There are possible new changes to the scope of the Penn Avenue Community Works Project that offer definite opportunities for improved bike facilities.
The County's proposed new plan is to improve the pedestrian environment by adding greenspace, trees, and winter snow storage on Penn Avenue North by widening the sidewalks and narrowing the curb lines--which will require a complete roadway reconstruction.
The Penn Avenue Community Works project is a collaborative effort between Hennepin County Community Works, the city of Minneapolis and Metro Transit to improve livability through the redesign of the roadway and transit. The project area stretches from Interstate 394 to 49th Avenue North and includes 10 neighborhoods.
Hennepin County Penn Avenue Community Works has presented the public with three roadway design concepts that they are using to solicit feedback from Northside neighborhoods, businesses, and residents.
"Concept C" offers a quality project that would serve Northside residents and future Northside residents.
The three project design concepts are as follows:
Buffered bike lanes on each side of the roadway, no on street parking. 38 foot wide roadway.
Parking on both sides of the roadway, no bike lanes. 38 foot wide roadway.
Bike lanes on each side of the roadway, one side parking (that can alternate to either side of the roadway). 43 foot wide roadway.
The North Minneapolis Bicycle Advocacy Council, made up of Northside residents and advocates, and Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition support Concept C of the current Hennepin County design proposals for Penn Avenue North. In addition, we would like a pilot of the 11/5/7 lane width concept along the Penn corridor where there is support or it's suitable until full reconstruction of Concept C takes place.
11-5-7 Pilot Opportunity
In order to build the community support for bike lanes on Penn Avenue North in the future reconstruction project--to demonstrate the slower speeds, increased safety for pedestrians and bike riders because of "calmed traffic" resulting in the increasing numbers of pedestrians and bike riders in North Minneapolis, we ask that a temporary demonstration project with 11 foot traffic lanes, 5 foot bike lanes and 7 foot parking lanes be constructed in one or more neighborhoods, in consultation with respective neighborhood organizations, on a suitable section of Penn Avenue North.
Temporary lane markings would be modified to coexist with BRT, resulting in shared bike and traffic lanes in front of all BRT stops.
It is going to be hard to remove one lane of parking, but for a quality project that would serve Northside residents and future Northside residents for at least the next 75 years, we have to take up the challenge before us.
Support Concept C at an Open House
The health, wellness and safety of our community is paramount because the incidences of obesity, complete lack of exercise, smoking, hypertension and diabetes in North Minneapolis is twice that of any other community in Hennepin County according to Hennepin County's own SHAPE survey.
I am confident there is a way to design a project that will realize all of the very positive and essential health, wellness, and safety improvements that bike lanes on Penn Avenue North in a project of this magnitude would be expected to deliver to our community in the near and distant future.
There are two upcoming open houses happening for the Penn Avenue Community Works project.
Thurs., Nov. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Harrison Recreation Center (Multipurpose Room), 503 Irving Ave N, Minneapolis
Wed., Nov. 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. at North Regional Library (Meeting Room), 1315 Lowry Avenue North, Minneapolis
Please attend one or both of these two open houses to let county staff and the consulting team know you support Concept C for Penn Avenue North and would like to see a pilot of the 11/5/7 lane width option along the Penn corridor.
For more info on the project, please visit: http://www.hennepin.us/residents/transportation/penn-avenue-community-works