The Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee- Engineering Subcommittee met last week to discuss a variety of projects to be implemented in the upcoming years. Much to the delight of the subcommittee, staff presented City and County Repaving Projects for 2013, getting a six month jump on identifying opportunities for bicycle lanes in these projects compared to last year. Additionally, the subcommittee passed three motions, one regarding 15th Ave. S and 4th St. S, another in support of the City’s pending Climate Action Plan, and a third recommending a north Minneapolis neighborhood greenway and a cycletrack fund as high priorities for the City’s capital long-range investments. Here are some brief highlights:
· City of Minneapolis Repaving:
o 42nd Ave. N, 22 blocks in total, will be pushed back until 2014.
o 26th St. E from west of Hiawatha Ave. to the I-35W bridge will also be pushed back until 2014.
o 32nd St. from W. River Pkwy. To 36th St will be done in 2013
o 54th St. E from Portland Ave. to W. Lake Nokomis Pkwy., a total of 12 blocks, will be done in 2013.
o 31st St. W. from Hennepin Ave. to Nicollet Ave., a total of 15 blocks, will be repaved in 2013.
· City of Minneapolis Seal Coating:
o Lyndale Ave. N. from W. Broadway to 41st Ave. N. is planned for 2013.
o Blaisdell Ave. from Franklin Ave. to 40th St. W. is planned for 2013.
o Briefly, the usage of seal coating was discussed as it pertains to bicycle safety. As some of you may know, seal-coating is where a layer of tar and a layer of chipped granite are laid down to add friction and a protective layer for car traffic. The chipped rocks are not great for cyclists, though the City is looking into using a finer chip size. Last year there was only $17,000 available for bicycle improvements (very small) in seal-coating projects, and a request for additional funding has been submitted.
· County Overlay Candidate Updates:
o Cedar Ave., a high traffic bike area with wide lanes, will see additional bike lanes spanning underneath the I-94 Bridge.
o Washington Ave. N/N. Mississippi Dr. from Webber Parkway to 22nd Ave. N. will likely be overlaid (multiple miles of bike infrastructure!).
o Franklin Ave. From 16th Ave. S. to 21st Ave. S, and from 28th Ave. S. to 30th Ave. S., will likely see improvements.
o Xerxes Ave. from the bridge over Trunk Highway 62 to the Minnehaha Creek Culvert is also up for overlay.
o 4th St. S.E. will have some sort of bicycle infrastructure over the I-35W Bridge.
· City of Minneapolis Climate Action Plan: The Engineering Subcommittee supports the Climate Action Plans specific bicycle related goals, including 30 miles of protected cycle-track by 2025, a mode-share goal of 15% by 2025, changes in parking to support bike efforts, support of Safe Streets and Safe Routes to School programs, and implementing bike parking in new developments.
· 15th Ave. S. and 4th St. S.: The City of Minneapolis will be totally reconstructing these roads, and will include biking facilities resembling those recently installed on Franklin Ave. to give continuity all the way to the Hiawatha. This will include a dedicated bike lane in each direction on both streets and major bump-outs from the sidewalks to accommodate pedestrians and slow traffic. New residential developments are planned in this area in the coming years, but the reconstruction should take place in 2014. See more with this link: http://mplsbike.org/blog/posts/smoothing-the-ride-around-riverside-plaza/
· Another note: the Capitol Improvement Projects, vetted by the Capitol Long-range Improvement Committee, will receive recommendations from the Bicycle Advisory Committee in the coming weeks, including provisions specifically addressing cycle-track funding and implementation. More to come in the future.