It’s been a while since I’ve written about any urban design stuff. Part of it is because I’ve realized that real change is never sweeping, it is incremental, which can be incredibly frustrating. But I’ve learned to to have patience, as long as things look like they’re heading in the right direction. Also, as part of Fridley’s Environmental Quality and Energy Commission (EQEC), I’ve seen several of the cities’ initiatives first hand, and and I feel like they are generally heading in the right direction.

It’s Happening!

I wrote about the idea of a road diet on Mississippi St. over 6 years ago. I told myself that if it ever happened, I had done my job. And as it stands, here we are:

So, I should just sit back and be happy that it’s happening, right?

Yes indeed, but there are still things some things our government agencies could be doing better, let’s take a look…

Mississippi St. doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It has two major intersections at Highway 65 and University Ave (MN-47). Yet there was zero treatment done to Mississippi St. at those intersections in the design. From the layout that was presented, I created this composite of the major intersections and the middle:

When I look at this from left-to-right I think: Huh? Yay! Huh?

Feature Request: Acknowledgement

I get that 65 and 47 are state roads and Mississippi is a county road. And remember that I understand that change is not sweeping, in fact I believe it’s better to be incremental. What I crave is simply acknowledgement from all agencies that they actually communicate with each other. There was a representative from MnDOT at the Mississippi St. meeting. He seemed extremely unaware of the Highway 65 and 47 workshops (and their output) that happened in 2019. The biggest complaint I heard at those meetings were about how difficult it is to cross 65 and 47 on Mississippi no matter what the conveyance: in a car, on a bike, on foot. The other was the recognition that we don’t need two north-south trunk highways one mile apart.

So while I get it that the intersections won’t change immediately, it would be nice for the people of Fridley to know that their county and state government agencies actually talk to each other. It would have been awesome for the drawings to include a “future MnDOT” inset with a 202X version of those intersections, or at least something stating that these will get changed once the output from those workshops are put into design ideas.

So I’m happy that something is happening for the better, I’m just left wanting more.

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