What' up at the BAC? Bike lanes

As a volunteer for the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, I hear a lot about the great value of the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee. Essentially, this a group of very smart, passionate individuals appointed by the City Council and Park Board who are very engaged in “grasstops” advocacy as advisers to the Mayor and City Council. Eager to learn more about what they’re working on, I dropped into yesterday’s monthly meeting. Here are a few highlights.

Central Avenue in NE Minneapolis. Hopefully this will be a prettier picture for bicyclists once summer rolls around. Source: City of Minneapolis

Bike Lanes on Central Avenue: As at the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, this continues to be a very hot discussion topic among the Bicycle Advisory Committee. In a nutshell, MNDOT will be repaving Central Avenue between 27th Avenue NE and the Central Avenue Bridge/Mississippi River this summer. While there seems to be agreement that bike lanes are feasible between 27th and Broadway Avenues (with the possible exception of one short stretch near 18th), negotiations continue over whether to add bike lanes from Broadway Avenue to the Central Avenue Bridge/Mississippi River. The Bicycle Advisory Committee passed a resolution supporting near-continuous bike lanes on Central Avenue, but also recognizes that this option would necessitate some removal of parking. If removing parking in a few blocks is not possible, the Bicycle Advisory Committee supports sharrows instead for these blocks with bike lanes on the rest of the stretch that will be repaved. More to come soon in an upcoming blog.

Intercity Trail: The Bicycle Advisory Committee also heard from a representative of Three Rivers Park District on a valuable connection to their regional trail system being planned for South Minneapolis and Bloomington. The link they are studying would span from Lake Nokomis to the Mall of America and include a crossing over Crosstown Boulevard, a new bridge over 494, and a trail running parallel to Cedar Avenue. This project is currently in the conceptual stage and Park District planners are paying particular attention to the design of the trail that would parallel Cedar Avenue and 58th Street. At this stage, they are considering an array of designs. The Bicycle Advisory Committee will review these designs and weigh in with a recommendation soon.

Police and Judiciary Meetings: Members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee recently met with members of the City’s Police Department and judges to discuss enforcement of traffic laws among bicyclists and motorists alike. As a result of this discussion, a top priority of one sergeant is to have a targeted enforcement campaign (including PR, education, and more) in a specific Minneapolis region that focuses on preventing car-bike crashes. On the judicial side, one point of discussion was the potential for a diversion program, which would involve removing or reducing the amount that a bicyclist is fined for a violation if the cyclist takes a class focused on safety.

Want to hear more about what your Bicycle Advisory Committee is doing? Drop into one of their monthly meetings. They are held the last Wednesday of each month, 4-6pm, in City Hall’s Room 333.

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