Park-Portland plan draws mixed reviews at meeting

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 30, 2012 - 11:04 PM

Area residents get a first detailed look at a proposal to slow and narrow traffic lanes to help bikers

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ethfawleyAug. 30, 1211:40 PM

I attended the meeting, and I heard about as much support for the proposed changes as you'll ever hear at any public meeting. The comment that seem to resonate most with the majority tone of the room was: "this is the most positive change proposed on these streets in more than 60 years!" Only two people spoke against the proposed lane reductions, many spoke in favor, and at least 6 people called for two lanes throughout. At the end of the meeting, there was general applause from the attendees. Why isn't that strong support reflected here? Why isn't there mention of the many people who called for more areas of two lanes? Why does the Star Tribune have to make most things around biking sound controversial? Why can't we celebrate a great turnout from an engage community and a plan that will improve quality of life? I certainly know I'll be celebrating when changes open up in October!

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eostromAug. 30, 1211:41 PM

The article mentions those who favored the proposed changes and those who opposed them, but a sizable segment of the crowd thought they didn't go far enough. Several community members called for a reduction to two car lanes all the way through downtown. The plan calls for an increase to three lanes for just a couple of blocks around Lake Street, and some neighborhood residents feared drivers would speed up just for that section and make unsafe decisions when merging back to two. In addition, it's an oversimplification to say that "car commuters fear it will make the streets less useful." Some of them do! But more than one self-identified car commuter welcomed the changes for the sake of others' safety (and their own).

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tribute24Aug. 31, 1212:41 AM

What the -- ??? Why in god's name would they take two vial AUTOMOBILE corridors and try to turn them into shared bike corridors? Why can't they put bike lanes on the parallel streets such as Oakland and 5th? As a cyclist, I'd love that -- I wouldn't be fighting with traffic. As a driver, I'd love that, too -- I wouldn't be constantly worried that I'd hit a cyclist. Anyone who's driven or ridden down Park/Portland in the summer knows that the 3-lane streets are usually narrowed to 2 lanes because of some form of construction. With these new changes, that will mean that they'll become, in effect, 1-lane streets. And anyone who's been on them in the winter knows that it's the same -- they're essentially 2-lane streets when you account for the snowbanks and parked cars jutting out into the roadway. Not to mention the fact that busses already make one lane essentially useless because they're constantly pulling to and from the curb. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.

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liberaleliteAug. 31, 1212:46 AM

the only reason not to support this plan is that it doesn't go far enough....

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greendeath22Aug. 31, 12 5:27 AM

Another reason why I do not like to go downtown. Why create more congestion for car drivers? 11,000 cars, 600 bikers, lets make it better for the bikers, are you serious? What a joke. When will minneapolis learn that their policies are the main reason people do not like to go downtown to spend their money, what a joke.

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wicked61Aug. 31, 12 7:41 AM

Give them a whole lane to disobey the traffic laws? I see one or more bikers blow right through stop signs or trsffic signals that cars must stop at. I drive these streets 5 days a week and I see numberous bikers doing it everyday. I really have no respect for bikers. What I see peddling arounf is an entitled lot who don't abide by the rules of the road.

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thentroAug. 31, 12 8:05 AM

It was a very civil meeting, and the county made it clear that this proposal is targeted at traffic safety, speed concerns, and bike safety combined. Drivers on Portland and Park have ruined it with reckless speed and disregard for the neighborhoods, and both streets are a run down mess right in the middle of the city because of it. Who wants to live there? By converting them to slightly slower streets that are easier to cross, there will be fewer accidents and deaths which is the goal of the program.

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ephrakerAug. 31, 12 8:29 AM

Painted lanes are the stupidest idea that government has paid for in a long time. Oh look a magical force field in the middle of the street that causes a road to become a bike lane. Really?! People get paid for these ideas and then we pay money to implement it too. Make more bike paths and pedestrian friendly trails but do not create 2 dimensional worlds that give merely the impression of ones existence. Oh, and bikers look to your right, there is a bike lane on that parkway. Use it!

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spiderlegAug. 31, 12 8:57 AM

"Mixed reviews" is a disingenous title for the meeting last night. Most people there were for the changes and many wanted more. Why the subterfuge with the title? Trying to gin up some controversy or coddling the suburban mind set?

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liberaleliteAug. 31, 12 9:50 AM

People are confusing Park and Portland (Streets) for roads. Roads are meant for mobility, such as moving people downtown. We often call good roads "highways" and six blocks west we have the best of highways, an Interstate. No, Park and Portland are not roads, they are streets. Streets are meant for access to local uses. Hundreds of homes, dozens of businesses in the corridor. The current lane count and speed actually hamper access (including car access) to these streets (imagine pulling out of a driveway with a constant stream of cars going 45 MPH). This has little to do with bicycles and much to do with misunderstanding the purposes of roads versus streets.

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