“A lot of people ride bikes here!”

We’ve had a lot of utility construction along the Hodgson path in Shoreview the past few weeks . Most of the companies have been quite good about not blocking the path. One company that couldn’t avoid having a truck in the path also did a good job of creating a little detour in to the street with cones for path users that was very much appreciated.

Blocked bike pathYesterday, as I was riding down the path to lunch, I saw some guys from a new company moving their trucks out of the path.

As I rode by I thanked them and one of the guys commented “damn, a lot of people ride bikes here.”

blocked bike path

He said he’d never seen anything like it. “Someone rides by here every couple of minutes.” he said with some bewilderment. He went on to describe the hundreds of school kids, people who looked like they must be 100 but were riding a bike, and everyone in between.

I guess Shoreview’s paths are working!

Filling Up The Bakfiets

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When we need fuel for our boat, I’ll often ride my bakfiets down to the local station (about 1.5 miles each way). Not surprisingly, I get some interesting comments from people and rarely escape without at least one person asking what kind of gas mileage I get. I can carry three 5-gallon cans. Fun stuff.

Bakfiets, pumpkins, bicycle, halloween

Oh, it also carries 100 lbs of pumpkins, squash, green beans, and brussels sprouts home from the Shoreview Farmer’s Market (I ate most of the raspberries while I was there).

Ramsey County Projects Overview

These are some road projects coming up in the Northeast Metro (Northern Ramsey County). If you want to see better pedestrian and bicycling facilities included in these projects then make sure you let your county commissioners and appropriate city council folks know. Planning often begins two to four years prior to construction and it’s difficult to get changes included after about 6 months prior to construction. Adding proper pedestrian and bicycle facilities now, during construction, is very minimal cost. If it’s not done now, it will be another 30 years before the chance comes around again.

I am not including general signal revisions or mill & overlay projects. These though can be found in the Ramsey County TIP Report. Even though not major projects, these do offer opportunities for improvements to pedestrian and bicycle transportation such as better designed signals and button placements or narrowing of vehicular lanes and/or inclusion of bike lanes, cycle tracks, or paths on mill & overlay projects.

2014

Lexington Ave from approx 694 to County Road F (AH/SV) – Reconstruction.

Maryland Ave @ Payne Ave (SP) – Reconstruct Geometrics/Signals.

Highway 61 through downtown White Bear Lake (WBL) – Mill & Overlay plus additional improvements

2015

Hiway 96 from 35W to Old Hiway 8 (AH/NB) – Reconstruction

Lexington Ave @ Hiway 36 (RV) – Reconstruct Interchange. It is critical that they include adequate pedestrian and bicycle facilities on both sides of Lexington as well as allow safe crossing of Lexington.

Hiway 10 @ County Rd H (MV) – Geometrics/Signals.

County Rd E @ Snelling (AH) – Bridge Reconstruction. Critical that they include adequate pedestrian and bicycle facilities on both sides of Cty E and include a bicycle path along Snelling (under Cty E). Sadly they have included no safe bicycling facilities where Cty E has been reconstructed this summer between Snelling and Lexington. This is doubly critical to provide students at Bethel Univ with a safe route to Lexington Ave retail (they currently use the railroad line & bridge).

Raymond Ave from Hampden Ave to Energy Park Dr. (SP) – Reconstruction.

2016

Rice Street from Cty B2 to Cty C2 (RV/LC) – Reconstruction.

Hodgson Road from Gramsie to Bridge St. (SV/VH) – Reconstruction.

Raymond Ave from Energy Park Dr to Como Ave. (SP) – Reconstruction

County E2 @ 35W (NB) – Bridge Replacement.

2017

White Bear Ave @ 694 (WB/MW) – Interchange Reconstruction.

Hiway 96 @ 35E (WB/VH) – Interchange Reconstruction

Cty Rd D from Cleveland to Fairview (AH) – Reconstruction

Rice Street from N. Owasso Blvd to Vadnais Blvd (VH/SV/LC) – Interchange Reconstruction.

Shoreview: State Of The City (DRAFT)

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Though perhaps behind many communities outside of the U.S. when it comes to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, Shoreview is well ahead of most U.S. exurbs. Nearly all residents can, relatively safely and comfortably, walk or ride a bicycle to local amenities and Shoreview appears to have plans for continued improvement of this infrastructure.

Shoreview’s 2008 Comprehensive Transportation Plan indicates a good understanding of active transportation and a desire to provide a complete network of segregated (off-street) bicycle and pedestrian ways that allow every citizen in Shoreview to safely and comfortably walk or ride a bicycle to local amenities. Shoreview also has a Bikeways and Trails Committee with a major focus on bicycle transportation infrastructure throughout the city.

Shoreview today has a fairly extensive network of segregated Multi-Use Paths (MUPs). One of the major holes in this network, Hodgson Road south of 96, is scheduled to get a segregated path in 2015. Instead of making people wait through an entire light phase, many crosswalks give an immediate white crossing light after pressing the beg button, a very welcomed feature. Shoreview’s paths are kept in fairly good shape throughout the winter and are plowed quickly after snowfalls and again after road plowing when necessary. Drivers in most of Shoreview are generally safe and courteous to pedestrians and those riding bicycles (perhaps because so many walk and ride themselves).

DSC 0188In much of Shoreview, walking or riding a bike for local transportation is not just feasible, but quite enjoyable. Shoreview’s paths, like the one to the left, are becoming more popular each year. One 42-year resident recently told me that she’d not really considered riding a bike for local errands until just earlier this year when it occurred to her that there were bike paths everywhere she usually goes. She bought a bike at Now Sports and said that it has been one of the delights of her life. Now she’s trying to talk her friends in to riding.

Shoreview is just now beginning to see the benefits of this investment. Like the woman above, many residents are only recently beginning to think of walking and bicycling as an alternative to their lifetime habit of driving a car for even the shortest of trips. Shoreview has done much better than average in housing value recovery over the past three years and this infrastructure is likely a key contributor in that. Shoreview’s investment in good pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure will pay many dividends to Shoreview residents in the coming years.

Even in the best of cities though, there is room for improvement. Here are some wishes for Shoreview.

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Shoreview: Lexington Avenue Reconstruction (Updated July 23, 2013)

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Update (23 Jul, 2013): A crossing has been added across Lexington just north of the 694 ramps. This will be good news for Land O’ Lakes folks and anyone who ventures down the path on the west side of Lexington without realizing that it’s effectively a dead-end.

They are also exploring the addition of refuges.

They are exploring adding No Turn On Red signs at Lexington & F though agree that these are not always effective with U.S. drivers. They are also concerned about how this might delay motor traffic.

All path/pedestrian ramps will be full path width. I assume this means that cyclists can safely ride to street level at any point across the ramp. No word yet on dealing with the jarring bumps of current designs or with anti-skid rumbles.

More to come.

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Ramsey county plans, in 2014, to reconstruct Lexington Avenue between Red Fox Rd (just south of 694) to just north of it’s intersection with County Road F, as well as nearby portions of County Road F. Expanding the Lexington & F intersection is the primary driver of this project.

Click for latest project plan.

They have included some pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, but the current plan still leaves this corridor dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists, particularly at the Lexington & F intersection that is the core of this project. Given the additional lanes, potentially higher motor vehicle speeds, lack of crossing refuges, and other elements, this corridor may be more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists after this project is complete than it is currently.

Shoreview has some of the best cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in the Twin Cities (and the U.S.). It will be a shame if this project does not continue this leadership.

Below are some concerns with the current plan as well as some possible recommended solutions.

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