E-DEMOCRACY | Roadway improvements to Ford Parkway in 2015


From: Kevin Gallatin Date: 1:44am, Oct 24

Kathy, thanks for the notice! I don’t think I would have heard about this without you mentioning it.

I attended this meeting tonight and it was really valuable. The county laid out 3 options that are just at proposal stage…a lot can still change.

The existing roadway is wide enough to support one traffic lane in each direction, a raised and planted median, and a parking lane on each side. Bike lanes are feasible but to to get them with all of the above, some of the amenities would need to be narrowed, or the roadway widened at risk to the existing boulevard trees. The median will end well short of intersections to allow a thru lane, a left turn lane, and a right turn lane at all intersections.

Important to note that the scope of the project is only from Snelling to a bit west of Howell, near the library. This means there will be no bike lanes through the commercial area of the Village, and the Village will remain 2 lanes in each direction.

I asked the traffic engineer to post the three proposals on their website. If they appear I’ll post a link.

My favorite part is that Fairview will get new signals with a countdown timer, and the intersection will have an improved design that will shorten the walking distance across the road. It could include a bump out, or at least a reduction of the oddly wide radius the curb makes.

From: Gail Lee Date: 2:44am, Oct 24

I wonder about all the bike lanes. Has anyone looked at use vs. access. I drive to work to mpls on bikeways and am perplexed by the bikers who chose to use car lanes rather than bike lanes. Seems we spend a lot of money on bike lanes and the drivers still have to deal with non-conformers. just sayin’ its time to say no when the proportion of vehicles vs. bikes is not condusive to traffic management.

gail Lee

From: steve scholl Date: 1:25pm, Oct 24

I continually wonder why people want to insert bike lanes where they will cause the most trouble and set people up to be angry with cyclists.

I lived in Highland for over 25 years and cycled its streets almost daily. Ford Parkway is a busy street and I know of at least two pedestrian deaths that occurred on it.

Why try to shoehorn in extra space for a bike lane when a few blocks to the south, you have Montreal, a street with much less traffic, that cyclists can use. Cyclists can also use Pinehurst, just a block to the north of Ford Parkway, or Highland Parkway, another block to the north.

This is not to say that I never used Ford Parkway, it is just not the street that I would want families with kids, or anyone inexperienced riding a bike. Why court danger when less dangerous alternatives nearby exist?

Why not leave Ford Parkway for the vehicular traffic so that it does not bleed onto those other streets?

steve scholl

From: Jerod Petersen Date: 1:32pm, Oct 24

I think Bike lanes are an important part of this! As a biker, I make a 7 mile commute 1 – 3 times a week from st. paul to MINN. I like being safe, as well as thought of as a valued commuter. There are bike laws too, so I would enforce use of that lane. Please note turning requires being in the car lane, if no designated bike turn lane is designated.

The Twin Cities is a growing biking city, failure to incorporate this on a major boulevard is not looking into the future of the city and increased bike commuters.

From: Tim Puffer Date: 2:16pm, Oct 24

There was a well–attended street design meeting about Ford Parkway in August. Attendees rated the importance of the various functions of Ford Parkway (automobile use, buses/public transportation, pedestrian (lighting, crossing, safety issues with children and several schools in close proximity), connector to other major thoroughfares, environmental impact, etc. As I recall, even the biking advocates present recognized that bike lanes were a pretty low priority.

Tim Puffer

From: Frank Jossi Date: 2:36pm, Oct 24

I attended last night’s meeting and I believe Ramsey County is open to bike lanes and I think they should be part of an overall Complete Street plan for Ford Parkway. Putting bikes on Pinehurst doesn’t make any sense because no one’s destination is Pinehurst — they’re all going to eventually go to Ford to get to places in the Village.

As to traffic counts, Ford is well within the federal guidelines for having a bike lane. That is not an issue. It’s also wide enough to accommodate bike lanes.

The Parkway is home to many of the neighborhood’s major attractions — from the ice arena to the library to the Village to the river. To offer bicyclists and pedestrians a safer street seems a small thing to ask, especially on a street which has four daycare centers and a major rec center. Rather than shove cyclists on to a side street they’re not going to use anyway let’s make Ford safer for everyone — including children and elderly and others who use the library and rec center.

From: James C. Megas Date: 2:45pm, Oct 24

Evidently many of you must not be familiar that Highland Parkway residents signed petitions and successfully voted *down* having a bike lane on Highland Parkway.

If cyclists would follow the traffic laws, which they do not, then we might have been more sympathetic. I live on Highland Parkway, walk on Highland Parkway, and spend all my time on Highland Parkway. Bicyclists simply do not stop at stop signs. I am slightly hearing impaired and I have come close to being run over by cyclists on many occasions. I fear for the Mann Elementary students crossing Highland Parkway.

I do not support a bike lane on Highland Parkway and I will continue actively and vehemently to oppose one.


From: steve scholl Date: 3:13pm, Oct 24

Frank is someone I know and respect, especially because he understands that disagreement is part of life and does not take it personally. This is another situation, Frank, where we disagree.

My suggestion was to offer some alternative streets instead of Ford Parkway. I named three, based on 25 years of personal cycling experience in Highland. While I might ride a bike on Ford occasionally, I am someone who cycles twice the miles that I drive-I know what I am doing, wear highly visible clothing, and have a mirror on my helmet. However, when I was out with my kids, it was one of the other, lower trafficked streets for us.

Besides, my logic was just a carryover from the rationale of putting the Bicycle Boulevard on Jefferson. St Claire and Randolph parallel Jefferson, but both have more traffic and are not as safe.

The suggestion for Pinehurst, Highland Parkway or Montreal is only offered as an alternative for the section of Ford Parkway that will be reconstructed, from Snelling to Howell. It is entirely possible to ride a bike on Pinehurst or Highland Parkway instead of Ford Parkway for that segment. Using Montreal would allow a cyclist to travel from Snelling to St Paul Ave, which merges into Cleveland.

All routes would allow access and connections to the library, rec center, schools and Highland Village.

One thing I learned during many years of cycling is that you have to approach getting from one point to another with an attitude different from when you operate a motor vehicle. In the vehicle you are not as concerned with traffic as on a bike. In a vehicle you often plot the shortest and/or most efficient route. On a bike safety is a greater consideration and going a few blocks out of your way is often more prudent.

When riding a bike you are are at a weight disadvantage of about 200 to 1. When a vehicle might veer out of a traffic lane and nudge you, the vehicle might get a scratch, while the cyclist might die.

I prefer to reduce the risk.

Steve Scholl

From: Andy Singer Date: 2:35pm, Oct 25

Hey Steve and James,

Yeah, some bicyclists go through stop signs! …And car drivers never stop for pedestrians at unsignalized intersections (like Ford Parkway and Howell). They are all breaking a state law. I’m up for ticketing the cyclists if we can also ticket all the drivers.

As for Highland Parkway, Pinehurst or Montreal vs. Ford Parkway, Highland was tried and the neighbors rejected it, with former city councilman Pat Harris saying “We should put the cyclists on Ford Parkway.” Pinehurst doesn’t go all the way to the river, nor does Montreal. None of them goes to the Hillcrest Rec Center, the Library, the Highland Arena or any of the stores in Highland Center. But no matter. I think we should keep putting off adding any bike lanes in Highland Park by telling cyclists that they should be on some other street than the one we’re discussing. This strategy has been successful for 13 years. It might work for another 13. We should also rip out all the bike racks in Highland Center and the ones next to the rec center and the library, since we don’t want to provide a way for cyclists to reach these destinations. Heck, we should just ban cycling in Highland Park because some cyclists go through stop signs! And let’s ban drivers and cars in Highland Park because none of them stop for pedestrians! We can all walk and use sled-dogs.

From: Anne Carroll Date: 4:44am, Oct 26

I’d like to offer another perspective on the situation a few years back about Highland Parkway being a bicycle parkway — with significant federal partnership funding. Some of us who live on Highland Parkway, walk on HP, bike on HP, and have had kids on HP adamantly *supported* that happening — but our voices were drowned out by others, as I recall primarily from the west end (but please correct me if I’m wrong). At the time I heard claims that large groups of bicyclists would swarm to this street and intentionally block cars, drink too much water and urinate in residents’ yards, be a danger to children, and so on. And no, I am not making this up — we had flyers dropped at our house more than once saying that and more.

And “we” didn’t vote on anything. Perhaps the District Council (does anyone remember?), but certainly not residents.

The plan was then withdrawn and done on Jefferson, instead.

I’m really disappointed that what sounded like anti-bicycling rhetoric thwarted what would have been a terrific connection to the bikeway system in St Paul and a MUCH better route than Jefferson.

That said, bicyclists are obligated just as cars are to obey traffic laws. But I’ll tell you, as I write this late Friday night, we just had to go outside and shoo off three cars full of noisy people who decided to get mess around with our Little Free Library (very loudly!), honk their horns, peel away. And every day countless drivers rush along this 30 MPH stretch much, much faster than that, especially as they come down the steep hill. So…traffic enforcement for everyone would be terrific.

From: Tom Kreuzer Date: 3:40pm

A Highland or Ford Pkwy Bike Blvd proposal is a bad idea. Please look at the facts before a mistake is made and we have accidents and death. Highland Pkwy is too narrow in most places to add a separate bike lane without taking out parking. Fact 1: Bikes going up Highland Pkwy at most can go 5 to 15 mph with most going 5. Fact 2: Most of the road is so narrow that bikes and cars would be required to share the road. As a result, cars will be going 5 mph and not the 25-30 mph that is proposed. Even going down the pkwy most bikes will average about 15 mph. I am a motorist and I do not want to go 5 mph following a bike. I would get very frustrated going that slow. I am also a biker who lives 50 feet from Highland Pkwy, but never use Highland Pkwy. You need to have a death wish to use it with or without a bike blvd. I bike on other side streets like Pinehurst or Eleanor which have almost no traffic and are much safer to use. We already have a number of streets in the area that have bike lanes that I could also use. All the examples of a bike blvd show a flat wide open street that has very little car traffic, that is far from what we have here on Ford or Highland. Should we also add bike lanes to our Freeways like 94 and 35? For the safety of cars and bikes, please forget about using Highland or Ford Pkwy.

We need good roads for cars to get work and to visit the businesses in the area. Non of us would you like businesses in Highland Park to move out because their business was cut in half. Many purchases are not a planned purchase, they are just driving by and stop to pick something up. I feel very fortunate that we have the traffic and the businesses that go along with it. Many of our streets and Pkwys have been converted from multiple lanes to single lanes that have resulted in increased traffic congestion or caused people to change to other routes.

What is the cost of all these bike changes, nothing is free? We all pay taxes and most of us do not like increases to pay for signage, street marking/stripping, increased plowing, street sweeping, change in street lights, and other maintenance. The one time bike grants are funded with money taken from other State and Federal taxes we have paid. Is this a priority we can afford? With limited money, let’s make sure the money is spent on what the public really wants and will get the most benefit. Because of the six month Minnesota Winter and so few people biking, is this the best use of our tax dollars?

E-Democracy forum posts are republished under license by Creative Commons with Attribution. There were 36 comments on this topic as of October 27, 2013. See entire discussion thread here.