|Riverside Avenue in SE Minneapolis|
Road diets are pretty much my #1 easy-and-cheap change that cities can make right now, without jumping through any bureaucratic hoops, if only we can muster a little political will. I'd like to see road diets on almost every 4-lane arterial street in Minneapolis and St Paul. Why? It's absolutely good for the people who live and get around in our cities (with or without a car). Anytime you have a 4-lane configuration, that street serves as a dangerous almost un-crossable moat for people walking anywhere. (Unless there are tons of signalized intersections, in which case, why even have the 4-lanes in the first place?) Anytime you have a 4-lane configuration, it encourages dangerous lane changes particularly at intersections. Anytime you have a 4-lane configuration without a bike lane, you place bicyclists in the often terrifying position of having to 'take the lane' despite speeding traffic changing lanes. I'm as good a cyclist as you'll likely find round these parts, and just the other day I was almost run over by a speeding (and honking) pickup on the (2-block long) 4-lane segment of Marshall Avenue (ironically, right next to the 'Bikes May Take Full Lane' sign).
This is the #1 thing that cities and public works engineers can do today to improve safety and quality of life for the vast majority of citizens. We need to start prioritizing people who live and walk in our city's neighborhoods, instead of prioritizing people speeding through them.