Smart Deer or Dumb People?

A few weeks ago, a woman from the Fargo-Moorhead area called into a radio station for the area and complained that Deer Crossing signs shouldn’t be on heavily populated roads due to not wanting deer to cross at these locations. She of course was operating under the assumption that deer indeed are guided through these areas with some assistance from the signs. Obviously she is wrong, but it is a comical video.

On the other hand, after doing some brief research I discovered that these signs are indeed pointless due to people disregarding the signs in the future if they don’t encounter deer in a particular area. This of course leading to them writing them off as a warning at all in the future.

What do you think about deer signs? Do we know enough about their species movements to designate a special warning sign and place them along roadways, or are they a waste of money?

Wonky Pavement Markings.

I frequently get to drive on a new section of US highway 12 just east of the Twin Cities near Wayzata and Long Lake. What somewhat boggles my mind is how they decided to put rumble strips down the middle of the road to prevent crossover accidents, but they decided to add their own custom pavement markings. Instead of the traditional single skip yellow line to let you know that it is okay to pass they have to parallel lines to tell you whether or not you can pass.

I hope I am correct in assuming that it is legal to pass in this area even though I should be one to know about this sort of thing. This area in combination with the solid single white stripes on I-394/I-94 Tunnel going into Minneapolis, I am starting to be convinced that either the people choosing what should be painted or the people actually painting the roadways are in favor of being inconsistent with other roads and what I would deem “regular” striping.

Is two yellow stripes running as pictured clear enough to let you know it’s okay to pass? Do you quickly understand nonstandard striping or do you assume you simply shouldn’t do something if it isn’t clear?

Cure for Distracted Driving?

Stick Shift.While on a road trip this weekend and noticing the large amount of distracted drivers whether texting, talking on their phones, eating or any number of things I came up with a solution. Instead of people essentially driving high speed giant golf carts (simplicity wise), how about adding a 3rd pedal and a stick shift to the modern American vehicle? Without having a free hand to operate a distraction people would nearly be forced to watch the road. If you think operating a manual vehicle is to complicated, I would argue you probably shouldn’t be allowed to drive a automobile in the first place.

Best Shortcuts in St. Paul – Shepard Road/Warner Road

Flood Preparation – MPR

Saving the best for last? Maybe.  Shepard Road/Warner Road starts at the end of the Mississippi River Blvd which isn’t included in this shortcut because unlike SRWR it isn’t 4 lanes and has significant bike traffic with a lower 30mph speed limit. SRWR runs along the river from MN 5 (Yes, the one that goes to the airport) along the river to I-35E continuing between the river and downtown St. Paul ending up connecting to US10/61/I-94 on the eastern portion of the city. There are many benefits to using this roadway as a shortcut:

 

  • Avoid taking West 7th/Ford Rd to downtown, missing numerous stoplights and significantly more traffic on a two lane road.
  • It is a great alternative to I-35E when it is closed or partially shut down for what seems more and more often for various forms of construction.
  • Even as an alternative to West 7th it offers many “drop off points” to still take advantage of arguably the best neighborhood in St. Paul at Otto, Randolph, and Chestnut (near downtown).
  • As an added benefit it is rather scenic running along the Mississippi River.

I have known about the Shepard Road/Warner Road connection for a while, but haven’t realized how useful it is till recently in getting me to the airport and avoiding driving the length of West 7th (at 30 mph) or needing to take I-35E south to I-494 adding several miles to a quick trip to the Mall of America. The one thing to watch out for is this road has been known to close for various runs, flooding, and other mysterious events so being aware of these things can make a big difference in planning it’s use.

I know there are many more windy roads and shortcuts through the Twin Cities, so if you frequently use one or it has bailed you out of being tied up make sure to share it with everyone else below.  The three I have covered seem to be the biggest standouts to me due to their higher speed limits, avoiding specific obstacles, and almost always being vacant of cars. If you have traveled any of these roads, did you have the same experience?

Best Shortcuts in St. Paul – Pierce Butler Route

Not only do St. Paul shortcuts save me a lot of time, they seem to have really cool names and mostly cool sounding acronyms this hold true whether you are using the AMR (Ayd Mill Road) South of I-94 or whether you are using PBR (Pierce Butler Route) to the North.


View Larger Map

The PBR starts at Minnehaha Avenue near Dale St. and winds along just south of the railroad tracks to the west until it runs into Transfer Road/Cleveland Avenue on the western end near the St. Paul Amtrack Depot. The benefits of taking this slick route are very similar to Ayd Mill Road in the previous post with a majority of the length being off grade compared with other major north-south routes which is very handy when trying to avoid State Fair traffic along Snelling Avenue. Unlike AMR there is almost no real reason to drive from one end of the Route to the other end due to it starting and ending basically at Minnehaha making the roadway more of a true shortcut and less of an alternative route.

PBR runs on the south side of the railroad tracks with Energy Park Way just to the north, which I argue isn’t a true shortcut through St. Paul due to the intersection conflicts and the relatively high amount of traffic it accrues. Even if you think PBR doesn’t seem complete with good enough access to provide any real benefits, with a much needed extension to the east will improve its popularity and use among locals.

Have you ever found yourself on Pierce Butler Route? Or seen the signs off of Snelling Avenue and wondered where it went to?