Do you ride on the Diagonal Trail?
Have you found it difficult to navigate the construction that has been going on at Stinson since (at least) June?
I can answer yes to both of these questions. So after nearly 2 months of trying to navigate my way through the construction zone, I finally wrote the City of Minneapolis. I received a most helpful and pleasant response today and wanted to share the conversation here so all of you can be updated as well.
I have personally noticed an increase in ridership on the Diagonal Trail since it opened, as has the City. It warms my heart, I hope it warms the City's heart as well. Thanks to all of you who use this wonderful asset! I know it has been a wonderful option for me every single time I leave my house.
Happy Riding and Here's to Safer Trails!
The e-mail converation I had with The City is below, the picture I sent with my e-mail inquiry is above. (Please note that "The City" response is from Mackenzie Turner Bargen, Bicycle and Pedestrian Section, Department of Public Works):
Me: I ride the Diagonal Trail often and have been seeing work start and stop on the main feeder intersection for the Diagonal trail at Stinson and New Brighton for going on about 2 months. This work has not only inconvenienced bicycles (and pedestrians), but is making it dangerous for them. I stopped to ask a worker the other day how much longer they would be working on the trail and he didn't know as he was an electrician working on the lights, but he didn't think much longer. That was 2 weeks ago.
The City: The goal is for this trail crossing to be fully operational in August.
The electrician you spoke with was fairly close in his estimate, but in the case of this project "not much longer" means a few more weeks. The work at this intersection was coordinated as such that some very visible work took place immediately with a share of concrete removals and the installation of a new curb. The majority of electrical work below ground and overhead then took place, and unfortunately due to the nature of that work the installation of the new ramps and corner concrete had to wait until that portion of the electrical and signal work was to a place where the new corners can be installed. The concrete/paving work to install the new ramps and corner work is currently scheduled for next week (July 21-25).
Me: My concerns are:
1. There has never been a formal detour posted here for bicyclists to get around the construction site. Bicyclists have had to make their own detour around the site through what was mud for a while with the rains, and now is a rutty dirt trail with difficult access on/off the trail entrance points.
The City: I apologize for the lack of a formal, planned detour. This was an oversight, and that's definitely not good enough. This project has been a series of important learning experiences. Lessons learned that will prevent oversights such as this from being repeated. Again, I apologize for this oversight and the resulting issues.
Me: 2. The detour bicyclists have had to create has VERY low visibility. There is overgrown shrubbery at this intersection and you can not see coming from either direction if a cyclist or pedestrian is headed toward you. This is dangerous for many reasons, but could cause a cyclist to divert into traffic, or worse yet, fall into traffic if a run-in occurred.
The City: Detour plans are in the works to be put in place for the remainder of the project timeline as long as intersection access and connection are impacted by the project work. We will take the visibility problems into account in crafting an appropriate solution.
Me: 3. There is no way for a cyclist to navigate across the curb and through traffic if they are headed straight on New Brighton. After navigating through the self made detour and shrubbery, the cyclist then abruptly comes to a stop and has to navigate down off the curb outside of the crosswalk area designated for pedestrians and cyclists - causing them to face directly into traffic and walk through it.
The City: Noted. We will also explore our options for addressing the issues mounting/dismounting the curb given the current state of the intersection.
Me: Please advise when this work will be completed and confirm that these issues will be remedied. In the 7 years I have lived in NE this has become an increasingly used area by cyclists and deserves equal detour attention that any other route in the city would get (for cars or bicycles).
The City: Agreed. This facility along with many others has seen increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic and we absolutely must accommodate adequate and appropriate detours when completing this type of work, not only at high traffic locations, but all that serve bicyclists and pedestrians in the city, regardless of geography.
I apologize again, and hope to have something in place that certainly won't make up for the time that lapsed without a detour, but will provide detour accommodation until the project is operational.
Thanks to The City of Minneapolis, especially Mackenzie, for attention to this matter and the really great response to my e-mail! Life is all about communication.
To all of you Diagonal riders out there - thanks for your patience, ride safe, and HAPPY SUMMER!