Minneapolis is one of the best cities for pedestrians in America.
As it turns out, we're so concerned about the safety of the city's walkers, we'll build you a crosswalk even when you're not actually going anywhere.
This curious extension of urban planning was noticed Friday morning by Chis Steller, a freelance journalist/civic-minded pedesterian (and one-time recipient of our Best Tweeter title). As he strolled through northeast Minneapolis, just east of the Mississippi River, Steller came to an intersection that's familiar to lots of people.
Probably they pass by it without giving it much thought. Take a second look, though, and the intersection of Northeast Main Street and 1st Avenue is mind-bending.
See for yourself.
This is my favorite pedestrian crosswalk in Minneapolis pic.twitter.com/aTIaTY7QAA— Chris Steller (@chris_steller) September 23, 2016
Look closely. Wait for the happy-white-stick-figure guy, walk your way safely across the street and... to where? What the hell's even over there to walk to?
One minute you're bumbling along, minding your own business in a perfectly sensible urban environment. The next, you're the chicken that crossed the road.
As Steller puts it:
... because once you've crossed it, you literally can't go anywhere except back the way you came pic.twitter.com/Smr04VNhFd— Chris Steller (@chris_steller) September 23, 2016
Far be it from us to judge someone mindlessly crossing back and forth over the same intersection. It's your city. Your taxes are paying for that crosswalk sign. Use it! Go ahead, lean on the pole for support. Try talking to the little white stick figure guy.
It took him a little while to remember, but Steller eventually figured out he'd tweeted about the very same inexplicable intersection back in 2014. He says his noticing it back then generated some conversation, and maybe some wisecracks, but no official Minneapolis City Council action to fix this curiosity.
He's got his own idea for the area, which he illustrated with a further tweet.
Here's a possible solution: Add a sidewalk on one block of the river side of Main Street that doesn't have one now. pic.twitter.com/Zt4wQCGcir— Chris Steller (@chris_steller) September 23, 2016
It certainly makes more sense than what's there now. But maybe the city can use this mystery to its advantage. Invite tourists! Come to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where you can walk the world's only crosswalk to nowhere.
Previously, in Dear God, Minneapolis: