On January 21st, a meeting about the addition of bike lanes and traffic calming on Franklin Ave SE was held at St. Frances Cabrini Church. We had previously notified the community about a proposal to add bike lanes to Franklin Ave SE. Looking at the project, there are some clear benefits to having a bike lane installed on this stretch of Franklin Ave SE when it is resurfaced in 2016. The project would stretch from the Franklin Bridge to Emerald St SE.
The bike lanes would provide an ideal connection from the far end of Minneapolis all the way across the bridge to the Phillips Neighborhood. Bike lanes are also planned on Franklin Ave in St. Paul, making the connection to the edge of Minneapolis. Bike lanes here would also provide opportunity of connection from St. Paul to the University of Minnesota. With the addition of bike lanes, it will slow down traffic, which the community has stated support for. Additionally there is a clear need for traffic calming since parking only reaches about 3% capacity during the week, making the road seem wider and conducive for higher speeds. The only exception to that is during church services on the weekend, as it reaches near capacity then.
The meeting was well attended, and about 30-40 community members were present and engaged in the discussion. Overall, the public had a supportive response to the project. Some people were there specifically for the bike lanes, others for the traffic calming, and the two were able to collaborate and vision both project benefits.
The proposed design would include removal of on-street parking, bike lanes in both directions, consistent 10’ travel lanes, and a modified design between I-94 and Thornton to accommodate the high-demand of parking in that area on the weekends.
The alternate design between Thornton St SE and I-94 would primarily accommodate church parking on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. An Eastbound bike lane would exist at all times, where the Westbound lane would be a shared park/bike lane and only allow parking at specific times of the week. Since this is not a typical solution, the area will be under surveillance for safety and operations.
Public Works will be finalizing the project up this month, and then it will go on to Council Member Cam Gordon for final approval.
The next public meeting is on March 8th at 6:30pm at Luxton Rec Center (112 Williams Ave SE). This meeting is about resurfacing and not design. However, the design will likely be final then if you are curious about seeing the final product.