Word on the Streets

Eastside Bike Summit report

More than 50 people gathered at the Ritz Theater last night (August 1st) at the Eastside Bike Summit organized by Michael Rainville of the St. Anthony West neighborhood association. Topics included bike lanes on 18th Ave, Central Ave NE, along with Hennepin/1st and Main Street. Keep reading for updates on progress and need for advocacy, especially on Central Avenue.

Guest speakers at the event included Shaun Murphy (city of Minneapolis), Steve Clark (Bike Walk Twin Cities), Hennepin County engineers Jim Grube and Bob Byers, along with elected officials Councilmembers Kevin Reich (Ward 1) and Diane Hofstead (Ward 3) and State Representative Diane Loeffler (58A).

The agenda/discussion included the following updates:

1. Completion of the 18th Ave bikeway from Monroe to the Quarry and connecting with the Diagonal Trail.

  • Councilmember Reich is working with city staff on solutions behind the Quarry shopping center, which actually contains a bike trail that isn’t signed (but will be).

  • The lane striped on 18th Ave will remain a temporary solution. Councilmember Reich is working to get a reconstruction of 18th onto the city’s agenda as it gets more deteriorated.

  • Participants desire a safe connection to the Diagonal Trail across the complicated intersection east of the Quarry. Several said they would trade improvements on the rest of 18th just to get this intersection improved for cyclists.

2. Resurfacing of Central Avenue NE by Mn/DOT in 2012.

  • Shaun Murphy reported that the city completed a study last year that recommended changes on Central Avenue NE for cyclists. These included (from south to north in 4 segments): sharrows to 8th Ave, 4 narrowed traffic lanes plus bike lanes to 18th Ave, a 4-3 traffic lane conversion to 27th Ave, and sharrows to Columbia Heights (37th Ave).

  • The city and Mn/DOT are working on a design for resurfacing. Mn/DOT is taking the lead as this is a state trunk highway (65).

  • Participants commented that many intersections along Central have high bike-pedestrian crash incidences and that Central is a key thoroughfare for cyclists.

  • The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will be holding a meeting for people who want more information about the process on Central on Tuesday, August 9th, at the Northeast Library (2200 Central) from 6:15-7:45pm.

3. East Hennepin and 1st Ave (and related)

  • After a bike summit last year, Hennepin county and Minneapolis studied these two streets to find out whether bicycle facilities could be added without major lane changes. That study has been shelved, since Minneapolis is conducting an 18-month study on streetcars along the Central-Nicollet corridor, and bicycle facilities will be considered in that process.

  • Participants raised concerns about safety on these two streets. Speakers reported that business concerns include bicyclists riding on sidewalks and also loss of parking if any changes are made.

  • Participants asked that staff reconsider adding bicycle facilities on the Hennepin Avenue bridge as a short-term solution instead of waiting for the whole study to be finished, since there is plenty of room and many ride on the sidewalks because traffic moves so quickly. Jim Grube agreed that it would be possible to take another look and perhaps find a temporary solution.

  • On a related note, participants asked for the concrete barriers on the Plymouth Ave bridge be moved enough to allow cyclists to ride across the bridge.

4. Marshall Ave and Main St.

  • Bicycle lanes and sidewalks are currently being constructed on Main/Marshall. They will extend across 8th Ave.

  • Michael Rainville asked participants if they would support exploration of a trail along the railroad tracks from the Scherer Bros. lumber site.

  • Many supported this idea; concern was raised that we need both street routes and trail routes for cyclists. General agreement.

5. Update on new bicycle boulevards on 22nd St. and 5th Ave.

  • Construction has begun on these two bicycle boulevards for traffic calming, including diverters, traffic circles, and speed bumps.

  • Stop signs are in the process of being removed to allow for better cycling (part of the purpose of bicycle boulevards).

  • Landscaping, pavement symbols, and a signal system at 5th and Broadway will come later this year.

Now Hiring: Communications Intern

We are hiring a communications intern to help us improve and expand our outreach efforts. This is perfect for a web savvy student who is passionate about bicycling in Minneapolis. Please apply yourself or share with any who might be interested.

Job description after the break...

2011 Communications Intern Position Description

Title: Communications intern

Hours: Part-time: negotiable; roughly 10 hours per week

Start date: September 2011

Length of internship: Fall semester (four months) with potential to extend

Pay: Unpaid

Application deadline: Position open until filled

To apply: Send cover letter and resume to Lesley Schack, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition Board Member, at [email protected]. Work samples demonstrating skills and experience are encouraged (e.g. writing samples, links to blog posts or websites designed, etc.). Please no phone calls.


The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is seeking a part-time intern to help advance e-communications and outreach efforts. The intern will be responsible for helping to communicate the Coalition’s priorities to interested supporters and stakeholders by assisting with the following tasks and other duties as assigned:

1.) implementing the Coalition’s communications strategy and recommending improvements to communications and outreach efforts;

2.) enhancing and maintaining the Coalition’s website;

3.) coordinating and assembling the Coalition’s monthly e-newsletter;

4.) generating content for the Coalition’s Twitter feed and, as needed, Facebook page and blog;

5). identifying other forums through which to promote the Coalition’s work;

6.) helping to develop and send action alerts and appeals to supporters and stakeholders;

7.) tracking and analyzing the number of individuals who participate in the Coalition’s

e-communications; and

8.) tracking and sharing media coverage related to cycling in Minneapolis.

The ideal candidate will be web and social media savvy and detail-oriented; understand how best to maximize audience reach by using a variety tools; and have strong communications, interpersonal, writing, and design skills along with a passion for improving bicycling in Minneapolis.

Required Qualifications

Degree or enrollment in program in: communications, marketing, journalism, computer science, public policy, political science, city planning, or relevant field. Experience in creating and maintaining websites, including solid HTML skills; blogging; and using Facebook and Twitter.

Preferred Qualifications

Experience using Drupal and Word Press.

One year of internship or work experience in related field.

the Pedal Pub

Last week, for the first time, we tried a unique Minneapolis bicycling experience: the Pedal Pub.

Our friend Shaun Murphy invited us to his third annual pedal pub birthday celebration.  It was a blast, though it bears little resemblance to a regular bike ride.

For one thing, it's very slow - about the speed of a fast walk.  That seems due in part to the fact that only eight of the fifteen occupants can pedal at a time.  Five people loaf, one acts as a bartender, and there's a professional driver.  Between the nearly one-ton weight of the empty pedal pub and the weight of the loafers, moving at all takes real effort.  Having been on the 'Pedal Cloud,' a locally-made human powered vehicle built on the chassis of an old VW bus, I was surprised by how much slower the Pub was.

The atmosphere among riders is quite festive, and only partly due to alcohol.  There's something about bikes that's just fun, and brings people together.  It was fascinating to watch the effect that the Pub had on passersby - waves, smiles, friendly honks from passing drivers.

At the Birchwood (more on this bike-friendly business next week), we got out and hopped on Nice Ride bikes for a higher-speed spin around the block.

I should note that there isn't consensus out there that the Pedal Pub is a good thing.  Poking around the internet while writing this post, I came across a facebook page dedicated to folks who hate it.  And the waivers we signed and warnings we received before the ride testify to a history of bad behavior by Pedal Pub riders.  We were told that not only would the ride end, but Shaun would be charged an extra $200, if any of the following occurred: public urination, harassment or swearing at people not on the Pub, getting on or off of the Pub while it was moving, giving alcohol to anyone not on the Pub, flashing, etc.

But for all the potential pitfalls, I'm now a confirmed fan.  Last night, we happened to hear it pass by my mother's house just after dinner.  All of our faces lit up - it's the Pedal Pub!  There's something contagious about it, something that makes people smile.

I'm not sure whether people are aware of this, but Minneapolis had the first Pedal Pub in North America.  It makes sense, for a few reasons.  For one thing, we're fairly flat; it's hard to imagine how the vehicle could function in, say, San Francisco.  For another, we have a bike-friendly culture that we sometimes take for granted.

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