Minnehaha Ave Reconstruction Delayed

Hennepin County has decided to delay the reconstruction of Minnehaha Avenue South until 2015. It was originally scheduled to start in 2014. This is likely to enable more meaningful public outreach and engagement on this once-in-50-year project.

The project website now lists the following schedule:

Community Meetings: July and September 2013

Additional Public Involvement: Ongoing

Minneapolis City Council Layout Consideration: October 2013

Final Design: October 2013 to Fall 2014

Construction: Spring 2015 to Fall 2016

These public meetings will give time for community priorities to come forward and for a better protected bikeway plan to emerge (the County's current cycletrack proposal has many problems that suggest bias). It also gives time to coordinate the reconstruction project better with the years of planning that have gone on in this area through Hennepin County's Minnehaha-Hiawatha Community Works Project.

As an aside, it's interesting to note the number of comments through the Community Works planning/community outreach project about neighborhood concerns about biking in the bike lanes on Minnehaha and the number of people who expressed interest in some sort of protected barrier. You can see a summary of those comments on pages 3-5 of this report. Some comments include:

  • On-street bike lanes are unsafe.

  • Bikers avoid Minnehaha bike lanes.

  • Intersection and mid-block left turns force cars behind them into bike lanes to pass, resulting in danger for bikes.

  • Cars don’t slow down when accessing angled streets (unsafe for bikers because cars fly across bike lane).

  • On Minnehaha cars use bike lanes as driving lanes and parking lanes.

  • Vehicles parking in bike lanes.

  • Maintain bike lanes in the winter.

  • Connect Minnehaha bike lanes north to the Greenway on Minnehaha. (This is done now)

  • Separate bike lanes from traffic lanes with a physical barrier.

  • Segregate bike trails offstreet (Midtown Greenway).

  • Raised bike lane 3” higher or so.

  • Left turn lanes for cars (so cars don’t use bike lane to pass left turning cars)

  • Move bike lane next to sidewalk

  • Design street barriers/damping to reduce cars on bike lanes

  • Reflectors on bike lanes

  • Make seasonal bike lane barrier

  • Physically separated bike lanes arepreferred, e.g. bike only streets

  • On-street bike lanes are dangerous – give illusion of safety without really giving safety

(I will note that research shows that painted bike lanes are safer than streets without bike lanes and they need to continue to play a role in creating connectivity. But it is interesting the perception that many people have about them, which is certainly why we continue to pursue a network of protected bike lanes.)

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