Penn Ave N Community Works Public Meeting 1/20/2014

In several years, Hennepin County will be reconstructing Penn Avenue North. In the next week or so, critical decisions about the design of the project are being finalized.

Penn Avenue North Community Works public meeting

Tuesday, January 20, at 6:00 p.m.

Christ English Church, 3210 Oliver Ave N, Minneapolis

The Penn Avenue Community Works project is a collaborative effort between Hennepin County Community Works, the city of Minneapolis and Metro Transit to improve livability through the redesign of the roadway and transit. The project area stretches from Interstate 394 to 49th Avenue North and includes 10 neighborhoods.

Four Options

Hennepin County Penn Avenue Community Works has presented the public with four roadway design concepts that they are using to solicit feedback from Northside neighborhoods, businesses, and residents.

"Option 2B" offers a quality project that would serve Northside residents and future Northside residents.

The four project design concepts are as follows:

Option 1A: Parking on both sides, no bike lanes, uses existing 58' right-of-way.

Option 1B: Parking on both sides, no bike lanes, uses full 66' right-of-way.

Option 2A: Parking on one side, dedicated bike lanes, uses existing 58' right-of-way.

Option 2B: Parking on one side, dedicated bike lanes, uses full 66' right-of-way.

The North Minneapolis Bicycle Advocacy Council, made up of Northside residents and advocates, and Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition support Option 2B of the current Hennepin County design proposals for Penn Avenue North in the long-term. With a full reconstruction, protected bike lanes could be added. Standard bike lanes and green space on both sides (similar to reconstructed Lowry) would be feasible, although would not serve residents as well as protected bike lanes.

Residents and community members recently collected roadway and right-of-way measurements along Penn Avenue North. Measurements can be viewed in this Google Sheet.

Inner sidewalk edge to inner sidewalk edge on Penn Avenue South at 1st Ave S was 57 feet, and curbface to curbface was 42 feet, 3 inches.

Penn Avenue North was surveyed from 3rd Ave N to 43rd Ave N. At its most narrow, at 43rd Ave N, Penn Ave N is 44 feet, 2 inches curbface to curbface (63 feet, 7 inches inner sidewalk edge to inner sidewalk edge). At its most wide, at 19th Ave N, Penn Ave N is 47 feet, 10 inches (61 feet, 1 inch inner sidewalk edge to inner sidewalk edge).

Bikeways and Alternating Parking Pilot Opportunity

In the short-term, we recommend Hennepin County's Option 2 design proposal, which would pilot buffered bike lanes on each side of Penn Avenue's roadway, and provide one side parking only (that can alternate to either side of the roadway) in one or more neighborhoods in consultation with respective neighborhood organizations, on a suitable section of Penn Avenue North, where there is support, or it's suitable until full reconstruction of Option 2B takes place. Removing parking on one side makes buffered bike lanes pretty easy: 8-foot parking lane, 5-foot bike lane with 2-foot buffer on each side, and two 11-foot traffic lanes.

Disparities in county infrastructure projects and inequality of transportation choices that discourage bike riding as one form of physical activity or mode of transportation are unacceptable.

North Minneapolis needs to look like the rest of Hennepin County and offer the safest bike lane designs available to our residents. We need to take advantage of the cost savings that we have before us today in our comprehensive Penn Avenue Community Works Project to construct the most modern "Complete Street" transportation facility that will serve all users, bike, pedestrian, bus and other motor vehicles on Penn Avenue in North Minneapolis for the next 60 to 70 years.

Support Option 2B at the upcoming Community Works meeting

We are advocating for the equitable distribution of bicycle infrastructure and bicycle-related resources that adequately and thoroughly serve the bicycle needs of Northside residents.

We envision a North Minneapolis that is healthier, safer, more economically thriving, and more socially cohesive as a result of greater bikeability in our neighborhoods contributing to improving the condition of our communities.

I am confident there is a way to design a project that will realize all of the very positive and essential health, equity, and safety improvements that bike lanes on Penn Avenue North would be expected to deliver to our community in the near and distant future.

The upcoming community meeting happening for the Penn Avenue Community Works project is a very important meeting to attend as it is leading up to a decision point. The project team is looking for feedback from community members on which roadway layout is recommended.

Please attend this community meeting to let Hennepin County staff and the consulting team know you support Option 2B for Penn Avenue North and would like to see a demonstration segment of buffered bike lanes and alternating parking in the short-term along the Penn corridor.

For more info on the project, please visit: 

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