Two major cross-city arteries on the South Side will get one-way protected bike lanes this year under a plan that’s being recommended by city transportation planners.
Adding one-way lanes to E. 26th and 28th streets won out over an alternative that would have installed a two-way protected lane on 26th. They’re part of a street resurfacing planned this year.
The protected bike lanes will offer a seven-foot-wide biking lane plus a seven-foot space lined with flexible plastic posts buffering the lane from motor traffic. The two streets now have no dedicated bike space.
The proposal covers 32 blocks on the two streets lying between Portland and Cedar avenues. That stretch such includes major businesses as Wells Fargo and the Chicago Avenue medical complex. Additional planning will flesh out the design between Cedar and Hiawatha avenues.
The proposal stops at Portland in part because of a scheduled replacement of Interstate 35W bridges on the two streets. A draft city plan for protected bike lanes recommends continuing the protected lanes west to Hennepin Avenue by 2020.
The bike lanes will be accommodated by removing a lane or travel or by removing parking during peak travel periods.
The resurfacing project has already asked area residents in open houses what other changes they’d like to see on the two streets from the project The proposed design would add six medians at intersections – four on 28th and two on 26th – so that pedestrians have a refuge partway across.
Simon Blenski, a city bike planner, said the proposed design goes back to major institutions, neighborhoods and pedestrian and biking representatives for a final review. Some who attended earlier sessions with the city opposed removing parking or traffic lanes, but others advocated for making it reach major employers, schools and parks by bike.