Twin Cities urban planners seem to think that if they just make driving a car inconvenient and headache-prone enough, drivers will throw in the towel, get a job downtown, and start riding the bus.
Which seems to be the main impetus behind this initiative - turning Charles Street (which runs parallel to light-rail-construction-addled University, two blocks north of the construction nightmare) into a “bike boulevard”, with traffic circles, bike lanes, speed bumps, and none of those dang cars.
Joe Doakes from Como Park writes:
University Avenue is impassable to bicycle traffic now, but when the light rail is done . . . it’ll still be impassable. Parking lane gone, trains down the middle, buses in the right lane and all the other frustrated motorists wedged between. So where are those cars and bikes now? On the adjacent parallel streets as far North as Minnehaha.
And down to Marshall and Selby. The traffic nightmare hasn’t ebbed; just metastasized.
” Organizers said an overwhelming number of respondents think that there are already too many cars, often driving too fast, on Charles Avenue and that the street is unsafe for children. Residents also worried that traffic would increase when light-rail construction is complete.”
Well yeah, dummy: frustrated motorist traffic has had to self-divert to side streets because the largest, longest, busiest East-West throughway in the City has been completely shut down and it’s never going to reopen to normal levels. This is news to you? You’re just figuring this out now? Don’t urban planners ever visit the sites of their glorious triumphs? Don’t they read the papers (or SITD) to see the chaos and havoc they’ve created? Why didn’t they plan for it up front (or did they, but had to wait for a “crisis” to arise so they could “solve” it)?
Joe has too much faith in Wahhabi transit activists. They’re a little like post-modern German artists, the type that glumly intones “Art IS destruction and ugliness” as they unveil their latest, “installation”, a dancing man clad only with a jar holding a gutted cat pickled in urine.
Like the post-moderns, the chaos – to drivers, anyway – is precisely the point. The goal is to make driving, and drivers, miserable. And to them, it’s no matter if you deal with that misery by jumping on the train, or by expressing your anger, fulfilling their prophecy that drivers are base, benighted, spoiled, arrogant and above it all.
They win either way.
So naturally, the same urban planning geniuses who caused the problem on Charles are springing into action to make things even worse. The City will install bike lanes, traffic circles and speed bumps to slow traffic through the neighborhood. Cars that were shoved off University to make room for the train will be shoved off Charles to make room for the bikes. That’s great in the summer but have you ever tried to plow snow around traffic circles and speed bumps? There’s already one traffic circle on Charles and the snow ridges around it are a nightmare.
I know that circle. The winter before last, the intersection was like an Andean goat path. The side streets in that neighborhood are very narrow; it’s hard to get a plow around that circle – so it never went around the circle!
The bicycles will be in storage but cars still won’t be able to use the street. Might as well go all the way and tear up the tar completely, sod the street and turn Charles Avenue into lawn.
Hey Mitch, get ready for even more motorists up your way, all of them late and angry. Should be . . . interesting.
Way ahead of you, Joe. Traffic on Thomas, Marshall, Minnehaha and Selby is all up. And the city is reacting the way it always does.
Writing more traffic tickets.