Changes to First Avenue North

This one should be quick. I noticed on my way into school this morning that the signs that have, for so long, dedicated Thursdays to a street free of cars (“No Parking Thursday 8 AM – 4 PM”) seem to be gone along 1st Ave N. Additionally, on the EERC end of the street (between 22nd and 23rd street at least) there are new “No Parking This Side of Street” signs on the south (eastbound) side of the street. 

I was considering that maybe this move was a way to save money by not cleaning/plowing this street, but it doesn’t leave the city a time in which to sweep or plow if it is necessary. I’m thinking now that the removal of parking on one side of the street (if in fact it goes all the way to South Washington) might be a move to encourage traffic flow along 1st Ave in addition to 2nd Ave (which is the high-traffic and quite narrow next street over).

Anyway, what do I know? Hopefully someone can find an answer. If more traffic is going down 1st Avenue, we need stop signs on all the cross streets so people don’t die.



View Larger Map

East Grand Forks to add parking–on the Greenway

The city of East Grand Forks, MN is divided on whether to add parking. “Add parking,” you say, “why wouldn’t you want to add parking?” In this case, as reported by the Grand Forks Herald, the additional parking lot would add 32 stalls on the river side of the Boardwalk, a popular downtown collection of restaurants and bars. The problem is that the river side of the existing parking lot (as shown in the image below) is the Greenway, a park/wilderness area created as a buffer from the Red River after the devastating 1997 flood.
 



View Larger Map 

Map centered on proposed parking lot site.

Obviously, many business owners and city council members are excited at the prospect of additional parking because it is (at face value) expected to bring even more people to downtown EGF. (I’ve personally experienced the lack of space on a busy night.)

The mayor said he supports the plan to add parking. He said it is the best thing for the city and he would vote for it with his tiebreaking vote if the city council was deadlocked. Mayor Stauss said his support for the plan is not influenced by his brother and son owning the Boardwalk building.

Some owners, however, are seeing the long-term consequences. 

Dave Homstad, the co-owner and general manager of the Blue Moose Bar & Grill, says he spent an extra $80,000 to $100,000 to build his exterior deck to a height high enough to provide a view of the river and the Greenway, and the new parking lot would block that view for his customers. “If they extend that parking lot out there it’s going to take away my view of the river,” he said

Additional parking is available across DeMers Avenue in the Cabela’s parking lot, in other lots and streets near downtown, and across the Red River in downtown Grand Forks, ND. Why another lot, and why here?

Snapshot: Crossing at DeMers Ave/S. Columbia Rd Interchange

Trying to keep the words to a minimum, but here is an intersection in Grand Forks that I find particularly worrisome, especially for people to whom cycling/commuting is new. This crossing is the primary avenue between the University of North Dakota (to the north) and points to the southeast. The protected sidewalk on the S. Columbia Rd. overpass is used by riders because the traffic on the often exceeds 35 mph and people are not used to cyclists. See map at bottom of post.

Most problematic: drivers merging onto the northbound onramp and off the southbound offramp. They do not expect to stop because all they have is a yield sign. Drivers merging on are especially dangerous because they have little need to yield most of the time, and see little reason in signaling.

Suggested solution: Unsure. Would be nice to straighten out the crossing (will have to take a photo now that it’s snowed again) to make it easier for people on the path, but something needs to be done to prevent merging drivers from running into riders and drivers stopped at the red light from stopping in front of the pedestrian cutout ramps (on the crosswalk).

IMG_9278

IMG_9279

IMG_9280

IMG_9281


View Larger Map

Total time on this post: 46 minutes.