The City of Saint Paul is doing an interesting experiment with the Marshall Ave. bike lanes. They are currently running a pilot program which attempts to keep the bike lanes clear from not only snow, but also parked cars, by plowing curb-to-curb this winter. On Tuesday nights cars are not permitted to park on the south side of the street, and then the following evening the parking ban is enforced on the north side.
We were excited about this prospect, hoping that potentially, if successful this format could be adopted on both sides of the river, because we all know Minneapolis needs the help. As good of an idea as this is, good ideas are useless if they don’t work, so we decided to check it out.
We took advantage of the warm day on Wednesday and rode over for ourselves to see just how clean, and/or free from cars the bike lanes were.
So is the curb-to-curb plowing working?
As you can see from the picture gallery below, the effort has been about 50 percent successful. The pictures of the clean and car free bike lanes are from the north side of the street, and by far was the best bike lane we have ridden on since the first snow fall of winter. The south side of the street is a different story. As you can see the bike lane basically doesn’t exist due to the parked cars.
Due to the fact that this is a pilot program, it will be judged on its effectiveness at the end of the winter we will be interested to see if they make a distinction between what is happening on the north side (clearly successfully) and the south side (clearly not). Of course this is not the only consideration in determining whether or not the program will expand, the other consideration is financial. As you can see parking enforcement has no problems doling out the tickets, which is probably a nice added revenue stream for the city.
What do you think people of the 651? Are these lanes part of your daily commute? Is the curb-to-curb plowing working or falling flat?