2015 will bring improvements to the Hennepin-Lyndale commons area in front of the Walker Arts Center. The City Council's Transportation and Public Works unanimously approved the proposed layout for the project on Sept. 9. It reflects a very significant improvement from the initial draft layout presented to the public back in March. You can see picture of the before and after below.
For bicycling, the biggest improvements will be:
- separated space for people walking and biking on the Loring Bikeway and likely a green buffer between the street and the bikeway.
- intersection safety improvements along the Loring Bikeway.
- a continuous bike lane on Oak Grove/Vineland extending through the Hennepin-Lyndale.
- a buffered bike lane on Hennepin from Oak Grove to downtown.
- reduced wait along the Loring Bikeway at the stop light for the I-94 exit.
(More details on these improvement and one additional priority we hope to achieve in the next stage of design are available here.)
In addition to improvements to people biking, this project will also have improvements for people walking, new green space, and be safer and saner for drivers too. For people walking it will add a separate sidewalk from the Loring Bikeway, add a new crosswalk at the Groveland intersection, reduce crossing distances, make corners so drivers slow down a little more, and add new green space buffers between the street.
While taking space from traffic lanes, the City's traffic engineer said the project will have "basically no" impact on traffic because of other improvements for driving. The final design removes a northbound traffic lane to create more space and removes a southbound lane in some places. But the project also makes it so the wait at the Groveland intersection because of changes there and will reduce weaving (which causes crashes and traffic) by better signing where people should be driving to go in different directions.
A lot of people helped make this project go from a bad first draft to a good step forward. We'd like to thank:
- Council Members Lisa Goodman and Lisa Bender, who represent the project area and pushed for improvements based on community input.
- The Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association and Citizens for a Loring Park Community, who have led an great community task force of local stakeholders. Craig Wilson and John Van Heel deserve lots of credit for volunteering tons of time to co-lead the group. And the task force partners, including Walker, St. Mark's Cathedral, Downtown Council and others who helped out.
- City staff and consultants who never got defensive when there was criticism of the initial draft and instead worked very meaningfully with stakeholders to make improvements.
- Everyone who attended a public meeting and emailed elected officials or staff. These improvements wouldn't be possible without your participation. Thank you!
The Initial Draft Plan
Final Plan (purple is new space for greening, walking, and biking)