic gutter pans – this one is worth quoting in full:  “Some additional background may be desirable in relation to the monolithic gutter pan mentioned on page 5-29.  This approach was first proposed in 1994 for University Avenue and 4th Street SE in the vicinity of the University of Minnesota as an outgrowth of a task force involving the city, county, neighborhoods, U of M, and local businesses.”  Everyone loves monolithic gutter pans, right?

You know, the County says some other interesting stuff, but the fact that their comments appear as images in the pdf makes it slow to read, so I’m going to stop now.  Have you had enough anyway?

2 comments on “Comments galore

  1. Here is the link to the blog entry that my comment was from:

    http://netdensity.net/2010/08/22/1142/

  2. […] along nearly the entire segment to be reconstructed, beginning at Xerxes and ending without any logical terminus at Josephine Lane or Lake Road.  This is a fulfillment of the Hennepin County Bike Plan, which […]

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