Showing posts from October, 2015

Collins Road: Oy Veh

Collins Road NE, a.k.a. State Route 100, is the best example of a stroad in Cedar Rapids. Running five lanes east to west between I-380 and 1st Ave, it handles about 30,000 vehicles per day. A series of access drives link it to Lindale Mall and an impressive array of strip malls. Traffic in and out of the plazas requires the intersections be signalized, which makes it very difficult to make any time along the main road. I, for one, never drive Collins Road unless I absolutely must go to one of the stores there.

Cedar Rapids's policy response to this, predictably, has been to "solve" the traffic congestion problem by widening the road to six lanes. The latest stage, from Lindale Mall to Northland Avenue, roughly 1/3 of a mile, will according to the city cost $15.4 million, including the costs of property acquisition and removing the frontage road that connects the parking lots on the north side. But that's not all! Lindale Drive, which currently stops at the frontage…

One way or two? (II)

My recent blog post commending Cedar Rapids's conversion of one-way streets to two-way raised some eyebrows when I noted that not all cyclists agreed that the conversion improves cycling. It occurred to me that not all one-way streets in our fair land are the same, and that so the image that comes up in your mind when I say "one-way street" might not be the same as the one in mine.

This is Jackson Boulevard, an eastbound, two-lane, one-way in downtown Chicago. The average daily traffic count between Kennedy Expy and Michigan Av ranges from 10,100-14,300. Cycling on this street at almost any time of day is going to be fraught with fast- or at least suddenly-moving auto traffic. Creating some friction by converting to two-way would surely improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

This is 2nd Avenue SE, a three-lane one-way through the Wellington Heights neighborhood headed towards downtown. It is scheduled to be converted to two-way in the near future. The average daily count

Urban images in art: Gustave Caillebotte

This image of pedestrians on a Paris street is taken from one of the most beloved works of art ever, "Paris Street, Rainy Day" by Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894). As testimony to its place in the pantheon, quite the crowd turned out to see it on the final weekend of an exhibition of Caillebotte's work at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., "Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye."
It's not hard to imagine why Caillebotte's best-known work has such appeal: Even in the rain, Paris is Paris, and very few of us are currently in positions where we wouldn't rather be strolling in Paris. [Point of irrelevant information: I used to have an umbrella with this scene on it.] There are people, ordinary people like you and me, they look good, they're active, and the scene is very accessible. Like another mega-famous Impressionist work, George Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte," you feel like you could very comfor…