November 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm in INFORUM
City has already spent $250K looking into NP, 1st conversionFargo is considering whether to move forward on a study of converting downtown’s NP and First avenues into two-ways. Continue Reading
Tags: downtown, Fargo, Traffic 9 Comments »
With the money wasted on feasibility studies, a pedestrian bridge over the RR tracks on Main and Broadway would have a good start. How much more money, our tax money, on this plan. When there is road construction in Fargo, they tell us to avoid congestion, now they want us to drive in congestion, if these two way streets come into existence.
Changing the two one ways into two ways, with no left turn lanes would stop traffic dead in its tracks.
Did the feasibility study take into consideration the 85 trains that roll through Fargo everyday, blocking of the three crossings downtown for approximately five hours a day? This will only cause more congestion if this radical plan is implemented. Did they consider a train accident or derailments?
Here is a worst case scenario, if the one ways are turned into two ways.
A few months ago there was a train pedestrian accident causing a tragic death of a man on the Main Avenue and Broadway RR crossing. It took the police three and a half hours to investigate the accident. This investigation meant that the train had to stop and block all of the RR crossings in downtown Fargo for three and a half hours. This accident happened on an early Saturday morning, with little traffic or pedestrian traffic.
Can you even imagine if this accident happened at the 4PM to 6PM rush hours on your way home from work? Just imagine being stopped in traffic for over three hours? Traffic would be backed up for miles on every street and every avenue in downtown Fargo and even into Moorhead, trying to get to the only two underpasses that lead south. More people live on the south side of Main Avenue that the north side, so most vehicles would be trying to go south. Road rage would run rampant. Emergency vehicles would not be able to get to car accidents, which surly would occur. Ambulances would also be stuck in traffic, trying to get a stroke or hardtack victim to St. Lukeâ€™s Merit Care Sanford Hospital. If a fire broke out downtown, fire crews would be unable to get to the fire. Fargo would be just like what happened in the movie, â€œThe Day the Earth Stood Still.â€ Nothing would be moving. Period.
It would be even worse for pedestrians, and workers getting off work; trying to get to the parking lots or parking ramps on either side of all of the RR crossings. One would have to walk, either to the Second Street underpass, the Tenth Street Underpass or the University Drive underpass, and then back to Broadway.
This would be an even greater hardship for the elderly predestines the handicapped and disabled in wheelchairs or handicapped scooters. The Second Street underpass sidewalks are just too narrow for two wheelchairs to pass each other if they meet coming from different directions. It is also to narrow for them to turn their wheelchairs around, so they would just have to sit there until help arrived. Trying to back up would be too dangerous. If one of the wheels on the wheelchair slipped off of the curb, the wheelchair could tip into the street and oncoming cars. This could lead to another fatality.
Also walking or wheeling ten to twelve long blocks to Tenth St, or the University Dr. Underpasses, then back to Broadway, would be quite a hardship for a disabled or elderly person to endure.
There have been many pedestrian train accidents, leading to death in the past. I am sure there will be more of these triadic accidents in the future. There also could be train vehicle accidents or even a train derailment. All we have to do is look back at Minot, ND and what happened to their city when a train derailed.
Fargo has just been lucky and this has not occurred during the rush hours traffic, when workers are hurrying to get home. Fargo needs to look at placing another two way underpass on Fourth St and Main; there is plenty of room for one.
If any one ways should be changed, it should be the two one ways on Tenth St. and University Dr. There just has to be more opportunities to get people moving south after work. As like I stated before, that is where the most people live. They could change back into one ways after they go under the two sets of RR tracks; like NP Avenue changes from a one way to two ways at Fourth St. N.
I have been an advocate for safety issues for the vulnerable; lobbing the city of Fargo for well over ten years now; trying to have you build a handicapped accessible pedestrian overpass or underpass on the south end of Broadway and Main. This is a safety issue as well as connivance.
I even designed and drew a blueprint of a handicapped overpass for the south end of Broadway. It would look similar to the arch pedestrian bridge that crosses I-94 just west of University Dr, only on a smaller scale. I have shown all of you a picture of this handicapped pedestrian bridge; however, all of my requests over the years have just been ignored.
I have renamed this bridge to, â€œTHE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE TO EVERYWHERE.â€ This would certainly help hurting business in downtown Fargo. One reason business in downtown Fargo are hurting is the fact that they close so early in the evenings, just when shoppers are able to start shopping. Many are also closed on Saturdays. After 5PM downtown Fargo turns into a ghost town; with locked doors and window dressing. Retail business can not make money by people just window shopping.
So Fargo now is the time to build this handicapped accessible pedestrian bridge to everywhere in Fargo; not like a bridge to nowhere in Alaska.
Speak up Fargo, go to the commission meetings and add your voices.
Like or Dislike: 15 7
Wow, that’s quite the imagination. While I do realize that traffic can suck downtown at times, I don’t believe that losing one lane on the one-ways would ever have an ‘end of days’ situation like you just illustrated. The problem with people here is that they are stuck in their ways and don’t realize that there are a hundred different ways to get to the other side of the tracks. Instead of waiting for hours to get to the south side of Main, my ‘worst case’ option would be to drive up to 12th Ave, follow it to Mapleton, hop on interstate and drive back to West Fargo while you, my friend, are sitting in traffic and waiting for the 18th cycle of that light to turn green as you seem to believe would happen. People need to realize that their are more that 2 streets in this town. Also, I think people are pretty good in this town about getting out of the way of emergency vehicles if need be, and since EVERYBODY is going the same direction to get home, that just means their is one open lane going the opposite direction that the emergency vehicles are free to use.
Like or Dislike: 3 10
Brucealmighty – I always find your comments interesting, and thought-provoking. However, I believe that returning to two-way traffic on NP & 1st avenues north, will actually make it easier for drivers to get around those 85 trains per day. It’s pretty straight-forward: with the return of two-way traffic flows, drivers going south on Broadway will be able to turn west on NP Avenue (right turn) and drive directly to that brand-new 5-lane RR underpass at NP & University Drive to get around (under) the trains…thus lessening downtown congestion. And anybody parked or shopping along NP Avenue west of Broadway will be able to TURN AWAY FROM BROADWAY & drive west along NP – also, lowering traffic congestion in the central district. Literally scores of new turning options will present themselves with a return to two-way traffic…turning options that do not exist with the existing one-way traffic flows, the abscence of which actually contributes greatly to downtown traffic congestion.
As for that $92-million increase in economic impact for the central district on the heels of a return to two-way traffic cited by the consulting group…such an economic impact just might provide the necessary stimulus for finally getting that much-needed pedestrian overpass you’ve brought to our attention (especially with some firm ‘guidance’ by city planners!). By a happy concidence, some of the infrastructure is already in place for at least one such overpass, namely, the new Island Park Parking Ramp south of Main Ave. @ Broadway & Main. It already has the requisite elevator and stairwell, and would be ready-made for visitors and shoppers & people who live & work in the downtown area. Picture the following scenario: It’s a typical mid-winter’s day in downtown Fargo…let’s say it’s around 10 am…the sun is shining brightly, but the temperature is hovering around -10 with a brisk 15-mph NW zephyr tossed in to the mix. You know…brrrrr. In this scenario, a person driving or walking into the town center would simply drive or walk into the Island Park Parking Ramp, ride the elevator up to the third floor and then walk *over* Main Avenue taking the bright new skyway section into a brand new complex on the north side of Main which has been built atop sub-grade parking. Looking down you see mom & pop businesses on the ground level…you learn later that there are 3 or 4 floors of apartments & efficiencies above the mom & pops. As you walk further into the building, the skyway opens up on the left to reveal a 30-foot-high solarium on the north side, running E-W for its entire length. Table & chairs & green leafy plants are invitingly arrayed in this space, and a sandwich shop and coffee kiosk are strategically in place…the sounds of laughter and lively conversations can be heard from down below and you see people playing/kibbitzing cards and chess, and others swapping gossip over steaming mugs of java. The catwalk converts once again into another short stretch of skyway spanning the RR tracks…as you enter you look out the windows and see something that stops you in *your* tracks – for there, arrayed below you, is one of those mile-long trains crawling through the center of town…you know – the same doggone train that ordinarily would have you freezing your tukus off as you waited down by the crossing arms…You also note wisps of whitish smoke whipping in the breeze at about a 90-degree angle from frozen smoke stacks…and here you are in your sweater, coat draped over you arm, sauntering along nice as you please in complete comfort! Feeling a bit smug, you finally tear yourself away from the view below and resume your hike…as you enter the new complex on the north side of the RR tracks you see a bright digital temperature readout overhead – the temperature has actually dropped two degrees! You find yourself more than a little curious as to what awaits you on the other end of this bit of skyway…(to be continued)
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Why are we spending this kind of money on feasibility studies versus setting aside those dollars for our future commitments to the diversion that IS NEEDED for Fargo to survive?
Like or Dislike: 14 3
Perhaps they should contact the county and say this is for flood mitigation/prevention or something flood realted so the new tax money the elitists from Fargo are now going to steal from people can be used.
Like or Dislike: 1 2
We don’t need less one-ways downtown, we need more!
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What a waste of money!!!
I’m glad the Planning Commission is going to do further study. I hope they don’t believe everything they’ve read.
After attending the three public meetings, my opinion is that the proposed plan to convert 1st and NP Avenues to two-way is a pie-in-the-sky plan made up of wishful thinking and pretty pictures. The consultants had to propose something different to justify the $250.000 fee … and they don’t have to live in the resulting mess.
No one will be served by such a change. Not drivers, not bicyclists, not pedestrians.
The expressed outcome of this plan is to make the block or two east and west of Broadway appear more “urban.” What that would mean in application is slower, more congested traffic, bicycle lanes that would do little or nothing to keep bikes off the sidewalks (and could get bikers injured or killed), and fewer on-street parking places, forcing visitors to Downtown to park two, three, or four blocks away from their destinations, and walk in. Yeah, that ought to go over real well in the blizzards of February!
This push to appear “urban” is driven by a few folks who think it will be hip, or fun, or funky to be a “little Minneapolis,” but there aren’t enough of those people here to buy enough goods and services to maintain the Downtown businesses. We (the Downtown businesses) must have customers who come in from all the small towns surrounding Fargo-Moorhead, and–if they are asked, as I have done–those people will say that they’re likely to come Downtown LESS OFTEN if traffic is more congested and there’s less parking,
Did the $250,000 consultants interview any current and/or prospective customers? When pushed for an answer, they admitted they did not. I hope the Planning Commission includes such a survey in it’s examination of the proposal.
This is a very bad plan, people. But please don’t take my word for it. Look into it for yourself, with your eyes open rather than dazzled by the pretty pictures that don’t reflect the reality of Fargo’s Downtown area, especially in the winter.
Good lord, if you’re going to do it, just do it already, and stop wasting money studying it. I think it’s an absurd idea, because really, is slower-moving traffic actually going to make people spend more money?
“Stupid traffic, we should be home by now.”
“Hey, as long as we’re at this light, let’s stop at [whatever] and buy something.”
Stop trying to manufacture interest in downtown Fargo. Other cities have successful downtown areas because they have stores at which people want to shop, not because they make it less convenient to get from point A to point B.
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