Nicollet Avenue will be reconstructed next year between Lake Street and 40th Street South. While the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition chose not to take a position on the design details of Nicollet (we previously were unsuccessful in getting Nicollet included in the bike plan, so there wasn't an opportunity for bike lanes), I wanted to share an update for those interested.
Yesterday, the City Council Transportation and Public Works Committee voted to approve a design for Nicollet between Lake and 40th Street South that is generally 44-feet wide with no bumpouts or bike lanes. That will be arranged as two 11-foot wide driving lanes and two 11-foot wide parking lanes. There will be areas for right-turning vehicles at each intersection and left-turn lanes at 36th Street.
Earlier designs had a 42-feet wide street with bumpouts. It sounds like the design for the street was widened and the bumpouts removed because of concern from local businesses over narrower streets being less safe (the opposite is typically true for streets like Nicollet) and because of concerns around snow removal. The 11-foot parking lanes are super wide! No bumpouts and the wider road will likely lead to higher traffic speeds and certainly will not be as inviting for pedestrians. It is worth noting that the road will be significantly narrowed over what is there today and a grass boulevard (hopefully with trees) will be added between the street and the sidewalk.
For bicyclists it is more a mixed bag in my opinion. The 44' width does allow for the potential for future bike lanes if/when the City joins the ranks of places that allow for designs that have 10-foot driving lanes, 5-foot bike lanes, and 7-foot parking lanes. Until then, the wide parking lane provides more space for cyclists that don't want to "take a lane," but cyclists will likely have to compete with faster traffic that will think that you should be riding in the parking lane.
What's your take? Are you disappointed (or happy) about the step away from bumpouts? Happy to have an extra foot to ride next to the park cars or disappointed that there is less boulevard space? Just happy to have a smooth surface coming? Or content riding on nearby 1st or Blaisdell?
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