Although leaders in the Twin Cities seem to agree on the need to improve the appeal of city streets for those on foot, turning those words into actions seems difficult. Bill Lindeke offers three easy solutions that don't involve touching the street.
Though 'improving walkability' seems to be in every comprehensive plan developed in Minneapolis and St Paul, when it comes time for implementation it's a different story. Bill Lindeke explains, “when it comes down to any one particular project, the situation seems to change. A proposal goes out for traffic calming (say, on South Nicollet Avenue), and all of a sudden each parking space becomes crucial to the city’s economy, each lane of asphalt becomes vital to the regional transportation network, and (I’m sorry but) there’s no money to do anything at this time.” So, when it comes to improving sidewalks for enhanced pedestrian safety, “talk is cheap, and change is hard, and that goes double for concrete," he writes.
In light of the reluctance by cities to explore changes to the actual roadway, such as “road diets, sidewalk extensions, [and] lane narrowing”, Lindeke proposes three alternatives for improving pedestrian safety that can be achieved at little expense: adding red light cameras, installing "no turn on red" signs, and banning the use of cell phones while driving.
For Lindeke, these are no-brainers -- simple and inexpensive solutions that make immediate progress in supporting traffic calming, promoting walking, and increasing safety. He concludes, “All of these tactics are the equivalent of 'calling the bluff.' Sure there are some political challenges, but if cities and governments really meant what they said, they’d do one or all of these things."
Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think
Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.
New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives
The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.
‘Mega-Landlords’ Threaten Housing Stability for Renters
As institutional investors buy up a larger share of single-family homes, the families renting them are increasingly vulnerable to rent increases and eviction.
More Funds to Transform the Puente Hills Landfill into a Regional Park
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors just approved an additional $28 million to support the development of the Puente Hills Regional Park at the landfill site.
Denver Freeway Widening Plans on Hold
The Colorado Department of Transportation’s plan to widen the Interstate 25 freeway through Denver is one of a few plans to widen urban freeways under consideration in the United States.
Public Perceptions of Sprawl and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Urban density has a bad reputation.
City of Redwood City
City of Rohnert Park
City of Hot Springs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.