Starting February 4, there is an upcoming series of meetings to discuss the future of E 38th St, an important corridor crossing South Minneapolis. While the meetings will focus the cultural history and development opportunities between Nicollet Ave and Chicago Ave, they will a great opportunity to start a conversation on how the street works for bikes.
A diverse selection of retail and restaurants dot the entire corridor.
38th St is home to many bikeable destinations such as the thriving node at Nicollet, Northbound Brewpub, Bancroft School, longtime classics like Everett’s and Marla’s, and the future Seward Co-op location.
Currently, the nearest bike friendly facility is the (hilly) Riverlake Greenway, on 40th St E, which lacks direct access and visibility to local destinations. North of 38th St, the closest designated bikeway is the Midtown Greenway, almost ten blocks away.
Awkward and excessively wide, which means plenty of room work with!
Currently on 38th St, with its excessive width and low parking demand, it’s very unclear where cyclists should be positioning themselves on the roadway.
For most cyclists, it feels intuitively comfortable to ride a few feet from the curb. This, however, leads to unsafe weaving every few blocks or so, when there are a few cars parked on the street.
Additionally, the public sphere of 38th St lacks beauty. There are no street trees, boulevards, or pedestrian scale lighting. The sidewalks and roadway show their age and appear to be near the end of their life cycle.
Decades old, the city could really give this street some love.
Options for Change
38th St is a bustling corridor rich with history, and it’s also quickly changing.
As longtime businesses continue to thrive, new ones are joining them at an exciting pace.
It’s time that the public right of way catches up with everything else happening on this street.
A planter protected 2-way bikeway could fit within the current scenario.
At 44’, the street could handle a 7-5-10 configuration of parking, bike lanes, and traffic lanes, but perhaps even better would be to remove parking on one side of the street for something more substantial, from buffered bike lanes to a planter separated bikeway.
There are no official near term plans of reconstruction, repaving, or even restriping, but the upcoming meetings should be a great venue to get jumpstart on conversations that will hopefully lead to positive change.