Several DATA members attended the public meeting that addressed the upcoming reconstruction of Woodland Avenue. When asked repeatedly about what accommodations had been made for bicyclists and pedestrians, the answer was there wasn’t anything they could do. Nothing they could do. They had no more space – they couldn’t put in bicycle lanes or widen the sidewalk. It’s true, space is limited along Woodland Avenue, but are there other solutions that would involve looking at this project as an opportunity to do something different? Sure there are. Things like road diets, reducing the street from 4-lanes to 2-lanes with a center turn lane and bicycle lanes on both sides and creating center pedestrian islands to provide a safe zone for pedestrians crossing the street are items that really only involve painting the street differently and can make a real difference. These options can handle the same amount of traffic safer and at slower speeds.
This is something we CAN do! It’s especially important in this location with the number of UMD students wanting to access the Mt. Royal area on foot and by bike. What better place to create a better solution for bicyclists and pedestrians. A better solution for the people who live there and a better solution for the businesses that thrive there.
Please take some time to look at this great piece on Road Diets. You can go through it quickly and the images really tell the story.
Then, please take some time to contact your City Councilor or City Engineer to tell them we NEED to consider bicyclists and pedestrians ANY time we’re reconstructing a road or street. And, hopefully, pretty soon they’ll be required to consider this when the Complete Streets Act passes in St. Paul.