This is not an opinion I formed lightly. It has come from my experiences traveling internationally and witnessing first hand how the United States is clearly behind in rail travel. I am also always reluctant to postulate that our federal government is better or smarter at providing a service than privateers (see: Parcel Delivery). But there are some areas where government standards can improve efficiency and safety (see: FAA & Air Travel – minus the boondoggles that are TSA & DHS).

By having the track rights under federal control, it relieves freight carriers of their property. I say relieve because at the moment they pay property tax on their right-of-ways. Instead it would be better served to have them pay a usage tax, or something similar, rather than retaining ownership. The reason being is the rail network vastly needs up an upgrade.

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I’m excited about the prospects of a safer Osborne Rd. For the record I am for the 3 lane conversion the most of the proposed options. If the county were to mill and overlay tomorrow, this is a great low/no cost way to drastically increase safety and accessibility.

However, I feel this particular study does not draw from other cities past experience well enough. At the study meeting it was mentioned that the city of Crystal lamented that they did not do the 3 lane option for the full length of the roadway. I see the same sort of trepidation here.

Road Speed

Why not lower the speed limit to 30MPH? Residents in attendance at the meeting were obviously concerned about the speed as they’re asking for more enforcement. The real answer to enforcement is self-enforcement and the road diet would provide that. But why not lower the speed limit to 30? The odds of a pedestrian fatality at 40MPH is two times of that at 30MPH – and lets face it, travelers on a 35MPH road are going to be driving 40MPH.

36th Ave in New Hope
36th Ave in New Hope

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In Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language, he explains how raised paths literally elevate its users to a status above the automobile. I suggest doing this for the entirety of the trail along Old Central Avenue, from it’s split from MN-65 on the south end to 81st Ave. NE on the north. It is an important bicycling and pedestrian connection that is also serviced by Route 10.

It would not require any changes in existing traffic controls – there is only one traffic signal on this route (seen at map marker “A”):

old-central-trail

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My son Jules loves trains. I like trains too and my enthusiasm was probably the seed that grew into his obsession. My good friend Joe bought Jules a copy of “Trainz Railroad Simulator” for Christmas a year ago. It was in the bargain bin at Mills Fleet Farm:

trainz_fronttrainz_back
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Let’s say for a moment you’re a passenger on MetroTransit’s 10N northbound. You meant to get off at 52nd & Central because you work at one of the retailers near 53rd and Central, but you missed your stop. The next stop is just north of 694, at Central & Hackmann, by the Holiday Station. The fastest way to get back would be to walk south on Central.

10N-walking

However MnDOT (as much as they love the automobile) have forbidden pedestrians on Central Ave. between 53rd and Medtronic Pkwy. (where the 694 interchange resides). There are posted “no pedestrian” signs as well as no sidewalks anywhere in the area. So legally the shortest route for pedestrians is to cross 694 using the Matterhorn bridge, adding a full mile to the trip:
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