Bike Corrals and Bottlenecks at the BAC

The Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) met on July 23rd in City Hall. The BAC is made up of appointees from various departments and agencies, and all thirteen city wards. Its members serve two-year terms, and a fresh batch began serving in June. Your humble reporter got married at the end of June and missed last month's meeting, so this was the first time he saw the mix of old and new faces.

The first order of business was electing officers for the committee. The BAC unanimously elected Nick Mason ( as chair, Paul Frenz as vice chair, and Janice Gepner as secretary.

City bike planner Simon Blenski reported on a bike corral program that City Council is considering. The program would set aside $50,000 for a cost-share program. A ten-bike corral, which takes up the space of 1 (one) car, would cost $1,800 up front and $225 per year afterward. The costs for a 22-bike corral would be $2,900 and $325, respectively. These costs would be split 50-50 between the business and the city. The city would maintain the corral, and store it during the winter months (from November to April). (In comparison, the construction cost of surface parking for cars is about $5,000 per space.) The BAC formally praised the bike corral program.

In southwest Minneapolis, the city is looking to make a bike boulevard out of Upton Avenue between 50th Street and 62nd Street. The BAC encouraged the city to follow National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) guidelines for bike boulevards and refrain from placing more stop signs along the bike boulevard. In case you’re unclear on what a bike boulevard is (as I am), Here are NACTO’s recommended treatments for bike boulevards:

Route Planning: Direct access to destinations

  1. Signs and Pavement Markings: Easy to find and to follow (Pavement markings are “often a starting point” for a bike boulevard designation. But pavement markings do not a bicycle boulevard make.)

  2. Speed Management: Slow motor vehicle speeds

  3. Volume Management: Low or reduced motor vehicle volumes

  4. Minor Street Crossings: Minimal bicyclist delay

  5. Major Street Crossings: Safe and convenient crossings

  6. Offset Crossings: Clear and safe navigation

  7. Green Infrastructure: Enhancing environments

City Council Member Palmisano hopes to gradually install traffic calming measures like traffic circles over the next couple years.

The City of Minneapolis is reconstructing parts of Hennepin and Lyndale avenues (unaffectionately known as the Hennepin/Lyndale bottleneck) between Franklin Avenue and Dunwoody Boulevard. This stretch of road goes past a world-class art museum, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant, three historic churches, and the largest park in Central Minneapolis. The BAC continues to support the improvements outlined in the May 28, 2014 resolution regarding the Hennepin-Lyndale project, especially the addition of a protected bikeway on the west side of the street between Dunwoody and Vineland.

To support good bike infrastructure along this critical corridor, come to the public meeting on Monday, August 4th at the Walker Art Center. It will be an open house in the Skyline Room from 6:30 to 8pm.

The committee also briefly discussed the 26th Avenue North improvement project. You can view the PDF document here.

If you’d like to attend a Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, just show up on the 4th Wednesday of each month, 4:00 to 6:00, in Room 333 in Minneapolis City Hall. Send an email to Simon Blenski and he’ll send you an agenda beforehand. 

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