Word on the Streets

Bike Map Victory: Gaps Filled!

Four missing links in the Minneapolis bicycle network have been added to the City’s bike map thanks to efforts by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee.  The City Council’s Transportation and Public Works (T&PW) Committee voted today to add segments of Johnson St NE, Washington Avenue, Lyndale Avenue N and 38th Street to the bike map (details of the segments are below) after a proposal introduced by Council Member Robert Lilligren.  The map of existing and planned bicycle facilities is being updated as part of the city’s first Bike Master Plan

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition worked closely with the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) to identify gaps in earlier drafts of the bike map (the current draft is on page 160 in this link).  Dozens of gaps identified by the public, Bicycle Coalition volunteers and BAC members were already added to the current draft of the bike map.  This is a huge victory for the bicycling in Minneapolis and a testament to how well the new BAC is working.

What you can do:

  • Call and thank the Council Members who were there for today's T&PW Committee vote:  Sandy Colvin Roy (chair), Kevin Reich (vice-chair),  Betsy Hodges, Robert Lilligren, Elizabeth Glidden.  (CM John Quincy was not there but you can call him anyway!)

  • Call your Councilmember before Thursday to tell them you support the additions to the bike map at the full Council meeting.

You can find out which ward you live in and contact information for your City Councilmember here.

Bike Gap Details

Here is a description of the three gaps that were added to the map today, from a letter we sent to City Council Members:

Johnson Street Northeast, between East Hennepin Avenue and 18th Avenue Northeast.  Johnson is proposed to be a bikeway to the north of 18th Ave NE.  Between 18th and Hennepin, the Fillmore St bikeway is on the other side of Interstate 35W, with only one crossing at Broadway.  Johnson has relatively little traffic in this area (except near the Quarry intersection) and the current four-lane configuration is actually constrained to two lanes under a railroad bridge just south of Broadway. If a bikeway were also included in the 10th and 11th Avenue one-way pairs south of Hennepin, this would create a direct access route from most of Northeast to the University of Minnesota area.

Washington Avenue, west of 11th Avenue South.  Washington is proposed to have bicycle lanes between Seven Corners and 11th Ave S.  There are several options for adding bicycle lanes to the section west of 11th Ave S without diminishing automobile capacity.  Bicycle lanes on Washington could help change the character of this roadway to be friendlier and more human-scale, which in turn would help with the redevelopment of Downtown East.

Lyndale Avenue North, between Plymouth Avenue North and 41st Avenue North.  There is a north/south gap in the proposed bike map between the Emerson/Freemont facility and the 2nd Street North facility.  Interstate 94 divides 2nd from residents who live to the east of Emerson, and given the limited number and difficulty of crossings, there are few good alternatives.  Additionally, there are currently two Nice Ride stations within two blocks of Lyndale with another one planned in the next expansion round.  Some sections of this roadway south of Broadway may support a four-lane to three-lane conversion.  North of Broadway may be more difficult, but there are shared-lane solutions that could be put in place.

38th Street, west of Bloomington Avenue.  This roadway appears to be wide enough for bicycle lanes and would provide good access to local businesses.  A facility in this location would connect to the planned bikeway on 38th east of Bloomington Avenue.

One Missing Gap

Both the Bicycle Coalition and the BAC have also recommended adding a segment of Nicollet Avenue but that was not recommended at today’s Committee meeting.

Nicollet Avenue, from Grant Street to 40th Street.  Part of this roadway is being reconstructed soon.  It serves several important commercial areas, connects to the existing Nicollet Mall and the proposed bicycle lanes south of 40th Street.  Unlike the parallel facilities on Blaisdell and 1st Avenue, Nicollet connects to the Midtown Greenway , which means that a well-designed bike connection could serve as the key downtown access point for most of Southwest.

What's Next

The Committee action directs staff to present the type of bicycle facilities that could work on these streets at Thursday's full City Council meeting for consideration by the full Council.

Let's let 'em know We're Here!

Finally, finally, finally, a tool we've been trying to get online is available.

Many of you have seen our "I arrived by bicycle" cards.  When cyclists leave them behind at businesses, they let businesses know that some of their customers bike to destinations and to thank them for supporting cycling customers.  We used them at 48th and Chicago when we asked for bike parking, and handed them out at Open Streets.

I arrived by bicycle cards.

We produced a first version of the cards for the 2010 Bike Expo and hoped to post a printable form online then... but first the online card design couldn't be downloaded, then we were working on a logo, then we needed to redesign the cards, and it just plain took a long time for this to get all the pieces together.  TODAY is the day we're able to upload the printable .pdf.  This one looks a heck of a lot better than the original!

Please print them out and leave them behind!

A little info on "How to."  The .pdf is a two-page document, and it's intended to be printed front/back.  If your printer won't duplex (and really, who has a printer that will duplex???), print page 1, flip the paper, then print page 2.  If you managed to flip the paper and keep the top "up," the front and back will [ought to] match up so you can cut them out.  Repeat as often as you need.

Thanks to Emma Pachuta for the design work, both on the card and on creating the printable .pdf!

Bike lanes on Central Ave NE? Come to the Bike Summit August 1st!

Central Avenue NE will undergo curb to curb renovation in 2012, presenting a cost-effective opportunity to add bicycle lanes along this major north-south route.  The good news is that there is room for bike lanes, a completed planning study from the City of Minneapolis that demonstrates how and where they could be added, and plans for a public process in which advocates for safe and practical cycling can show support.  However, there is no commitment from MnDOT that bike lanes will be included, so this isn't a done deal.

On August 1st, the 2nd annual East Side Bike Summit will be held at the Ritz Theater near Broadway and University from 6-7pm. [Facebook event] Gather with others and learn more!

Background on Central Ave project:

  • Central Avenue is a state trunk highway (Hwy 65). It will undergo a "mill and overlay" (curb-to-curb renovation) in 2012 as part of regular maintenance by the MN Department of Transportation. Final plans are scheduled to be approved in 2011. [Click here to see Mn/DOT's info about the project.]

  • In anticipation of this project, and with an eye towards expanding bicycling facilities around Minneapolis, the city conducted a study of Central Avenue with funds from Bike Walk Twin Cities in 2010. [Click here to go to the study]

  • The study makes recommendations for bicycling facilities along Central Avenue. For various segments of the corridor, the recommendations include on-street markings ("sharrows"), "share the road" signs, and bicycle lanes. Changes to vehicle traffic include a conversion from 4 lanes to 3 lanes along some segments (from two lanes each direction to one lane each direction and a central turn lane for left hand turns - also known as a 4-3 conversion) and the removal of a handful of parking spaces.

  • Because this is a state road that runs through Minneapolis, staff from both the city and state are involved in creating plans for the public. To date, no official plans have been released.

  • In late June, two open houses were held to inform the public about the upcoming change, but no specific draft plans were presented.

What can supporters do?

  • Come to the Bike Summit to learn more about this and other projects (in NE and SE Mpls) and meet other supporters!

  • If you're the wonky type, read the official documents that have been produced so far.

  • To get more involved in these efforts with the Mpls Bicycle Coalition, email us at [email protected].

What's next?

  • At some point, which we expect will be fairly soon, the city and state will release official drafts for Central Avenue, along with a public participation process.

  • The Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee will review plans and make recommendations.

  • Eventually, the plans for Central Avenue will have to be approved by Mn/DOT, with input from the City of Minneapolis, before a contract can go out for the project construction in 2012.

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will be working to inform the public and our members about this process - we'd love your help to encourage bicycling and help everyone feel comfortable riding in NE Minneapolis.

Hope to see you on August 1st!

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