Word on the Streets

Story of advocacy around the new 26th Ave bike lanes

26th Avenue Bike Lane (Photo credit: Alex Tsatsoulis)

This is a guest post from Joshua Houdek, a Longfellow resident and Sierra Club organizer who bikes all over. Thanks Joshua for helping get bike lanes on 26th! The Bicycle Coalition provided just a little support and advice as he showed that one person can make a difference! If you have a street you want to make a difference on, let us know and we'll do what we can to help.

Sometimes All it Takes is Just Picking up the Phone

What’s Wrong Here?

26th Avenue South in Seward/Longfellow was resurfaced last summer. The road is super smooth and nice new bike lanes were striped south of the Midtown Greenway down to Minnehaha. But bike lanes on 26th Avenue north of the Greenway, connecting it to Franklin Avenue, were mysteriously missing. I scratched my head, thinking: “what’s wrong here?” So I contacted the friendly folks at the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. They confirmed that 26th Avenue is on the Minneapolis Bicycle Plan Map to have on-street bicycle facilities, and Hennepin County has a Complete Streets Policy. There was no good explanation for the oversight.

“Quick” and Easy Fix

First, I found out who resurfaced the street by calling my city council member’s office. Who knew that 26th Avenue is actually County Road 48? So the County was my target. After a call and email to my county commissioner’s office, I was connected to the project engineer. Presto! Promises were made that it would get fixed this summer. Last week, it did. A shout-out to Hennepin County. Happy riding, Minneapolis bicyclists!

Moral of the Story: Be Aware, Take Action

Is there road construction on a street you ride (or would like to ride if it had better/safer bike facilities)? Is a street near you going to get resurfaced soon? Pick up the phone and drop an email. Sometimes it’s that easy. And remember, the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is here to help!

Notes from MBC Neighborhood Action Team Committee Meeting of 7-11

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition Neighborhood Action Team Committee met on July 11 to discuss neighborhood issues affecting the Minneapolis bicycling community.

We discussed how our organization could better coordinate with the city of Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee and the need to publicize BAC activities.

We discussed the need to significantly improve the current Hennepin County plan for bicycle lanes on and leading to the new Lowry Avenue Bridge. We have met and we are continuing to meet with key elected officials.

We discussed bicycle travel improvements scheduled for Central Avenue. We have met and we are continuing to meet with key elected officials.

We discussed organizing participants for the August 1 Northeast Minneapolis Bicycle Summit.

Finally, we discussed in-progress potential solutions for the 28th and Greenway crossing.

If you have neighborhood issues you would like our committee to address, please communicate them to us by responding to this blog.

Bill D

Bike Plan update and our comments

Minneapolis is close to having its first-ever Bicycle Master Plan! The City Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee will review a final draft of the plan on Tuesday, July 19 at 1pm in City Hall Room 317.

Thoughts on Current Draft

Overall, the plan is very good. Certainly, if the City and other involved stakeholders can implement it all, Minneapolis will take giant strides forward for bicycling over the 30-year plan timeline.

The challenge, of course, will be implementation. That's why we strongly agree with implementation recommendations made by the Bicycle Advisory Committee that are still under consideration by the Public Works staff and will not be included as part of the plan being considered by the City Council this month. These recommendations cover a range of topics--from having the City advocate for changes in state road standards to work better for biking to passing a meaningful City Complete Streets policy to zoning changes related to shower facilities--that can help get this bike plan implemented in as cost-effective way as possible. We hope that these steps will be passed as part of an implementation plan later this year.

The current bike plan map (on page 160 in this link) has improved enormously over the last 6 months, with staff agreeing to add dozens of smart bike lanes or boulevards proposed by the public and the Bicycle Advisory Committee.

You can read the comments we submitted to the City Council Members and Mayor Rybak earlier this week, which focus on a few additions we'd like to see made to the bike plan map.

And a little more history

The plan has improved a lot from the generally strong initial public draft that was reviewed at a series of public meetings last fall. The City received about 135 comments on the initial draft in addition to the more than 100 people that attended public meetings. (Thanks to all of those that came out or submitted comments!)

The City's Bicycle Advisory Committee--then still an ad-hoc group--reviewed the comments with staff and moved forward with significant positive updates to the content and organization of the plan, including more projects, completely reworked goals, strategies, and actions, new project criteria, and more. Many volunteers gave many hours helping staff on the plan, and hopefully we will soon have something that can lead to a better biking city for all of us.

We'll make sure to put up an update of next weeks Council committee meeting.

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