Yes, This IS The Dumbest Road in Rochester
It's already a pretty busy road, but the way it was redesigned allows this road to get my vote for one of the dumbest here in Minnesota's Med City.
I'm talking about that stretch of 41st Street Northwest, heading west from 31st Avenue, just west of Home Depot. That stretch USED to have two lanes in each direction, along with bike path on the south side of the street.
However, that stretch was reconfigured a year or so ago, and now features a lovely merge feature that combines BOTH westbound lanes into a single westbound lane. Of course, new bike lanes were created too.
Now, don't me wrong-- I'm a fellow biker. I love hitting the trails on my mountain bike each warm-weather season, so I'm not anti-bike. But this latest configuration seems a little odd-- because it only lasts for a little over three-quarters of a mile.
That's right. This brilliant road re-do lasts for less than a mile!
There are still four lanes of traffic between Marketplace Drive Northwest and the area just west of Mr. Carwash, when it merges into one lane. However, once you get just west of the Douglas Trail bridge, 41st then widens back out into four lanes-- five, actually, when you reach West Circle Drive.
What sense does that make?!? Westbound traffic has to merge into a single lane for a whole three-quarters of a mile?!? Who came up with that idea?!?
This Post-Bulletin article quotes now-retired former Public Works Director Richard Freese, who said the redesign brings 41st Street closer to the city's long-term goals of "...creating a multimodal transportation system that encourages walking, bicycling and transit use."
But does it REALLY do that on 41st Street-- especially when the new redesign is less than a mile long? And, when there was ALREADY a bike path along the south side of the road?
Seems like all it did was make things more dangerous, with cars trying to merge into a single lane, only to widen back out into two lanes again less than a mile down the road. Which seems kind of dumb if you ask me!