04/24/09

Bike Walk Twin Cities Workshop Spurs Creative Solutions to Tough Road Design ProblemsBike Walk Twin Cities Workshop Spurs Creative Solutions to Tough Road Design Problems

Last month, local planners, engineers, consultants, policy makers, and community advocates assembled to roll up their sleeves on complete streets for the "Designing Streets from the Outside In: Complete Streets and Beyond" workshop.

Workshop participants

The workshop is part of an ongoing effort, spearheaded by the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative, to promote cross-disciplinary and cross-jurisdictional approaches that will ensure that streets are safe and healthy for all users.

National design experts, who specialize in creating more walkable, bikeable, and livable communities,joined forces with local engineers and planners to collaboratively address some of the more challenging road design issues facing Twin Cities communities.

Several of the design experts led presentations focused on strategies to ensure that roads serve all users, including pedestrians and cyclists. The presentations covered everything from why bike lanes may not be needed on residential streets to award-winning examples of 4-2 lane conversions using roundabouts. Participants broke into teams, designing a complete downtown street with 80 feet of public right of way. The complete set of videos from the presentations is available here.

Site visitsLearning continued on the streets with walkabouts of several ed Twin Cities' locations posing real design challenges can children cross this street safely on their way to school? What barriers do bicyclists face in this corridor? How can we make this site accessible to all people? Would a road diet work here? The group (including city, county and state transportation engineers and planners) exchanged suggestions for design improvements, with the national technical assistance team providing additional guidance.

As Mary Jackson of Mn/DOT remarked the next day in an email packed full of photos she had taken, "It was a good day...so great to get together to learn about new concepts, approaches, and treatments. We will have to come together in a few years (a few months?) to get the "after" shots!!"

You can see picutres from the workshop and the site visits at the Bike Walk Twin Cities Flickr page. The next day, staff and officials from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Edina, Brooklyn Center, Golden Valley, Hennepin County, and Mn/DOT hosted site visits. The team, along with Steve Clark and Tony Hull (Transit for Livable Communities), met with engineers, planners, and policy makers to study specific Bike Walk Twin Cities project locations with design challenges. The on-site brainstorming resulted in a number of potential solutions and recommendations for moving forward.