Wow. Newsy day transportation-wise in Springfield. Check it out.
Grand St. at MSU Eyed for Improvement: Never was their a better stretch of road needing some attention to make the lives of pedestrians and non-motorized traffic better.
A preliminary design shows the project would cost around $2 million to pay for upgrades of traffic lights at both Kings Avenue and John Q. Hammons Parkway, left-turning lanes at the intersections, wider sidewalks and a longer pedestrian underpass underneath Grand, Gugel said.
Changes Planned on Two Streets: No, that isn’t urban art you saw on Walnut between Hammons and Kimbrough this morning. The street will be closing until March (except for local traffic) for continued streetscape and stormwater improvements.
New Look Planned for MSU Corridor: This one worries me a bit.
The city plans to add a right-turn lane for southbound traffic on National to turn onto Monroe, Haynes said. On Monroe, the plan calls for adding two more lanes west of the intersection.
Once built, Monroe would have one inbound lane from National and three outbound lanes to National, Haynes said.
Let’s examine this; take a look at this photo (click for larger image):
The red line is the MSU bikeway. It’s a 2-way lane about 7-feet wide except for a narrow portion on Monroe. The green line shows the traffic pattern for cars. Florence and Madison are 1-way streets. The yellow circle shows the intersection in question — National and Monroe.
Here’s the problem I see: Many motorists ignore the 1-way designation. They drive north on Florence on the bikeway, which is a painted lane in this area (the rest of the MSU bikeway system is separate paths, not painted lanes). Neither the university nor the Springfield Police Department show much interest in enforcing the 1-way street. When my daughter was a student at Greenwood and traveled to and from school along the marked red route, she regularly encountered cars going the wrong way on the bikeway. I called to complain many times. No interest (although MSU once put down some fresh paint after I called). I gave up after my daughter left Greenwood. I contend that the problem on Florence will only get worse leading to a very dangerous situation for bicyclists who use the bikeway here. Motorists will tend to fill up the three proposed campus exit lanes on Monroe (i.e. build it, and they will come). These lanes and a new traffic signal will be an extra temptation for motorists using Florence to get to dorms, Taylor Clinic, and PSU. The reason is obvious: It will be much easier to access National — an important north-south artery — from Monroe rather than from Madison.
(I could question bikeway system in whole or in part — some stretches are very nice; others are problematic — but that’s a discussion for another time.)
What are the chances that MSU security or the Springfield Police Department will suddenly begin showing an interest in the double-whammy on Florence once this new intersection is finished?
I’m thinking it’s time to regularize this portion of the bikeway. Part of the improvement project should be to separate this section of the bikeway so that it fits the rest of the system and removes bicyclists (mostly novice students) from the motorist scofflaws.