From: Kyle Dukart Date: 4:33am
On Tuesday night the Union Park District Council’s Neighborhood Issues Committee hosted a discussion on the next phase of the Marshall Avenue Green Streets project. See attached letter for the details of the project, which proposes a median from mid-block between Cleveland and Wilder to mid-block between Wilder and Moore.
Our discussion on tuesday was spirited and respectful with a multitude of opinions on the project. The hope is to continue the discussion here in a respectful and thoughtful manner.
To get it going, I’ll report on some of the issues that emerged on Tuesday. This is not a full reporting by any means but I hope to hit some of the key points from both those who support the median and those who are opposed.
Pedestrian Safety: The most common concern expressed by supporters of the median was the unsafe nature of the crossing at Wilder. A median provides a pedestrian refuge and traffic studies generally show that medians slow down traffic speeds and decrease accidents involving pedestrians. Some complained of being almost hit at the intersection on different occasions.
Those skeptical of this issue suggested that increased enforcement of vehicles yielding to pedestrians and more careful pedestrians were better solutions.
Access for vehicles: The largest complaint seems to revolve around the decreased access of vehicles to local businesses and Wilder. The median would eliminate all left turns at the intersection. Some expressed concern that this would negatively impact businesses, cause inconvenient access for those who live nearby, increase dangerous U-turns, and send vehicles to nearby residential streets.
Those skeptical of the impact of access argued that after a month or two, drivers learn new routes and any inconvenience is relatively quickly forgotten. U-turns are already a problem and the median actually makes many mid-block U-turns more difficult. It was argued that traffic rerouted to nearby streets would increase by only 5-12% according to multiple studies in similar situations (although many were concerned that no traffic study exists specifically for this area).
Business Impact: Business owners expressed mixed feelings about the median ranging from adamantly opposed to very much in favor of the median. Worries about how customers would reroute were common with one or two owners very concerned about loss of customers.
Others saw this as a potential boon to the business area by turning the area into more of destination address through beautification and a more pedestrian and bike friendly atmosphere. Many pointed to the medians recently installed on Snelling near Grand Ave, citing conversations with businesses there that reported no long term negative impact due to the medians.
I could go on, but these struck me as the main factors. I invite others to add to the list or offer their opinion. The next meeting will be before the City Council on Wednesday, February 19.
The following file was added to this topic:
Marshall Wilder Resident Letter.pdf (137KB)