Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
uptownbro
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Re: Hennepin Avenue (Franklin to 36th)

Postby uptownbro » September 23rd, 2020, 3:04 pm

Option 3B or 3. That will allow for car traffic to flow without the issues of busses, bikes and or cars turning. I take this stretch home from work a few times a week and it’s a disaster as is. This allows for every transportation mode to have space. The turn lane is needed as people don’t follow the no turn of left rule as is.

alexschief
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Re: Hennepin Avenue (Franklin to 36th)

Postby alexschief » September 23rd, 2020, 4:00 pm

It's pretty clear that none of the layouts are prioritizing the driver first -- transit is definitely the winner here, as it should be. But the idea currently en vogue, that every commercial street in Minneapolis needs to have a full bicycle facility, is just a bad use of our limited infrastructure space in many cases. There are parallel residential streets that would make fantastic bicycle facilities, but there are no parallel streets that work well for transit or automobile traffic.

The city's VMT reduction goals are largely fantasy, and given the rapid advances in EV technology, they're not the way that the city is going to hit their carbon reduction goals.
I'm afraid the fantasy is sitting around wishing on a star that EVs will save us. Virtually every approach that has modeled the issue has shown that both rapid fleet turnover to electric and reductions in VMT are needed to achieve serious climate goals. They work hand-in hand. Every mile that is traveled by foot, bicycle, or transit instead of a car is energy that does not need to be decarbonized in the power sector (EVs are more efficient than ICE vehicles, but mass EV adoption will still massively increase the amount of renewable energy we need), and is savings in CO2 that we benefit from immediately. There's really no time to waste, both rapid advances in EV tech and adoption and rapid cuts to VMT are essential. Not to mention the benefits of fewer vehicle crashes and less particulate pollution, which is nothing the sneeze at.

As for bicycle routes—if only that were so! But in the real world, it's hard to think of a commercial corridor in Minneapolis where it is convenient to bicycle. It should be different. Bicyclists are travelers just like any other. They are going to work, meeting friends, headed home, or going shopping. They deserve convenient and safe access to destinations just like pedestrians, transit riders, and drivers. The mentality that bicyclists should be satisfied with indirect routes on side streets is patronizing. It assumes bicycles are niche recreation, instead of a useful mode of transportation. Without including bicycle infrastructure directly on the corridors that bicyclists want to travel, there will never be meaningful growth of the bicycling mode share in Minneapolis. Given its direct connection between Uptown, the Midtown and Loring Greenways, the parks, and downtown, Hennepin is a perfect bike route, for the same reason that it is a perfect route for all other travelers.

MattW
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Re: Hennepin Avenue (Franklin to 36th)

Postby MattW » September 23rd, 2020, 5:37 pm

How are they going to make the conversion from 8 lane highway at the Hennepin/Lyndale split?

Will they re-stripe to include a dedicated transit lane? The alignment as it stands seems like it would be a huge bottleneck for all modes.

karlshea
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Re: Hennepin Avenue (Franklin to 36th)

Postby karlshea » September 23rd, 2020, 8:26 pm

I'm afraid the fantasy is sitting around wishing on a star that EVs will save us.
The real fantasy is that transit will save us, given the political climate. There would have to be an order of magnitude larger investment in transit infrastructure to really make a large dent in the number of personal cars on the road, and it's just not going to happen (I'm also not saying you're wrong or that it shouldn't).

My guess on making a real climate impact would be a dial-a-car autonomous system for personal transit, and unlike the Elon-bros I don't think that's on the near horizon, either.

alexschief
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Re: Hennepin Avenue (Franklin to 36th)

Postby alexschief » September 24th, 2020, 7:30 am

I'm afraid the fantasy is sitting around wishing on a star that EVs will save us.
The real fantasy is that transit will save us...
I don't think anyone lives this fantasy. Investing in transit is just one part of a kitchen-sink strategy that needs to be employed to reduce transportation carbon emissions. Improvements to pedestrian facilities, building out a first-class bicycle network, increasing population, job, and activity density, and EVs are just several parts of the puzzle. It's worth pursuing each of these initiatives as zealously as if it will save us alone, but of course, all approaches are needed at once.

tmart
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby tmart » September 25th, 2020, 10:33 am

I think banning lefts not only makes the project enormously easier to accommodate all the desired uses, but also probably makes travel times faster for drivers. It's relatively uncommon in the Twin Cities, but banning lefts on major arterials is not a ridiculous or extreme proposition by any means. I currently live on a street with no lefts allowed, and it makes things a lot smoother and safer for everyone involved. Making a right and then reorienting towards your destination is not that much of a time loss, though it can be confusing if you're not familiar with the area.

Personally I love Option 1 and think it would reflect well on how seriously the city takes the goals they've passed around Complete Streets and VMT reduction. Direct access for people on bikes to the destinations on Hennepin is a big plus compared to parallel routes. If I had to pick between transit and bike facilities, though, I'd say full two-way transit lanes are the most important. The one-way transit proposals are not doing it for me. 1b is interesting but I think having drivers cut across the transit lane to park would compromise the transit advantage, as people entering/leaving curbside parking can be a very big disruption to traffic flow even when they don't need to cut across an extra lane.

twincitizen
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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby twincitizen » September 25th, 2020, 10:43 am

I posted this 6.5 years ago! (edited for length & clarity)
I never noticed before that you are not allowed to make a left off of southbound Hennepin during either AM or PM peak. I knew about the no-left-turn restriction onto Franklin, since that one is a no brainer. From a recent drive, I observed that the first legal opportunity to make a left turn was at 28th Street. All of these restrictions make perfect sense. If you're trying to get to The Wedge neighborhood, you should take SB Lyndale instead and make a right turn. However, similar restrictions do not appear to be signed for SB left turns into businesses/curb cuts...only at intersections. Is that an issue for SB traffic flow?

My question for those of you that do drive on Hennepin is: are the peak hour restrictions enough? Is 7-9am and 4-6pm sufficient? Are there other changes or restrictions you would enact to improve traffic flow (and thereby bus travel speeds)? While SB Hennepin no doubt has very high traffic counts in the PM peak, you would think that traffic would/should move right along with no left turns allowed and proper stoplight timing.

Theoretically, if you could add in a dedicated left turn lane at 28th, wouldn't the inner traffic lane be sufficient for traffic flow, and the right traffic lane (Franklin to Uptown Transit Station) be dedicated to buses and right turns?? You could move the bus stops to far-side so right turns would not be impeded. Are there any huge critical flaws in that proposal? Again, this is specifically concerning southbound traffic, which already has a near-total left-turn ban in both peak periods.

EOst
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby EOst » September 25th, 2020, 11:03 am

Do people actually abide by left turn bans? Even if it's 90%, the 10% that ignores it could really grind that street to a halt. I think you would really need a more drastic change (either making the E/W street one-way, or closing the entrance, or building a median to block the turn) to make that viable.

On the bike lanes vs. not controvery, I posted this two years ago and I stand by it:
I won't pretend that it isn't a difficult decision. I absolutely hear the need for improved transit service and reliability in this area. But there are fundamental problems with using bike boulevards ("other options") for a corridor like Hennepin, and they don't go away no matter how nice/pleasant you make that alternate route. Because of the angle/curve, Hennepin is always going to be a more direct route. All of the destinations are on Hennepin, which means any trip starting or ending there has to spend some time on the street. It has vastly more people (especially at night) than any other route, which makes it feel safer. A great bike boulevard may manage to divert some percentage of people who would otherwise use Hennepin--maybe even a significant percentage--but there are still a lot of people that it wouldn't serve adequately.

Put another way: Whether there are bike facilities or not on Hennepin, people will continue to bike on Hennepin. The question isn't whether they get to do that, the question is whether we recognize that and act accordingly, or whether we just shrug and accept that those people will be left unsafe.
Last edited by EOst on September 25th, 2020, 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

mattaudio
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby mattaudio » September 25th, 2020, 11:04 am

Well this would be one way to prevent left turns onto curb cuts off of Hennepin.

https://streets.mn/2018/05/08/a-centeri ... in-avenue/

Bollards like this, but a busway....
3240BFFD-CB69-47BD-B807-7D185637E151.jpeg
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tmart
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby tmart » September 25th, 2020, 12:30 pm

Do people actually abide by left turn bans? Even if it's 90%, the 10% that ignores it could really grind that street to a halt. I think you would really need a more drastic change (either making the E/W street one-way, or closing the entrance, or building a median to block the turn) to make that viable.
In my experience people overwhelmingly do comply, particularly if it's along a whole street rather than just a one-off on a single intersection. In five years on my street I've only witnessed "rogue lefts" a handful of times (and they usually have a non-local license plate). Granted, my neighborhood also has lots of one-ways and restrictions, so people are maybe used to looking for the signs. But I think with sufficiently conspicuous signage (medians are nice for this) it's not a real concern.

If it did turn out to be a real problem, we could just change the lights to have only straight arrow/right turn arrow, instead of full green, and then it would be completely unambiguous. (As a bonus, this also makes it easy to implement a leading pedestrian signal).

One thing I will say as a caveat is that most of the streets where I can recall seeing left-turn bans don't have nearly as many driveways/surface lots as Hennepin, which could complicate things. In that sense there might actually be more to gain from medians/bollards/etc in certain midblock locations, where there's less room for signage and people aren't looking as carefully for signals, versus at intersections.

uptownbro
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby uptownbro » September 25th, 2020, 1:42 pm

Most people do but during normal 5 pm rush hour every single time I have taken it one person will always try to turn left even thought its clearly posted its not allowed. It makes the traffic seem much worse then it really is.

MNdible
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby MNdible » September 25th, 2020, 1:57 pm

Eliminating street parking and left turns into businesses will be a sure-fire way to gain local buy-in.

tmart
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby tmart » September 25th, 2020, 2:50 pm

Eliminating street parking and left turns into businesses will be a sure-fire way to gain local buy-in.
That's fine; I still think it's the most efficient and safe design that balances the different uses for the corridor. That doesn't mean it's politically popular or feasible, but it's worth identifying the best configuration first so that when concessions are inevitably made, we can have a clear understanding about what we're giving up.

Maybe the final configuration has sections like the 1b design, strategically-located around businesses who say they have loading/unloading needs or (think they) are heavily-dependent on customers parking on the street. Maybe we accept the left turns into surface lots in certain key midblock places by adding a left-turn lane in those spots, but not around intersections. But there's no need to choose a worse starting point just because someone might complain.

Mdcastle
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby Mdcastle » September 25th, 2020, 7:04 pm

If it did turn out to be a real problem, we could just change the lights to have only straight arrow/right turn arrow, instead of full green, and then it would be completely unambiguous. (As a bonus, this also makes it easy to implement a leading pedestrian signal).
Green arrows are only allowed when there are zero conflicting movements. That would mean that at an intersection with a straight arrow, left turns from the opposite directions would need to be banned 24 hours a day. And since you can't have a green right turn arrow concurrent with a ped phase to the right, it would likely mean going to exclusive pedestrian phasing (or else showing a flashing yellow instead of a green arrow for right turns). Not necessarily good or bad things but things to think about.

There's also no legal signal configuration that can use signaling to allow through movements and prohibit left turns from the same lane- you can't have a green ball or green up arrow in the same head as a red left arrow. You need to use supplemental "no left turn" signs along with a green ball do do that.

Missouri used to use straight arrows in scenarios where the opposite direction a left turn was banned, not possible, or a protected only phase but seems to be backing away from the practice since it was too subtle to really have meaning to the average driver.

tmart
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby tmart » September 27th, 2020, 12:51 pm

If it did turn out to be a real problem, we could just change the lights to have only straight arrow/right turn arrow, instead of full green, and then it would be completely unambiguous. (As a bonus, this also makes it easy to implement a leading pedestrian signal).
Green arrows are only allowed when there are zero conflicting movements. That would mean that at an intersection with a straight arrow, left turns from the opposite directions would need to be banned 24 hours a day. And since you can't have a green right turn arrow concurrent with a ped phase to the right, it would likely mean going to exclusive pedestrian phasing (or else showing a flashing yellow instead of a green arrow for right turns). Not necessarily good or bad things but things to think about.

There's also no legal signal configuration that can use signaling to allow through movements and prohibit left turns from the same lane- you can't have a green ball or green up arrow in the same head as a red left arrow. You need to use supplemental "no left turn" signs along with a green ball do do that.

Missouri used to use straight arrows in scenarios where the opposite direction a left turn was banned, not possible, or a protected only phase but seems to be backing away from the practice since it was too subtle to really have meaning to the average driver.
To be clear I'm only suggesting this in a scenario where we decided to ban left turns all-day (which I support), and only if we decided that the "No Left Turn" signs were inadequate and needed to be supplemented by more obvious signals (which is a concern about compliance that others raised above).

In that case straight traffic would always be zero-conflict. Re: right turns, you're right and I had forgotten that this would be a conflict, but by slightly modifying the leading pedestrian phase I proposed above, we could instead arrive at:
* Green straight arrow + red right arrow + pedestrian walk signal
* Green straight arrow + green right arrow + pedestrian don't walk signal
* All red (Green signal for cross traffic)

Which seems pretty reasonable: very high pedestrian safety, very low likelihood of left turn noncompliance, reasonable right turn opportunities, lots of throughput for straight traffic. If we wanted to add transit priority, the second phase could be switched out for a bus queue jump instead (red straight arrow + green right arrow + ped don't walk + bus-only straight signal).

Mdcastle
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby Mdcastle » September 28th, 2020, 7:43 am

So the idea of a RYG right turn arrows could work, but again there's things to think about

1) You would need to provide right turn lanes, otherwise we're in the same situation we're trying to solve by banning left turns, where a driver is unable to make a turn for a substantial amount of time, so stops and waits in a through lane, now the only through lane, and traffic backs up for blocks and blocks behind the driver.

2) If the limiting factor in Hennepin Ave's green time is the ped phase, you would have to lengthen it to provide a reasonable opportunity for right turns, which would increase delays for pedestrians crossing Hennepin.

3) I can see pedestrian noncompliance with a Don't Walk sign facing an green arrow being an issue, and motorists not expecting pedestrians to be illegally crossing on a green arrow. This is a major problem with Xped where pedestrians don't comply when facing a Don't Walk when the parallel street is green.

tmart
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Re: Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Postby tmart » September 28th, 2020, 8:37 am

So the idea of a RYG right turn arrows could work, but again there's things to think about

1) You would need to provide right turn lanes, otherwise we're in the same situation we're trying to solve by banning left turns, where a driver is unable to make a turn for a substantial amount of time, so stops and waits in a through lane, now the only through lane, and traffic backs up for blocks and blocks behind the driver.
Hmm, yeah. I was imagining they'd be able to use the transit lane for right turns (this is a fairly common configuration) but I guess if they have to wait for a protected turn signal, that would probably cause too much traffic to build up and cause significant bus delays.
3) I can see pedestrian noncompliance with a Don't Walk sign facing an green arrow being an issue, and motorists not expecting pedestrians to be illegally crossing on a green arrow. This is a major problem with Xped where pedestrians don't comply when facing a Don't Walk when the parallel street is green.
For sure, that's a big problem. You've convinced me; arrow signals probably don't make sense here.

I still think banning lefts makes sense for a lot of reasons, even if this isn't a feasible way of achieving compliance. I'd be curious to see if there have been any studies on which measures are most effective at stopping illegal lefts. My gut says that making it a 24-hour rule would go a long way, but that's just my gut and my anecdata.


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