Project: University Ave/4th St SE


Location: Between 10th St and Oak St


Pop-Up Bikeway at Open Streets 2015The City is leading the outreach, working with County. Simon Blenski is the lead at the City. A group of stakeholders has been formed that includes businesses in the corridor, UMN student groups, and staff at the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition.


Preliminary options



One-way protected bikeways on 4th

and University between Oak St and 10th

      • 1-way Protected BikewayProtected bikeways make people feel safer and more comfortable on the road, and UMN area has the highest bike traffic in the city
      • Could support businesses on 4th St with extra bike traffic
      • To add a protected bikeway, lanes would have to be narrowed a little, which would add traffic calming
      • This option would not alleviate wrong-way biking on University
      • Separation would be plastic posts for cost effectiveness


Two-way protected bikeways on

University between Oak St and 10th 

      • 2-way Protected BikewayThere are currently three lanes and a bike lane on University
      • Traffic calming on University, either by narrowing or removing lanes
      • We won’t know the full impacts of these two option until the parking study is released (late March 2017)


Two lanes

      • If the traffic study shows that there would be minimal back ups, two lanes of traffic would be an option
      • Wider protected bike lane
      • Full lane of parking added in some areas


Three lanes

      • If lanes are narrowed, three lanes could maybe be preserved
      • Protected bikeways make people feel safer and more comfortable on the road, and UMN area has the highest bike traffic in the city
      • People ride the wrong way on University right now, a two-way would alleviate that behavior
      • Narrow protected bikeway
      • Some parking removal in areas



In preparation for protected bikeways on University and possibly 4th St SE, between 10th St and Oak St., the city is leading the outreach and has convened a stakeholder group. The stakeholder group, comprised of business owners along the corridor, students & faculty at UMN, staff involved in transportation and planning on campus and community groups, were invited to share their experiences interacting with this corridor.

In general, the discussion has been about the possibility of a two-way protected bikeway on University, or a pair of one-way protected bikeways on University and 4th.

University Ave (1-way protected bikeway) media-20170621_(1).png

The formal University Ave/4th Se SE stakeholder group met this week to hear updates from City and County staff about the project and what the timeline looks like going forward. 20170404_163924_HDR.jpgDo you ride or walk in the corridor? We have ways for you to get involved, too!

Location: Between 10th St and Oak St


Pop-Up Bikeway at Open Streets 2015The City is leading the outreach, working with County. Simon Blenski is the lead at the City. A group of stakeholders has been formed that includes businesses in the corridor, UMN student groups, and staff at the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition.


The stakeholder group for the University Ave SE/4th St SE protected bike lanes plan met earlier this week and discussed where the project currently stands and what the next steps will be. The most recent update is the decision to move the current informal stakeholder group to become the main group for the City and County. We discussed who to invite to be part of this group and how the future work of the group would be formatted.



Curious about where this project stands? Although no physical progress has been made, the stakeholder group continues to meet and move the project forward. With snow now on the ground, we wait in anticipation for the completion of the City's traffic study to have a clear direction of our next steps. 

20160406_132327.jpgThe month of April began not with a bang, but with a very cold windy day. April 1 was the UMN Bikeways for Everyone Workgroup’s first of four tabling events. All through the month of April we have been holding tabling events around the U of M campus to raise awareness of the need for a protected bikeway along University Ave. Instead of just a regular petition, we decided to make this a photo campaign. We thought that having each person take a picture with the sign would make the campaign more personal – these are real people with real smiles, and real lives that deserve to be protected on the road.

To check out ALL the photos from the month long campaign- click here. To view the Storify on all the stops, click here!

University Ave Popup Bikeway
Pop-up Bikeway on University Avenue as part of
2015 Open Streets University of Minnesota.

University Avenue, one of the highest traffic roads adjacent to the University of Minnesota, is due for repaving in 2018, opening a limited time opportunity to incorporate an upgrade to the current one-way bike lane. The Minneapolis Protected Bikeway Master Plan identifies the section between 1st  Avenue NE to Oak Avenue as the potential location for a new one-way or two-way protected bike lane to serve these communities.

A few more tidbits from my interview with Steve Sanders, the University of Minnesota Bicycling Coordinator:

The University Transitway will be open in time for the State Fair. The western portion has been closed due to Central Corridor Light Rail construction.

Pleasant Avenue will be getting Bike Boxes at University Avenue and green bike lanes from Pillsbury to University Avenue this fall, pending federal approval of experimental treatments. They will also be installing traffic signals and bike boxes at Pillsbury.

The University, the City of Minneapolis, and MetroTransit are studying ways to improve the 15th Avenue corridor. Options being discussed include fresh paint, new signs, new kinds of traffic signals. We'll post when there's an update from this group.

The long awaited connection from Bridge 9 to the University Transitway may actually happen next year. The University has tried for years to negotiate a purchase or land-swap with the railroads to get enough right-of-way for this trail but the railroads have stonewalled. A city engineer suggested that, with some compromises, there might be enough room for a trail on land already owned by the City and the University. And there is. The trail will be smaller in spots than originally planned, and we'll have to share the trail with University vehicles in some places. Construction is expected to start in spring and be done by fall 2012.

The new University of Minnesota Bike Plan is in the final stages of the University approval process. We'll let you know when it's published.

Most campus streets have a 20mph speed limit. Parking and Transportation Services has put up a few new speed limit signs to make that limit more clear.

In August the University Police Department will receive special training on enforcement directed at people using the roads: bikers, pedestrians, and motorists. This will be part of a larger education effort on campus geared toward people taking responsibility for their own safety. Roll-out for the larger program starts in the fall.

Next year the University will build a satellite bike station on the St. Paul campus.

The League of American Bicyclists recently recognized the University as a "Bike Friendly University" and as a bike friendly employer, both at the Silver level.

I talked today with Steve Sanders, the University of Minnesota Bicycle Coordinator and learned a few things:

The new Bike Center is under construction in the Oak Street Ramp. The center, operated by the Hub Bike Coop, will feature secure parking, showers, bike maintenance, sales of commuter-related bike stuff, but (probably) no bikes for sale.  They are building a conference room for meetings and classes and expect to use it for League of American Bicyclists Rider Training and bike maintenance classes.  If all goes well, it should be open by the time school starts in the fall, with an official Grand Opening sometime after that.

The Dero Zap RFID system is expanding from the single test reader to a total of 17 readers on the East and West Banks and in St. Paul.  St. Paul has three now and will have a total of five.  A separate reader on the University Transitway will also count University riders.  The University Wellness program will be revamping their system for the fall and will be giving "points" for various healthy activities, including bicycle commuting.  These points will turn into discounts on health insurance premiums.

NiceRide is expanding:  In mid-August NiceRide will install three NiceRide kiosks on the St. Paul campus. They should be on the map soon.

A working group of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition called “Neighborhood Action Teams” is looking at bike projects in various areas in the city. I checked into what’s happening at the University of Minnesota and here’s what I found.

The big news is that the U is developing a Bicycle Master Plan. This plan will set policy as well as outline corridors for improvement. I hope to have a draft copy for review in a few weeks. Expectations are for the plan to be published this summer.

The other big news is that Washington Avenue will be closed at the end of the semester (mid May). Half of the upper deck will be closed at a time while construction is underway but each side has (or will have for the duration) bike lanes. I’m not clear how long the closure will last, but guess over a year.

The University of Minnesota Trail (from Bridge 9 to the U Transitway) may actually happen this year. negotiation with the railroad are ongoing but said to be going well. Once done there will be some utility work done in the corridor, then construction on the trail can start, perhaps midsummer.

Bike Center — construction bids are due in two weeks; construction should start early March and will probably be done late May. Here’s a link with a bit of info about the new center.

An RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system, which has been in test mode with a single unit for the past year, will be rolled out campus-wide starting in March. The thought is to provide benefits/incentivesfor bike commuting but what those might be is not yet clear. For this project bikers would attach a tag to their bikes and this tag would be recognized when the bike passed by one of the RFID units. The main purpose would be for bikers to qualify for some unstated future benefit. Two examples;

  • There is a 20/month federal benefit for folks who commute to work, if the employer feels like funding it. The U as not yet decided to fund it.

  • Health insurers at the U provide a $20/month benefit for employees who use a health club. Perhaps they will pay that to people who use “active transportation” to commute to work.

Another potential benefit would be for transportation researchers to study commuting behavior.

Bike lanes on the 10th Ave S.E. / 19th Ave S. corridor from Como to Cedar should be in place this summer.

Church Street is being considered for bike lanes but there are legal concerns because the Regents designated Church as a pedestrian mall and PTS (Parking and Transportation Services) are unsure if they are allowed to put lanes there.

Part of Pleasant will be made one-way to motor traffic with a contraflow bike lane. Pleasant is a relatively sleepy road now, but when Washington closes traffic will increase several times. There will be over 100 buses per hour at certain hours. There will be added a bike box on Pleasant northbound at University to help biker get across University Ave ahead of motor traffic, and potentially one southbound at Pillsbury.

We’ve found that MPIRG – the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group – has been working to improve cycling on campus. They are working with the Minnesota Student Association and the UMN Bicycle Coordinator. We will be talking with them to see about working together on campus. 

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