Thursday, April 8, 2010

Minneapolis is #1! (But could do better in NoMi)


Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman

By now the news has made its way around the interwebs, but Bicycling Magazine has named Minneapolis the best bicycling city in America. While that's great news for the city as a whole, we still lag behind in NoMi. Heck, we don't even have a bike shop yet. There's a public meeting tonight at 6:30 at the Plymouth Christian Youth Center to discuss just that.

Pictured above is another area in NoMi that should be more biker-friendly. This is the intersection of...

...Plymouth and Girard, down through Emerson/7th. Plymouth overall is a great biking corridor. But this one spot has a dedicated bike lane that just ends. As soon as it ends, we have a bus stop and a turn lane for some major intersections. There are a few other spots like this in Minneapolis and in NoMi, so the design itself isn't an aberration. However, from a biking safety standpoint, this is where a clearly marked bike lane is needed most. Every time I bike through here, I get nervous that I'll be squashed by some idiot who's not paying attention.

There are worse bike lanes, and clearly mistakes sometimes get made. And then there's THE WORST. So this block is like the Keith Retiman of bike lanes; not the best, not the worst.

Another NoMi resident told me about an area by Dowling and Washington where the accumulated sand from the winter near this industrial zone has made the bike lanes unsafe to ride on. I went and confirmed this is indeed the case. I'd put up photos, but there's only so much you can do with a pile of sand to make it look cool. Sweeping the streets over there should be a quick fix though.

So what else in NoMi could be better for bicycling? Have at it, JNS readers.


11 comments:

Patrick said...

Good post Jeff. I've noticed this same thing myself.

I also watch and call when I bike. I can report your *ss and keep riding said...

1. The BNSF RR, and the Mpls Park Board need to get together and repave the trail (and add lights) on the Eastern edge of Wirth Park running North of OMH (55) to the archery range near the Chalet.

2. The City of Mpls, the Mpls Park Board and the BNSF RR & the CP RR need to get together and improve access from lower Willard Homewood to the trail mentioned above (a pedestrian bridge over the RR tracks, complete with adequate ligthing would be a good start).

Those are my two, for now. I agree w/ Hawkman regarding the Mickey's Gauntlet on Plymouth, and the year round sand and debris in the North end of N 2nd Street and Washington Ave N areas.

Thanks for pushing this issue.

Hilary said...

We need to implement a green agenda with a youth bicycle corps. These could be civilian green monitors on bicycles. People could work off their student loans while in the green bicycle corps. More surveillance cameras, 311 calls, and other agenda items to increase diversity and lessen our carbon footprint will make NoMi and urban utopia.

Further, like a lot of the nicer cities in Europe, NoMi should be an area of the city where motor vehicles are banned and there should only be foot traffic and bicycles. The green corps and the police could be given Segways so the bad guys couldn't get an advantage.

Anonymous said...

IMHO Eugene Or is the best bicycling city. MPLS is good, but they're not better than Eugene.

Anonymous said...

I do think segways would be a great way for the beat cops to get around quickly. Great thinking. Would the city fund it? Perhaps we could make a NOMI sales tax on Mad dog 20/20 to fund it.

Hilary said...

We can fund the Segways for Cops by imposing a regional municipal carbon tax on the residents of NoMi. This is the sort of progressive tax that will encourage development.

guynmpls said...

A connection to the Wirth trail between Highway 55 and Plymouth Avenue for the people who live in the southern half of willard Hay and Near North. the trail's right there, but cut off by the rail road tracks in some points and Bassett Creek at other points, and riding your bike or walking up the Highway 55 bridge where three lanes of traffic move down to two and with no sidewalk is a harrowing experience.

Matt said...

Punitive taxes are rarely a good idea: legislatures get used to the funds, and when people stop doing what it was that the tax was implemented to reduce/eliminate, legislatures have to look for other means to tax folks.

It works if the funding to fix a problem comes from those that cause the problem, but that's a rare situation.

Love to see more biking, and I hope our legislators are taking note of this.

Hilary said...

Taxes, when judiciously applied, can modify behavior in a positive manner. A serious problem in NoMi is a lack of taxes to create diverse revenue streams for new programs (e.g., a bike shop).

A NoMi carbon tax could fund a lot of new innovative investments in our community.

Anonymous said...

Hilary, you have an excellent point. Lack of tax revenue is a serious problem that effects almost every aspect of our lives in Minneapolis. Every year Hennepin County posts a list of those who have not paid their property taxes. The amount of money Minneapolis doesn't get from these people is staggering. This is money NEEDED for police and fire protection, street repairs, and things like building inspections. The problem is property owners can go for years without paying their property taxes before Hennepin County will go after them. This must change. Owning property in Minneapolis is a privilege that comes with the obligation to pay your taxes. Hennepin County should respond just like your credit card company would. If you don't pay your taxes on time they should contact you for an immediate payment plan. If you don't make your payments they should take you to court and garnish your wages. Property owners that don't pay their property taxes typically don't maintain their property anyway. They are a blight on the city. Unfortunately, certain areas of Minneapolis are plagued with this problem with no solution in sight.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent point. If property taxes were more like HOA dues, the city could place a lien on the property and foreclose when needed.