At the most recent Bicycle Advisory Committee- Engineering Subcommittee meeting, representatives from the Three Rivers Park District were present to discuss design aspects of the Intercity Regional Trail. Stemming from Bloomington, the 7-mile trail will go through Richfield and Minneapolis. The BAC-Engineering Subcommittee was largely impressed with the trail’s Master Plan, only with a few small changes. Bikers can expect to see a shared-use trail stemming from Fat Lorenzo’s heading south, with some variations in configurations. Here are the specifics, as well as project updates on other fronts:
Intercity Regional Trail: From Fat Lorenzo’s to the north end of the Church parking lot there will be 10’ shared use trail with a 5’7” wide buffer between the cars and trail users. From 58th Street heading south there will be a 10’-12’ wide shared use trail with a 5’7” wide buffer between cars and trail users. The BAC recommended paring back the road width by 2’ in order to maintain a safe buffer and to accommodate a 12’ wide trail.
Central Avenue: This project will include a mix of bike lanes and sharrows as part of a MnDOT mill & overlay. The recent update from MnDOT was that the extent of the bike lane has been increased. The new section with bike lanes will span from 2nd street SE to University Ave, and head in the south bound direction. There is no proposal from MnDOT for a bike lane heading north in that section, as there is parking on the north bound side of the street. On another note, MnDOT is going to use the Central Avenue project as a pilot for other projects, and will continually evaluate various aspects of the facility over time.
Washington Avenue: Hennepin County is working on redeveloping Washington Ave from downtown to 35W. Tasked with accommodating many, many stakeholders, officials were eager to get input from the BAC. This stretch includes heavy bus traffic, a historic district, and a high level of pedestrian interest. That in mind, the BAC recommended searching for a way to create a separate facility, that is one with a buffer zone between traffic, bikers, and walkers. Hennepin County will consider their options and report back later in the year. This project will be awarded next year, and start construction in 2014.
A good sign of things to come was a larger discussion on how the BAC and Hennepin County officials can maintain a collaborative and effective dialogue. We were able to discuss projects from this summer into the next 5 years. How’s that for preparation?