Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

Minneapolis Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator – Walk Signs for All!

Dateline: 2:08 pm September 7, 2011 Filed under:

The City of Minneapolis has been getting flak for laying off firefighters while hiring for a new position – a citywide pedestrian and bicycle coordinator. Whatever comes of this mini-controversy, the first task for this new hire should be to ensure that all traffic lights citywide automatically give a walk signal when the light turns green. Cars don’t have to push a button for the light to turn green – walkers and bikers shouldn’t have to, either! This isn’t too much to ask.

A recent post of mine lauded the baby steps the city was taking to make the crossing of Hiawatha at 38th Street more palatable to those in the crosswalk. Well, it is broken again, and one must push the button to get a walk signal. I have increasingly noticed that numerous traffic signals around the city stubbornly remain in Don’t Walk mode while the traffic signal is green. Especially galling is along the pedestrian and bicycle-intensive Minnehaha Parkway, where it occurs at the crossing of Bloomington and Cedar Avenue. (At Bloomington, the Walk automatically appears for those in the minority who are crossing the Parkway, but not for the majority on the trail).

There shouldn’t be a crosswalk in the city where the Walk sign doesn’t automatically come on when (or a couple seconds before!) the light turns green. The city doesn’t even need to hire a pedestrian/bicycle coordinator to do that!

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