New Median Installed on the Greenway

One of the best parts about the Midtown Greenway is the lack of street level crossings.  Instead of constantly stopping and looking both ways, cyclists and cruise along at a steady pace, for the most part moving above, below and beside traffic.

One street level crossing is going to get a whole lot safer with the installation of a new median at the 28th Street crossing.

Hopefully this traffic adjustment will do what, a big yellow bicycle sign and flashing lights haven’t, make cars slow down and stop for cyclists.  You might ask yourself why would you need this traffic throttler at this intersection, don’t cars have the right of way?  Well, yes that is true, as a cyclist or pedestrian you have a stop sign, and most cyclists patiently wait until the intersection is either traffic free, or until a car stops to let them pass.

So why the median?  The cause of more than one accident at this intersection has been the following scenario; car no.1 approaches the intersection traveling either east or west, and sees a cyclist stopped waiting to cross and car no.1 stops and waives the cyclist across.  Car no.2 then approaches from behind car no. 1 and doesn’t understand why car no. 1 is stopped (or is annoyed that they are stopped) so car no. 2 swings out around car no. 1 to the right side to pass, boom collision with the crossing cyclist.

The new medians narrow the east and west bound traffic to only one car’s width at the crossing, this will prevent car no. 2 from pulling around car no. 1 in the future and will hopefully make the crossing much safer.

It’s things like this that help the City of Minneapolis demonstrate their commitment to cyclists.  It is a small change to traffic, not very expensive to install (comparatively) and yet could mean the difference between life and death or serious injury for a cyclists.

Bravo.

 

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10 Responses to New Median Installed on the Greenway

  1. Reuben says:

    This looks like a really great design. The other unofficial chatter I heard on the internet seemed to indicate that the City was leaning heavily towards narrowing from the outside rather than installing a median. I’m very happy to see that the City chose the median.

    It’s also really fantastic that the design leaves the trail at street level rather than having trails users mount the median. It’s a great design.

    I’m not sure about your statement about cars having the right-of-way. It’s a painted crosswalk – and bikes/peds have right-of-way at all crosswalks. The presence of a stop sign for trail users does not re-assign the right-of-way to roadway users.

    • Hmm, interesting, it was just an assumption that the right-of-way belonged to cars, due to the stop signs on the trail.

      Does anyone know who gets the nod here, cyclists or cars?

      • Justin says:

        According to an e-mail conversation I had with a planner in St. Louis Park about a problem intersection, in MN cars have the right of way at mid-block crosswalks, and crosswalk traffic has the right of way at intersections. So…since that one is mid-block, road traffic has the right of way.

      • Reuben says:

        In response to Justin below (comments only go 3 layers deep here, it seems..)

        There are some definite grey areas in the laws. Trail users have right-of-way over roadway users at legal crosswalks, including mid-block crosswalks. Engineers may choose to reassign this right-of-way to other roadway users if they want to (for example, using a “don’t walk” indicator at a traffic signal). It is not clear whether the use of a stop sign on a trail is intending to re-assign the right-of-way or not. Engineers will disagree on this topic. I don’t believe it does, but some of my colleagues do.

        The tricky part is knowing what is or isn’t a legal crosswalk. All crossing locations that use paint on the roadway to delineate a crossing is a legal crosswalk. Also, all crossings at intersections (striped or unstriped) are legal crosswalks. Mid-block crossings, since they are not at intersections, MUST use pavement markings or else it is NOT a crosswalk. This is the case in St. Louis Park. St. Louis Park made a decision about 3 or 4 years ago to removed the pavement markings, turning the legal crosswalks into non-crosswalks.

      • hokan says:

        Reuben,

        In the Traffic Regulations, Crosswalks exist at intersections where sidewalks are interrupted by roads. Crosswalk markings can create crosswalks elsewhere.

        Intersections are not automatically crosswalks. If there are not markings and no sidewalks then there is no crosswalk. Nonetheless, pedestrians have the legal right-of-way at intersections.

        This quibble is important because bicyclists have (almost) the same right-of-way in crosswalks as do pedestrians, but do not have the same right-of-way at intersections without crosswalks. At intersections without crosswalks vehicular right-of-way rules apply for bikes.

  2. lowrah says:

    I was so happy to see this go in, and I was also very happy that during construction the road was closed to car traffic, but bike traffic was allowed to go through! Well done.

  3. jeff says:

    So….we used use a crossing at Hiawatha Avenue that was controlled (stop light), short (1/4 mile from east side of hiawatha to the start of the greenway south of 28th) and flat (no elevation change)
    Then we built a cross that is not controlled, longer (2/5th mile) with an elevation change.

    Now we spent money that still keeps an uncontrolled crossing but add a waiting spot to make the game of Frogger a bit safer.

    I’m not sure that we are much better off than before.

    • Don’t know that you are comparing apples here. 28th doesn’t have even half of the traffic that Hiawatha does, and the cars are traveling much slower.

    • Reuben says:

      jeff – nonsense. It is a phenomenally better situation than existed before the bridge was built.

      Nobody is arguing it’s the ideal. No doubt the old route was more direct and without elevation change. No doubt with better coordination between trail/freeway/LRT/transmission line planning, a lot of things could have been executed better than they were. No doubt that several other good options didn’t get the full consideration they deserved.

      But to argue that the inconvenience of crossing 28th and the Sabo Bridge is comparable to the old crossing at Hiawatha is just nonsense.

  4. Alex says:

    Why are the medians square instead of tapering where the lanes flow around them? Is this segment of 28th going to be converted to 3-lane?

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