Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Please Drive Carefully

The name of the bicyclist killed last week has been released: Audrey Hull, a 25-year-old University of Minnesota student.

In related news, the hit-and-run driver who killed pedestrian Ben Van Handel has been arrested, and another pedestrian has been hit, this time on the West Bank.

Since these disturbing and tragic incidents, the City and various news outlets have asked all road users to be more cautious and better share the road.  While I echo those sentiments, I believe that we shouldn't shy away from more directly addressing drivers.  If you drive on Minneapolis streets, please be aware of bicyclists and pedestrians.  When turning, look for bicyclists and pedestrians in crosswalks.  When turning in locations where there is a bike lane, do not simply turn across the bike lane.  Merge into it just before the intersection, and turn from there - that is the safe and legal way to turn where a bike lane is present.

Those of us who choose to drive have the responsibility to ensure that we don't hurt or kill other road users.  We're the ones using large, powerful machines that can end or significantly change someone's life, and we simply must be more careful.  Out of respect for the memory of Audrey, Ben, and the others who have died on Minneapolis roadways in recent weeks, please join me in driving with more care.


At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great, Cam, but what about the City's responsibility for maintaining a safe infrastructure for both bikes and cars? The lines on the Franklin Ave bridge over the Mississippi are nearly completely worn off, and neither bikes nor cars can safely discern where the bike lane actually is. It seems like something as simple as keeping these markers on the road visible could help bikes AND cars avoid tragedies such as this.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Robin Garwood said...

You're absolutely right, both about the general point about our infrastructure and about Franklin.

On the general point, this is one of the main purposes of the meeting Cam has scheduled with City staff from Public Works, the Police Department, and the Attorney's Office. Now that Public Works has developed standards for bike facilities (such as dashing conflict zone areas) we need to make sure we're retrofitting existing facilities to meet these standards. There are some additional steps that other cities have taken, especially around busy intersections, to reduce the "right hook" and "left hook" hazards, including colorized bike lanes in those locations, bike boxes, pulling the "stop bar" back a few feet, bicycle-specific signalization and signs or pavement markings warning both bicyclists and drivers of the conflict zone. From our perspective, all of these options are on the table, especially for intersections like 15th and 4th.

On Franklin: that was a County project, so our office contacted them to ask when they planned to refresh these lines. Given the fact that they're less than a year old, it's not surprising that they've faded - it usually takes a few years of repainting for the lines to survive the winter. We've heard that they'll be out there on "the first non-rainy day that is available next week," giving us yet another reason to hope for sunshine.


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