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:

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This is a response to my position (and the resultant comments) on 61st Ave in Fridley and the crash that happened there in November, 2017. As politics seem to go these days I was labeled as “a liberal taking advantage of the tragedy to get bike lanes added.” So let’s talk about local politics… there is no need for partisan rhetoric in regards to local issues. I won’t even use the phrase bi-partisan because “bi” means two and putting people entirely into one of two different boxes is both unfair and unreasonable. Local politics do not cover divisive issues like health care, same-sex marriage, abortion, etc. We’re talking about roads and schools, parks and plows.

But to placate John, let’s talk about a conservative approach to the problem with 61st by visiting my favorite street in Fridley, Oakwood Manor. If you ever want to visit either and compare, here they both are on a map:

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I thought about posting this to streets.mn as part of their Bike To Work Week series. But I’m going to go beyond their editorial policy and name names. These terrible drivers need to be outed to their neighbors and peers. So here it is, my own Bike To Work Week Wall of Shame.

Normally my commute just consists of me walking down the stairs to my office.

But there were plenty of other trips to be taken during Bike to Work Week that I consider commutes – whether they were to school, the grocery store, or piano lessons. Here are some of the speed bumps I encountered on the way.

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It’s been a while since I’ve had to publish a “Fridley Hates Pedestrians” series. Maybe I’ve become complacent. Some road diets on county roads might actually come to fruition. In the meanwhile this happened:

Boy struck by SUV near Fridley Middle School

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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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