St Paul Gauntlet

Hey, in these pages there are times when the street topic turns to responsible design. The gauntlet that I have to run on Marshall Avenue in St Paul since the most recent snow fall is worse because lack of leadership and follow through. This showcase bike friendly street in summer is nothing but an accident waiting to happen for innocent bike riders in its present state of ill maintained ice removal. It appears the city has not put forth a policy to clear ice from the stretch of avenue from Snelling to Cretin. The section is less than 2 miles and is integral for bike riders since other corridors are in just as bad shape or worse. So what gives St. Paul? These photo’s indicate the presence of a bike lane but one is hard pressed to ride on it covered in dangerous slick rutted ice.

Marshall Avenue bike lane buried in ice-bike riders must take the traffic lane

Is this a Catch 22? We have a bike lane for bike use and to use it in these conditions we are endangering ourselves when the intent was to make bike riding safer.   The problem exist because the city does not have a policy to prohibit parking to facilitate ice removal. Going into Fridays commute I expect to have the same bullshit ride coming and going on this stretch. What makes this whole situation a real ass burner is the total redesign of Marshall Avenue. There is also a median in random sections that have no purpose at all. In fact during the winter the median creates a barrier that restrict automobiles from moving to the center of the avenue when the street narrows because of non existant parking restrictions and poor ice removal. Then there are the bump outs St Paul has built that have no apparent function or worse the bump out narrows an intersection and forces bike riders into the traffic lane when the curb suddenly gobbles up 8 feet or more of roadway as it does on Sibley Avenue.

Marshall Ave bump out has no function when a policy of no parking 30 feet from intersection would do

The narrow streets created by mother nature are frustratingly dangerous after a week of commuting. St. Paul really needs to address this issue soon. As I was riding in I fell in behind Steve Clark the Twin Cities bike guru. He is just as blown away with the situation citing 4 years of the same ole shit from the city. Lucky that I have only another week to commute to St Paul and this assignment will be over.

Happier photo when going downhill from Cathedral Hill.

Cathedral Hill December 8th 2011 by author


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