I’m on a short trip to warm weather, and our crew rented bikes to get some extra independence and explore. I gotta say, while riding in a Minnesota February is possible, riding here in February reminded me of the joyousness of riding a bike.
Of course, I had to use it as an opportunity to explore what it feels like to bike in San Diego, too. We spent all day Sunday tooling from our hostel to La Jolla and back.
The take-away: If it’s a choice between San Diego infrastructure + San Diego February weather OR Minneapolis infrastructure + Minneapolis February, it’s a toss-up.
San Diego’s bike infrastructure appears to have begun much like Minneapolis’ – as park trails for pleasure riding, although here it’s all about going along the ocean rather than around lakes. That stuff is (generally) nice.
As they’ve filled in gaps to get bikes from where people are to the ocean (and elsewhere), they’ve co-opted the shoulders of free-way-like limited access roads to add bike lanes. That stuff feels downright hostile! (This from a woman who rides Hennepin Avenue through downtown OR Uptown during rush hour without a second thought.)
The seaside isn’t all perfect – it was signed poorly enough that we found ourselves stranded at the end of a point rather than progressing along the beach to our destination. There were no “dead end” signs or “to [destination]” signs.
However, we did find a herd of dozens of happy, well-fed cats on the rocks. And, being on vacation, that was pretty nice. (If I’d been heading to a doctor appointment, I might have felt otherwise.)
Heading north or south from the hostel to beaches, the only routes included those former-shoulders of limited-access highways. There was no protection from the cars. Cars went REALLY fast.
One direction of this bridge included a sidewalk that felt like it was about three feet wide. Two people could not have walked side by side.
It was unclear what to do at the freeway-style entrances and exits.
The lanes also began and ended without much warning, so at one point the shoulder lane turned into an off-street path (good idea!) but there were no signs that we saw, so we kept riding along the freeway until we saw someone riding the trail in the other direction. A couple examples.
I can’t quite make up my mind about the Midtown Greenway in February vs. these terrifying shoulder lanes in wonderfully sunny, dry, 70 degree days.
Minnesota 9 months a year, San Diego 3 months a year?
(Photo credits to fellow traveler/cyclist Ethan Cherin.)
The newly reconstituted Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) had its first meeting on Wednesday, February 2. Given that there were a number of new faces at the table (and that the City Council will officially approved the membership this month), the meeting focused on introductions and committee goals for the year rather than action items.
Of note, a few items were talked about as potential topics for the next meeting:
Bike Plan. Public Works staff will bring an updated version of the Bicycle Master Plan back to the BAC before it goes to the Council, which will be by the end of April. The BAC will have an specific opportunity to comment on the Bike Plan map.
Creating BAC subcommittees? Several members recognized the limitations of the BAC trying to offer advice on the multitude of things related to bicycling with only one meeting a month. There will be future discussion on whether to create BAC subcommittees to focus in more depth on things like technical project advice.
Communications. There was some interest in better sharing of information to the broader public, including posting meeting minutes (starting at the next meeting!), and having individual members reach out to their neighborhood organizations.
The next BAC meeting will be scheduled soon.
5th Street S.E. is a narrow street that connects Dinkytown with Central Ave. The road is has an southeastbound lane for all traffic and a contraflow bike only lane for northwestbound traffic. This is an important connector to the University of Minnesota for those who don’t feel comfortable on the 3-lane one-way traffic on 4th Street. The problem is that 5th is marked one-way, even though it is not. The concern is that cross traffic, seeing the one-way signs, will not look the “wrong” way to see bikers in the bike lane.
Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will be working with Minneapolis Public Works to get the one-way signs removed and proper restricted use signs installed.