Street, Road and Highway Projects

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Mdcastle
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Location: Bloomington, MN

Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby Mdcastle » October 15th, 2020, 8:22 pm

Good thing self-driving cars are just down the road. They'll provide the freedom that cars provide to people that can't drive conventional cars (or that just prefer the freedom to read instead of drive). There's as story in today's Strib that self-driving cars were approved to go completely driverless next year in San Francisco.

And I agree for the most part driving sucks. It might be fun for a while on scenic drives in the country but after a few hours That's why I'm anxiously awaiting self-driving models. Right now I only get to Chicago every couple of years because the choices are either fly and rent a car when I'm there, or else drive for essentially all day. Would make weekend trips a lot more feasible if Friday overnight and Sunday overnight could be time spent having the car drive me there. Same with weekend trips to say the Black Hills, or farther up the North Shore.

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Highlights from the Bonding Bill that just passed the House and Senate and the governor promises to sign: (project dollars in thousands):

$75,000: Undesignated Local Road Improvement Fund Grants

$1500: Converting the half-interchange at MN 610 and East River Road to full access

$8400: Ferry Street and US 10 Interchange Reconstruction. There is an upcoming project to replace the Rum River bridge, additional funding was sought to rebuild the badly over capacity interchange and build a Ferry Street railroad overpass, which also causes congestion, divides the community, and was the site of several fatalities

$1500 Interchange at MN 65 and 109th Street. This was the third busiest at-grade intersection in the state when I wrote a streets.mn article back in 2015

$4000 Narrow Diffley Road from five lanes to two and build two roundabouts in front of the middle school (just east of the school is the current transition from five lanes to three

$6500 Reconstructing the Douglas Drive and MN 55 interesection to include a roundabout on the frontage road

$13,000 A county owned extension of MN 610 east to CSAH 30

$1000: Extend CSAH 15 / Morninside Ave in Glencoe to reroute through traffic away from a residential area.

$1500 Convert the County J and I-35E to full access and related work including a bicycle facility on County J. The existing interchange is over-capacity, as an interim measure a temporary signal was installed on the northbound ramp to keep traffic from backing up onto the freeway

$6000: The Richield 77th Street (for now) underpass under MN 77

$5500: Various local roads in Sartell

$14,000 Sibley CSAH 6 reconstruction including raising the road out of the 50 year flood plan and adding bicycle lanes.

$5269 The MN 13 and Dakota / Yosemite interchange in Savage

$2000 The Zimmerman US 169 interchange. An interchange was recommended here as far back as the early 2000s but is larger in scope than the typical "replace a small town signal with an interchange" due to relocating the mainline to the east and large property takeings.

$3000 Reconstruct Jefferson Drive in Zumbrota, still with the 1930s concrete pavement from it's days as US 52

$30,000 Undesignated local bridges

$52,000 Replace the Third / Kellogg Bridge in St Paul, despite being 1980s vintage it has severe structural issues

$2682 Highway 65 flood mitigation in Albert Lea

$8000 A reconstruction of a section of US 8 in Chisago County from I-35 to Karmel Ave, to include bicycle trails. This bumps up a planned resurfacing to a full reconstruction

$1800 Henderson Flood Mitigation on Highway 93. Regularly the routes south, east, and north of downtown flood, leaving the sole access from the west. Projects wre studied before but did not advance because improving none of the three accesses had a benefit / cost greater than 1. Of those raising 93 was the most "cost effective".

$6000 new overpass at 7th Street and new interchange at CSAH 104 on US 14 east of Rochester. These are the first at-grade intersections west of Rochester and are safety and operational concerns.

$3000 to the interchange at MN 36 and Manning Ave to begin construction next year

$3000 Railroad grade separation at CSAH 24 in International Falls

$10,000 Railroad grade separation at Sturgeon Lake road in Red Wing

$4090 City of Anandale local street and utility work to be done at the same time as an upcoming project on MN 24 and MN 55

$20,500 Streets and Utilities for an industrial park in Becker.

$84,000 undesignated trunk highway construction

$110,000 undesignated trunk highway railroad grade separations

$25,000 trunk high project development

$23,000 flood mitigation for projects that are undesignated but must be in Sibley and LeSueur Counties

alexschief
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby alexschief » October 16th, 2020, 6:51 am

Self-driving cars have been "just down the road" for a while now. I remember a lecture I attended in 2015 where I was told that CAVs would be in mass production by 2019 at the latest. As far as I know they still can't figure out how to drive in a rainstorm, and the number of operator interventions for all of the testing companies still well exceed their goals. Level 5 automation is still a long way away, and while it makes sense to do some planning for it, it doesn't make sense to count on it.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby VacantLuxuries » October 16th, 2020, 10:47 am

Imagine if we refused to build international airports because the futurists of the 50s had convinced everyone that there was no need, because flying cars were just around the corner. And how about that fusion reactor that's just around the corner? Or everything being made out of graphene?

I'd rather we solve today's problems with today's technology instead of assuming the solution will just magic itself into existence. Especially if we're not publicly finding the research and have no say in the outcome.

SurlyLHT
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby SurlyLHT » October 16th, 2020, 11:00 am

I don't know about the E. River Road/610 Interchange. But, it is great to see the Kellogg Bridge on this list. With regards to automatic cars, I feel like more and more of our driving and overall activities is basically AI assisted. I drove to Bemidiji and was only using and old school Garmin GPS unit and the simple alerts and showing me what roads were ahead in the dark and etc created a completely different experience than I have had driving rural two-laners without that. Honestly, changing traffic patterns due to COVID are more likely to have an immediate effect with us working from home and ordering everything through our phones. What percent of formerly expected workers have to work from home to change the expected needs of highway infrastructure?

karlshea
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby karlshea » October 22nd, 2020, 2:13 pm

Level 5 automation is not coming anytime soon.

Tcmetro
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Location: Chicago (ex-Minneapolitan)

Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby Tcmetro » October 23rd, 2020, 6:56 am

There are a few zoom meetings next week about the future of Hwy 47/65 (University/Central Aves) from Minneapolis to Hwy 10/Northtown area.

Project website:
https://www.universitycentralvision.com

Anondson
IDS Center
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby Anondson » December 4th, 2020, 1:10 pm


talindsay
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby talindsay » December 8th, 2020, 9:41 am

So this thread is so long that I may have missed discussion of the new lower speed limits in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. What are people seeing? I'm noticing people driving a little slower, but much farther over the new speed limit than they were driving over the old speed limit before.

The lowered speeds on major arterials seem to be varied in their success. In Saint Paul it seems like Marshall, which didn't move too fast to begin with because it's designed to calm traffic, is doing well; while Cretin from Marshall to the highway continues to see everybody ignore the new speed limit just like they ignored the old one. In Minneapolis I'm not seeing much change, but most of the arterials were slower than their updated speed limits most of the time anyway.

It seems like an initial marginal success, but unless the police start patrolling the side streets I think "20 mph" will still remain pretty much a fiction, and I don't imagine the police are in any place to step up patrolling right now.

MNdible
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby MNdible » December 8th, 2020, 9:54 am

My experience is that on the side streets, the vast majority of people were already driving 20, or at least pretty close to it. Those that were exceeding it significantly are going to continue to do so, and there's no reasonable amount of enforcement or cute lawn signs that will change that.

Trademark
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby Trademark » December 8th, 2020, 12:59 pm

I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion but I think that the 20 mph speed limit is stupid. If we could magically make everyone drive 20 mph it would be good. But without major traffic calming all it will do is encourage more people to disregard speed limits as 20 mph unless you are actively trying to go that speed feels like your crawling on most streets. (Unless we're talking about some super skinny side streets like in some areas of South Minneapolis)

alexschief
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby alexschief » December 8th, 2020, 1:20 pm

There's evidence that reducing speed limits alone doesn't significantly change driving speeds. But folks are missing the point.

Reducing speed limits has an impact on design. When road engineers look to redesign a street, the speed limit is one of the factors that strongly influence the design. By reducing speed limits citywide, the city is telling its engineers "this road should have a design speed of 20-25 mph." The city has been moving towards safer street designs for a while, and this is another institutional arrow pointing in the same direction.

Speed limits also influence enforcement, when the city chooses to do it. I'm not a supporter of police enforcement, and I doubt that either Minneapolis or St. Paul is either. But camera enforcement has been shown to be effective around the country and usually enjoys strong support. If the Minnesota Legislature legalizes it, these lowered speed limits will set the limit for fines (usually 11 mph above the limit). So the number matters there again.

Finally, in the long run, these new limits, plus a public information and support campaign (see the 20 is Plenty signs) are aimed to build public support and a change in driving culture. I certainly keep my speed in mind on the rare occasions when I drive to a much greater extent than before.

tmart
Rice Park
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby tmart » December 8th, 2020, 2:40 pm

Haven't been back home to MN in quite awhile (thanks pandemic!) but I can comment on a similar effort here in Montreal a few years ago, which changed speeds to 30km/h on side streets and 40km/h on arterials, about 18 and 25mph respectively. (In both cases those numbers are based on the same collision fatality studies.)

It has definitely been an improvement over the long term in terms of the speeds we see on the streets. But there have also been more concrete safety/design improvements matching those design speeds rolling out for quite awhile, so it's hard to put too much praise on the posted limit changes alone, and I agree with several of you above that redesigning streets to be hard to speed on is the only real structural fix for the problem.

As an example for the 30km/h category, most residential-type north-south streets switched configuration awhile ago to be one-lane, one-way, with parking on both sides and speed bumps. Lane widths on city streets here are I think 3m (10ft) in most cases. Here's a fairly typical example of such a street. With cars on both sides, 30km/h definitely feels like it's on the upper end of comfortable. I think this template could work really well on N-S streets in Minneapolis, with either wider sidewalks or bike lanes consuming the leftover space. As a bonus, there's no reduction in parking for people to whine about.

Likewise, a lot of cross-streets with two lanes (one each way) have recently gotten big curb bumpouts (with no other reductions in capacity) and even that has made a big difference in the speeds people take around crosswalks (and reduces the crossing distance for pedestrians). Here's an example of an intersection that was redone; only the bumpouts changed (so no full reconstruction, little or no change in parking availability) but that was enough to make it safer (and more pleasant on the sidewalk too!). This configuration would fit well on most of Minneapolis's numbered streets and can be rolled out quickly/sporadically without needing to redo a whole street.

Arterials (40km/h or 25mph) have been more of a mixed bag, with fewer design interventions, and it shows. Like I said, average speeds are noticeably down, but it's still unfortunately common to see people blowing by well over 50 km/h, so I'm not convinced it has had any impact on the 95th percentile speed even if the median is down.

One successful and prominent exception to that is the express bike network (REV), which recently cut an arterial boulevard (St-Denis) down from a four-lane death road to two lanes with wide, semi-protected bike lanes and some truly excellent midblock crossings (see the photo at the top of this article). I could definitely see a configuration like this working on some arterials in Minneapolis, though the nice thing in this specific case was that the subway runs close enough that bus slowdowns weren't a real problem And unfortunately it was only a one-off and even that was politically super controversial before it opened, even though Montreal has a bit more patience for these types of interventions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that people everywhere are observing higher driving speeds during the pandemic, as drivers seem to be treating less-congested streets as racetracks. So as usage climbs back up during the recovery/return to normalcy, I'd expect to see the posted speeds in Minneapolis and St. Paul observed more.

talindsay
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby talindsay » December 9th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Holy cow, they made St-Denis two lanes? Are people complaining about car congestion? Given Montreal's urbanism I think it's a good move, but it's surprising since that's one of the few arterials that actually runs all the way from Vieux Montreal way up north, and it has so many businesses. Haven't been there since 2016, but we're planning to come soon to look at colleges, so we'll have to check it out.

tmart
Rice Park
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby tmart » December 9th, 2020, 1:10 pm

Holy cow, they made St-Denis two lanes? Are people complaining about car congestion? Given Montreal's urbanism I think it's a good move, but it's surprising since that's one of the few arterials that actually runs all the way from Vieux Montreal way up north, and it has so many businesses. Haven't been there since 2016, but we're planning to come soon to look at colleges, so we'll have to check it out.
I should clarify it's only from around Rachel north, so not the part through Quartier Latin or Vieux-Montréal, but still a very long stretch with a lot of destinations.

So far I haven't seen too much complaining about congestion (or, I should say, everyone here is always complaining about congestion everywhere and this doesn't seem meaningfully worse than usual) but the merchants were very very angry and loud the whole time, both in terms of (probably overestimating) the long-term impact on car customers as well as (probably legitimately) worrying about the construction disruption; the city at least took some steps to defray the latter impact.

For through traffic there's actually a decent number of alternatives--the one-way pair of St-Laurent/St-Urbain isn't far away and carries a lot, as does du Parc a little further away, and both of those go all the way downtown (if not necessarily through Vieux-Montréal, but that's less of a driving destination anyway). Same with the Papineau/de Lorimier pair which serve the Cartier bridge. And of course the Metro literally right underneath St-Denis makes it harder to argue that commuters need it. But it will be very interesting to see if the reduction is more acutely felt when traffic increases post-pandemic.

I will say it helped a lot that it was a campaign promise for the mayor and she has continued to stick her neck out for the project--I imagine this would be harder to do "under the radar" through the typical bureaucracy of street reconstructions. The bike tracks have already been super popular even though it only opened in the late fall, with a big conspicuous (and well-reported) turnout of people riding on the first few weekends, so that also helps to deflect some of the "who's gonna use this" criticism you'd normally see. I wonder if a mayor/city council candidate could replicate that strategy in Minneapolis next year by explicitly promising a big, concrete street transformation ahead of the election, instead of leaning so heavily on hiding it all behind process.

Tcmetro
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby Tcmetro » December 9th, 2020, 10:00 pm

Looks like Minneapolis is going to put forth the alternative to build a bikeway on Bryant and move buses over to Lyndale.

PDF with layout overview:http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/www/group ... 226764.pdf

Project page: http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/cip/futur ... nstruction

grant1simons2
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby grant1simons2 » December 9th, 2020, 11:57 pm

Ok not to be toooo much of a nerd but I really like that Lake/Bryant design with the protected intersection :)

alexschief
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby alexschief » December 10th, 2020, 8:48 am

I have been suspecting that the city would arrive at the correct answer on this, and I'm glad they're not disappointing.

Moving buses from Bryant to Lyndale not only allows for a better bicycle facility on Bryant, filling a huge gap in the system (when will Lake to Franklin be reconstructed?) with an off-street N/S bicycle facility, but it also makes the Lyndale transit corridor more legible, reduces unnecessary turns, and brings high frequency transit back into the every-half-mile pattern, so that access is even. It's a win for both bicyclists and riders.

Silophant
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby Silophant » December 10th, 2020, 9:11 am

All the protected intersections are really good! I don't know if it's the TAP finally passing or what, but there's been some really good designs coming out of PW lately.

Tcmetro
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby Tcmetro » December 10th, 2020, 10:12 am

If they do go with transit on Lyndale, I wonder if they will plan to move transit off of Grand as well, given that it's only three short blocks over (~4 min walk). That street is also going through a redesign right now.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Street, Road and Highway Projects

Postby DanPatchToget » December 10th, 2020, 10:24 am

I've never been a fan of 2-way bikeways, and having it be a mixed-use trail doesn't make it better. Should be a bikeway on each side of the road with a separate sidewalk.


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