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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 4:29 pm
by David Greene
Eliminating cars from Hennepin between Franklin and 26th, except for possibly alternating-direction segments to serve local businesses. More space for sidewalk uses, space for dedicated bike lanes, space for dedicated bus lanes.
Where do cars go? Lyndale? You'll get even worse problems there. As others have said, Hennepin mainly serves city residents. Closing any part of it to car traffic is just crazy because there is no reasonable alternative route.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 4:31 pm
by David Greene
We definitely need some sort of transit improvement on Hennepin. A typical bus ride on the 6 at the height of rush hour from the north end of downtown to Uptown Transit Center takes about 30-35 min.
It is about the same by car, probably worse due to the time to find parking.
For bus lanes to work, we simply need good enforcement. License plate cameras and a ticket in the mail would be pretty easy to implement.
Cameras are currently illegal.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 4:32 pm
by ECtransplant
The 4, 6, 12, and 17 are all options but none of them are good options. The 4 doesn't go down Hennepin. The 6 is overcrowded during rush hour. The 12 runs a very limited schedule. The 17 is slow as shit.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 4:32 pm
by David Greene
I would even say Lake/Lagoon are much less pleasant and need much more work than Hennepin.
Lagoon especially. That MoZaic curb cut is atrocious.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 4:41 pm
by David Greene
It seems like many of the people here who actually live in the area don't think Hennepin is really a problem. That seems to say something.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 7:37 pm
by Tcmetro
Your argument that a 35 minute bus ride is the same by car is pretty much untrue. I'm usually able to drive from the north end of Downtown to Uptown in appx. 20-25 minutes routinely. Additionally, it is a failure of the bus system to only be able to travel 3 miles in 35 minutes. That's basically jogging speed. Not only does it fail Uptown riders, but it fails everyone who has to spend longer time on the bus to go to neighborhoods south and west of Uptown. In 35 minutes I could hop a light rail and be in Downtown Saint Paul, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, or Brooklyn Park, all trips of approximately 10 miles in length.

A lot of these accounts saying that Hennepin isn't really that bad of a street are almost those of walkers. Nothing against the pedestrians, but walking isn't a feasible option for the commuters from downtown (or other parts of the city) to Uptown and beyond.

Another option I've thought of is jump lanes for the buses. Special bus only signals could be placed at intersections, and the buses in the turning lane would be given the ability to "jump" in front of the traffic.

Or we can just keep the same system and let the buses become more and more unreliable and overcrowded, not do anything about the issues that are present, and allow more and more cars to make travel on Hennepin more polluted and unsafe.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 8:30 pm
by David Greene
Your argument that a 35 minute bus ride is the same by car is pretty much untrue. I'm usually able to drive from the north end of Downtown to Uptown in appx. 20-25 minutes routinely.
During peak? I can barely get from the I-94 southbound Hennepin ramp to 28th in 15-20 minutes from 4-5pm.
Or we can just keep the same system and let the buses become more and more unreliable and overcrowded, not do anything about the issues that are present, and allow more and more cars to make travel on Hennepin more polluted and unsafe.
Strawman. No one is saying there shouldn't be improvements, but we can't just ignore car traffic. Taking a traffic lane is not realistic and bus-only lanes eliminating parking during peak, which technically possible, would narrow already narrow lanes. Have you even driven next to a bus on Hennepin? There really isn't even room for parking, a bus lane and a lane of general traffic today.

Enhanced bus a la Snelling would be great.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 8:42 pm
by mattaudio
I realize the David Levinson or Matt Steele variety of removing cars from Hennepin is not feasible. But you seriously don't think it's realistic to convert two of the existing four lanes for bus/bike/right turns?

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 9:20 pm
by David Greene
I realize the David Levinson or Matt Steele variety of removing cars from Hennepin is not feasible. But you seriously don't think it's realistic to convert two of the existing four lanes for bus/bike/right turns?
Maybe during peak. Maybe. Nine feet for a lane is really tight. As I said the lanes as they are now are not really wide enough.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 10:07 pm
by ECtransplant
10' traffic lanes are not uncommon in other cities. Shave a little space off the other lanes and it shouldn't be a problem. Might also calm the auto traffic a little while improving bus times

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 10:25 pm
by David Greene
10' traffic lanes are not uncommon in other cities. Shave a little space off the other lanes and it shouldn't be a problem. Might also calm the auto traffic a little while improving bus times
Buses and big trucks often ride partially in the center lanes. Today. There is simply no room to reduce lane width.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 17th, 2014, 10:30 pm
by ECtransplant
Second Ave in Manhattan has 10' traffic lanes and a lot more traffic, including trucks and buses. If we want to just say Hennepin is a congested busy city street, fine, let's treat it like one. Meaning, narrow lanes and transit priority. Hennepin is 60' wide that should be enough to make it work

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 18th, 2014, 1:29 am
by MSPtoMKE
Not sure why there are articulated buses running only in the afternoon for the 6, north bound!!. Or do they run them south bound in the morning for rush hour? But if they can run them now they can take care of any passenger increase with those large buses.
I think those are special trips serving High Schools. I swear there can be about 5 or 6 articulated 6s in the span of about 15 minutes in the late afternoon. It would be nice if those buses would turn around and serve the crush load peak 6 trips outbound, but the buses are probably used for express routes at that time. With the reduction of routes 16 and 94, and the elimination of route 50, perhaps we will have more articulated buses to use on overcrowded routes like the 6.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 18th, 2014, 6:19 am
by mattaudio
I'm not talking about lane width reduction. The clear solution here is converting two of four regular lanes into bus/bike lanes.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 18th, 2014, 7:04 am
by min-chi-cbus
If it was any quicker-moving people would not be able to ride bicycles down Hennepin Avenue, and it would be even less appealing to pedestrians as well. So perhaps the traffic congestion and stop-start nature of the street isn't such a bad thing for a city street. Think about the best examples of urbanism anywhere in the world and you'll probably also remember that traffic congestion is a basic component of most of those examples. It's actually a GOOD thing for pedestrians and urbanists alike!

A silver lining.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 18th, 2014, 7:29 am
by mattaudio
Traffic congestion isn't a bad thing, except for transit stuck in it. I hope we can keep the congestion but speed up buses.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 18th, 2014, 8:02 am
by PhilmerPhil
I'm not too worried about congestion. I just like the thought exercise of imagining Hennepin as a people street where bikes and peds come first. I also don't mind slow transit that much either. Frequency is more important as far as the user experience goes for me. I hate waiting for buses, but once I'm on it, I can relax, check UrbanMSP and get other digital tasks completed.

That's not to say I think transit is fine the way it is. Enhanced stations, prepayment, and wider stop spacing could go a long way.

Hennepin would be a really attractive street with a design like this: http://streetmix.net/-/125344

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 18th, 2014, 9:22 am
by woofner
There is simply no room to reduce lane width.
You seem to be letting your personal commute experience overshadow your judgement of what would be best for the city. There is plenty of room to fudge lane widths. 9' lanes are not uncommon on the east coast. It may be less comfortable to drive in - too bad, you already are in a climate-controlled comfort box. Lane width, even down to 9', has been shown to not significantly impact safety or congestion.
I also don't mind slow transit that much either. Frequency is more important as far as the user experience goes for me. I hate waiting for buses, but once I'm on it, I can relax, check UrbanMSP and get other digital tasks completed.
You have a point, but I think user experience only goes so far on lurch-prone buses. It seems to me that speed and especially speed relative to cars is the best thing to draw riders. There is no advertisement for transit better than sitting in traffic while bus after bus passes you. I haven't necessarily seen data on this, but our express bus system has very high ridership for our population, and I don't think it's coincidental that we have the most extensive shoulder use system in the nation.

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 18th, 2014, 10:13 am
by ECtransplant
If it was any quicker-moving people would not be able to ride bicycles down Hennepin Avenue, and it would be even less appealing to pedestrians as well. So perhaps the traffic congestion and stop-start nature of the street isn't such a bad thing for a city street. Think about the best examples of urbanism anywhere in the world and you'll probably also remember that traffic congestion is a basic component of most of those examples. It's actually a GOOD thing for pedestrians and urbanists alike!

A silver lining.
They also have subways under those crowded streets

Re: Hennepin Avenue

Posted: April 18th, 2014, 12:26 pm
by Chef
I realize the David Levinson or Matt Steele variety of removing cars from Hennepin is not feasible. But you seriously don't think it's realistic to convert two of the existing four lanes for bus/bike/right turns?
In the past, when Hennepin has been down to two lanes in Uptown due to construction, southbound rush hour traffic has been backed up to the Basilica. When that happens Lyndale ceases to be a second option. I doubt most people in the city want that. Hennepin Avenue is heavily used by people in the neighborhood it is not just a thoroughfare for people who live on the other side of Lake Calhoun. Perpetual gridlock on Hennepin would make the neighborhood less attractive to live in IMO. The street is near capacity as is.