Thursday, September 8, 2011

Not exactly a Frogger situation

img_4483 by Mulad

The intersection at Pleasant and Arlington Streets on the University of Minnesota's East Bank got some new traffic lights to handle a projected increase in traffic flow. The closure of Washington Avenue through campus for Central Corridor construction has forced local and express bus traffic to go through here. An increase in car traffic was probably also expected, though I'm guessing most of the former Washington Avenue automotive traffic will simply disappear.

My biggest complaint about this intersection's new configuration is that this former 3-way stop now has pushbuttons to activate the crosswalks—At the University of Minnesota, one of the most heavily pedestrian places in the entire state!

This image shows the most baffling part, where Pleasant Street is a single-lane one-way street with a contraflow bike lane. Do you really need to have a pushbutton-activated "Walk" sign to cross here? And, when the walk sign does get activated, how can it possibly change the timing enough to make a significant difference to car travelers?


  1. That's completely ridiculous. Ban the beg buttons!

  2. you should see what campus looks like these days. cars and trucks sit stuck for half an hour while hundreds of students mill across the road continually on bikes and on foot.

    the U should really figure out a way to get all non-bus non-delivery traffic off the campus streets.

  3. Just gotta widen those steam tunnels so they can fit miniature delivery trains!

  4. How good are Minneapolitans at crossing without a signal? When I was a small child in Boston, there were still a lot of buttons for walk signals (this was the late eighties-early nineties), but my parents and I would cross the street anyway.

  5. Providence has such streets as well - for example, Thayer Street, the main street of College Hill. The beg button just makes the pedestrian lights go green, but appears to do nothing to the car lights, and is therefore ignored. On Thayer, pedestrians cross when there's no car traffic, or when the car stoplights are green in the parallel direction and red in the orthogonal direction.