This week I have an assignment at two locations and two start times. The beggining of the week I’m riding up France Ave. at 8:30 am and returning at 6pm. This contrast with my 7:15am start and 4:30pm return trip that takes me to Eden Prarie. Glad to have the France Ave assignment complete since evening traffic combined with dusk is too risky for the route I must take. So, this is the one time that riding on the sidewalk is mandated. This is the Southdale Mall area that I have slammed in other posts. Every American city is structured with goofy districts like the mall. The problems that face pedestrians and bike riders are safety related in and around these mall areas. One observation I want to make is for the exception of holiday shopping the Avenues around the mall are never crowded. There is plenty of space, ie. concrete and asphalt to accomodate a bike lane. There are already sidewalks and any industrious community could convert these to widened lanes for peds and bike riders.
As I make my way around Edina on my course to Eden Prairie I’ve chosen some off beat routes. One curious thing I found in Edina, a very wealthy suburb, was in less than 1/4 of a mile there were two pedestrian bridges spanning HWY 100. WTF? These structures are exspensive! So what gives? In addition there is a road bridge within an 1/8 of a mile from the one bridge links up to the high school. I know the areas to the west and east of these bridges. Residential property to the west sprawls in the surrounding hills and wet lands. The roadway system is off grid. Stereotypically the residents drive cars and their kids don’t venture onto the secondary roads outside of their immediate neighborhood. Suburban office parks are about 3 miles away. On the east side of HYW 100 is the Country Club just north of the high school. This area is on grid. The shops and bustle of an urban area are evident. The lingering question on my mind is “who are the people using these pedestrian bridges?” But, a bigger question is “who did the city have in mind when they built these bridges?” Inquiring minds want to know!
For my little mind it is inconceivable that these bridges serve a purpose. Evacuation from the suburbs maybe in a state of emergency? Likely not. In the meantime I have stopped using the bridge since there is broken glass on one bridge and the other is a steeper and longer climb. There you go.