Monday, April 16, 2007

Dedicated Lanes for Everyone



Since the weather was unbelievably beautiful this past Sunday, I spent some quality time at Lake Calhoun. It's a beautiful park in southwest Minneapolis, a little over 3 miles in circumference. In good weather, people flock to this park! Today, I saw hundreds and hundreds of park visitors: walkers, joggers, runners, roller-bladers, bikers, teenagers, old (er, senior) folks, couples, families, people pushing strollers, and of course, people walking dogs. The dogs are particularly happy to be there, hunting squirrels and barking "Hello!" at every other dog.

With all these people (and animals) frequenting the park, you might wonder how all this pedestrian and non-motorized (bikes and rollerblades, that is) traffic is managed. The answer is: dedicated lanes! There is one four foot wide lane for bidirectional pedestrian traffic; outside that lane is another single-direction lane for bikers, rollerbladers, and seriously fast runners. Beyond that, there is a bidirectional road for vehicular traffic. It's a pretty impressive operation--with separate lanes for specific kinds of traffic, there is plenty of space for everyone to move at his/her appropriate pace.

This got me thinking: what if we had dedicated lanes for all kinds of traffic everywhere? Imagine I-35W, with concrete medians separating car, bike, stroller, moped, scooter, running, walking, and old-people-with-walkers lanes! To be complete, we should add more lanes for faster-than-car travel, including traditional rail and high-speed rail. I guess if you really wanted to make it complete, you would dedicate the air above the lane in question for air traffic, and run subway lines underneath it. Why should a given road be restricted to a specific mode of travel?

Coming this Friday: All Luxury, All the Time!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Bonnie Erickson said...

We Minnesotans take so many things for granted. It's fun to see our "stuff" through an outsiders eyes! When rose season arrives, check out the rose gardens between Calhoun and Lake Harriet. There are perennial flower gardens there as well. It's a great place to picnic, check hybrids, and just generally enjoy.

As to the separate lanes. St. Paul has a lot of bike lanes throughout the city, but they are not protected from the traffic. Right turning cars can cross over the hatched bike lane lines . . . well, it all just seems very vulnerable in traffic! I can't imagine being a bike messenger!

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The outside lane is not for runners at all, in fact runners who use the outside lane have caused numerous accidents and near misses when the path is already busy with bikers and bladers.

1:03 PM  

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