St. Paul approves Griggs bike blvd

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  • #775342
    Avatar of Reverborama
    Reverborama
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    From TwinCities.com http://www.twincities.com/ci_19821020

    St. Paul City Council approves Griggs Street bicycle makeover
    By Frederick Melo
    fmelo@pioneerpress.com
    Posted: 01/25/2012 12:01:00 AM CST

    The St. Paul City Council voted 6-0 to support a new “Bicycle Boulevard” along Griggs Street, with one major change to the proposed north-south bicycle route: Griggs Street will have five traffic circles instead of six.

    Construction of the $520,000 bikeway between Summit and Minnehaha avenues will begin this summer, with new traffic circles at Portland, Laurel, Sherburne, Edmund and Blair avenues, along with other bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly flourishes.

    Council member Melvin Carter said he’d received numerous comments about the plan and met with residents Tuesday night at the Dunning Recreation Center, where he took in an earful about the traffic circles. Despite some vocal neighborhood opposition, “the communication we’ve gotten in our office has been about 50/50,” he said.

    During Wednesday’s council meeting, Carter amended the bikeway proposal to remove a proposed traffic circle from the corner of Griggs and Dayton Avenue. He noted that two four-way stops in the area – traffic lights at Marshall Avenue to the north and stop signs at Selby Avenue to the south – already work to calm traffic along that stretch of the street.

    After the vote, a group of concerned residents met with Carter and his legislative aide outside the council chambers. Mary and Shane Perry, residents of Dayton Avenue, said they felt blindsided by the project. They began attending public meetings about the bikeway this month and said city staff told them “it was too late to
    propose any changes,” said Shane Perry, pointing to Carter’s amendment as proof to the contrary. “Obviously, it wasn’t.”

    Mary Perry said safety is her biggest concern because of the many school bus stops along Griggs. A driver entering the circle will be looking to the left to make sure another vehicle is not rounding the circle at the same time, she said, and “the kids are at the corner to the right.”

    The project includes audible, automated alerts telling pedestrians at the corner of Marshall and Griggs when it’s safe to cross. Some residents have expressed concern that the alerts will amount to noise pollution and will have to be loud to be heard above the din of nearby ball fields at the Dunning rec center.

    Carter said city staff will conduct a traffic study to measure traffic counts and crashes before the circles are installed. He asked that a report be issued two years after the circles are constructed to compare data and see how they’re performing.

    During the council meeting, council member Russ Stark – who lives near a traffic circle – noted that circles are sometimes confused with their larger cousins, multilane roundabouts, which can be confusing for drivers to navigate. The city has nine traffic circles and drivers adjust quickly, he said.

    City planners maintain that multicar crashes decrease by 75 percent at traffic circles.

    Bicycle enthusiasts say bike-friendly routes running north and south through the city are long overdue. During a public hearing last week, Andy Singer of the St. Paul Bicycle Coalition said that in the four miles between Raymond and Western avenues, there are only five north-south streets that cross Interstate 94 and the “chasm” created by the BNSF, Union Pacific and Central Pacific rail lines.

    Efforts to turn Jefferson Avenue into a more bike-friendly route hit a snag last year when residents there objected to a traffic diverter at Cleveland Avenue. City staff began having public meetings on the Griggs Street project in October.

    Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172. Follow him at twitter.com/FrederickMelo.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • #873584
    Avatar of gna
    gna
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    Central Pacific? That’s going way back. Probably mean the Canadian Pacific RR.

    The lack of Decent North/South Routes in St. Paul has been a problem for a long time. While this project will help, it still doesn’t go all the way through.

    #873583
    Avatar of omgmrj
    omgmrj
    Participant

    a new “Bicycle Boulevard” along Griggs Street … will have five traffic circles

    While I appreciate the traffic calming and reduction in multicar accidents that traffic circles provide, without a proper,separated bike crossing, this would make the intersection more dangerous for bicycles.

    #873585
    Avatar of euterpe
    euterpe
    Participant

    The traffic circles won’t be giant roundabouts. They will be like this one: http://g.co/maps/7sb4v or this one http://g.co/maps/kcrrb.

    #873586
    Avatar of omgmrj
    omgmrj
    Participant

    Ah, excellent!

    #873587
    Avatar of mmrb
    mmrb
    Participant

    These traffic circles are a waste of money, and don’t do anything to improve bicycle safety. They also don’t help pedestrians. Think if you are blind – the normal audible cues to know when it is safe to cross don’t work for one of these. Also, who is going to maintain whatever crap they plant in there? Usually the stuff is too tall, which reduces sight lines. The lack of proper snow plowing during epic winters will make the intersection so narrow that emergency vehicles will not be able to pass. I would not buy a house if one of these was on the route used by emergency vehicles to get to that house. Think of several fire trucks trying to use a hydrant at a corner with a traffic circle, as opposed to a normal intersection. What a PITA. We shouldn’t be wasting our precious tax money on such crap.

    #873588
    Avatar of Jerbear
    Jerbear
    Participant

    @mmrb wrote:

    I would not buy a house if one of these was on the route used by emergency vehicles to get to that house.

    There are houses that are accessible only by bike boulevard? I was under the impression that these smaller circles are used at low traffic intersections in place of a stop sign to allow cycle traffic to travel unimpeded while slowing down motor vehicles. Surely there are larger thoroughfares the emergency vehicles would be using over a bike boulevard.

    Has plowing around these actually been an issue? I didn’t know of those in St. Paul and I haven’t seen 5th St NE in the winter.

    #873589
    Avatar of gross
    gross
    Participant

    @Jerbear wrote:

    Has plowing around these actually been an issue? I didn’t know of those in St. Paul and I haven’t seen 5th St NE in the winter.

    I lived near one at Portland and Albert in St. Paul during last year’s epic winter. Plowing was never an issue.

    #873590
    Avatar of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @mmrb wrote:

    These traffic circles are a waste of money, and don’t do anything to improve bicycle safety.

    They slow motor traffic and make drivers more cautious so there’s fewer crashes and the ones that happen are less injurious.

    They also don’t help pedestrians. Think if you are blind – the normal audible cues to know when it is safe to cross don’t work for one of these.

    I assume that the Americans with Disabilities Act wouldn’t permit them to be built if they were a problem.

    Also, who is going to maintain whatever crap they plant in there? Usually the stuff is too tall, which reduces sight lines.

    I don’t know who will maintain the plantings, but the reduced sight lines is purposeful. If you can’t see around the thing, you are going to have to slow down. It’s simple and it works.

    The lack of proper snow plowing during epic winters will make the intersection so narrow that emergency vehicles will not be able to pass. I would not buy a house if one of these was on the route used by emergency vehicles to get to that house. Think of several fire trucks trying to use a hydrant at a corner with a traffic circle, as opposed to a normal intersection. What a PITA. We shouldn’t be wasting our precious tax money on such crap.

    They are designed with emergency vehicles in mind. Right turning and straight traffic proceeds as usual. Left-turning large emergency vehicles turn left before the center island.

    #873591
    Avatar of mmrb
    mmrb
    Participant

    Fire trucks need to get to the hydrants and the circle is in the way for multiple units to share the hydrant.

    As for the planting, it is important to be able to see completely through the intersection to have some idea where a vehicle is going. There is a limit of 18″ high plantings on boulevards in St. Paul so sight lines are maintained. Someone does need to maintain the plantings. Even if neighbors are willing to do so right now, there is no guarantee that it will remain the case, so the City will need to do maintenance which adds costs.

    These circles are a very expensive way to “improve?” safety. We should spend money on better options. As for the plowing history mentioned by a previous poster, it was a major issue, according to the people who attended Melvin Carter’s meeting the night before the vote. They complained a lot about it.

    You are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine. I respectfully disagree with you and I still think this is a waste of my tax money. A bicycle route will work just fine without traffic circles, and be a whole lot cheaper.

    #873592
    Avatar of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @mmrb wrote:

    Fire trucks need to get to the hydrants and the circle is in the way for multiple units to share the hydrant.

    As for the planting, it is important to be able to see completely through the intersection to have some idea where a vehicle is going. There is a limit of 18″ high plantings on boulevards in St. Paul so sight lines are maintained. Someone does need to maintain the plantings. Even if neighbors are willing to do so right now, there is no guarantee that it will remain the case, so the City will need to do maintenance which adds costs.

    These circles are a very expensive way to “improve?” safety. We should spend money on better options. As for the plowing history mentioned by a previous poster, it was a major issue, according to the people who attended Melvin Carter’s meeting the night before the vote. They complained a lot about it.

    You are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine. I respectfully disagree with you and I still think this is a waste of my tax money. A bicycle route will work just fine without traffic circles, and be a whole lot cheaper.

    I did not offer my opinion on traffic circles. I simply answered some of your questions.

    #873593
    Avatar of Nickel
    Nickel
    Participant

    From what I heard about previous circle installation, they are recruiting neighbors to take care of the plantings.

    #873594
    Avatar of mmrb
    mmrb
    Participant

    They recruit neighbors to do the plantings, which means that traffic circles need ongoing maintenance. If nearby neighbors are not willing or able, then city staff must do it, and that costs money. The budget for the project should have included funding for ongoing maintenance for at least 10 years. We don’t need traffic circles to make our roads better for riding our bicycles.

    #873595

    I smell a wedge issue! Oooooo!

    #873596
    Avatar of Tilden
    Tilden
    Participant

    Can someone please explain to me how this “Bicycle Boulevard” is going to make biking this area easier, or safer? The route runs into a barrier called I-94, Concordia University, and buildings south of University. It seems like a big waste of taxpayers money to build this on a street that will make you use Lexington. Am I missing something?

    #873597
    Avatar of biker7
    biker7
    Participant

    @Tilden wrote:

    Can someone please explain to me how this “Bicycle Boulevard” is going to make biking this area easier, or safer? The route runs into a barrier called I-94, Concordia University, and buildings south of University. It seems like a big waste of taxpayers money to build this on a street that will make you use Lexington. Am I missing something?

    I’m not sure what buildings you’re referring to south of University.
    You can cross I-94 via the Griggs pedestrian bridge.
    Dunning Park belongs to the City of Saint Paul.

    In this stretch I’d rather ride the Griggs Street Bikeway than Lexington Avenue.
    It seems to be safer, especially for children, and it’s probably easier, too.

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