The Engineering / Equity / Evaluation Committee of the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) met on February 19th, 2013 from 4 to 6pm. The BAC is a committee that advises the Mayor, City Council, and Park Board on bicycling matters here in Minneapolis. The committee is composed of representatives from the 13 wards of Minneapolis, plus representatives from the City Council, Public Works, the Department of Transportation, and other city agencies.
1. Nicollet-Central Corridor
Anna Flintoft from the City of Minneapolis presented the results of a study that the City is conducting on the Nicollet-Central Corridor. The goal of this project is to study the transportation needs of this nine mile long corridor and to figure out options and recommendations to improve public transportation on this route (currently bus routes 10 and 18).
The City is exploring a number of exciting options, including sleek modern streetcars (which would be on rails), "enhanced" bus services (with a dedicated busway and timed traffic signals), and new bike lanes. The BAC analyzed the plans, paying particular attention to bicycle safety issues, and expressed concerns that bike wheels might get caught in streetcar tracks. The city is still in the exploratory phase of this project, but if all goes well we can expect these improvements to begin in the next few years.
2. Resilient Communities Project
Brendan Slotterback from the City of Minneapolis spoke about how the city has applied to the University of Minnesota's Resilient Communities Project for advice on planning out a network of cycletracks (protected bikeways). The Resilient Communities Project matches the needs of an organization or community with experts and graduate students at the U of M. If all goes well, experts at the U will help us plan a logical, systematic network of cycletracks that will connect the city and allow people of all ages and abilities to get where they need to go by bike. This would be even better than putting in one cycletrack at a time!
3. 36th Street South
The BAC heard an update from David Peterson on the plans for 36th Street, along Lakewood Cemetery. The city is planning to make this section of 36th Street safe and comfortable for all kinds of riders and pedestrians, especially those who may use it to connect with the Lake Calhoun bike trail. The potential plan includes a separated, two way cycletrack on the south side of the street, running from Lake Calhoun to Dupont Ave. The plan also includes a much needed pedestrian walkway on the south side of the street-- currently, passengers exiting eastbound buses step off the bus onto a tiny curb rather than a sidewalk and are in danger of being struck by passing cars.
4. City Repaving Update
The BAC looked at a list of city streets that are found on the Bicycle Master Plan that are scheduled to be repaved or seal coated in 2013 and discussed which streets should be prioritized for specific improvements to make them more bicycle friendly. In particular, the committee discussed the importance of creating bike paths that connect major bike trails, such as the potential North Minneapolis Greenway, to popular destinations, such as downtown Minneapolis.
There are lots of awesome projects in the works to improve transportation in Minneapolis!
BAC meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in attending, check the City of Minneapolis web site to find out about upcoming meetings.