Bicyclists and motorists may need to be more separated in order to share the road better.

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition said it would deliver more than 500 letters from downtown Minneapolis users and residents Wednesday to officials requesting that the city and Hennepin County add protected bike lanes on Washington Avenue.

Photo of Chicago protected bike lane. Photo from Steven Can Plan

Photo of Chicago protected bike lane. Photo from Steven Can Plan

A protected bicycle lane, or cycletrack, is a bike lane that is physically separated from both pedestrian and car traffic with the help of curbs, planters, trees, plastic bollards or a combination of buffers. Protected bike lanes already exist throughout Europe as well as in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Portland, and other U.S. cities.  

The county already plans to reconstruct five blocks of Washington Avenue within the next two years. 

According to a Tuesday release by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, "This presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build protected bike lanes on Washington with a blank slate and for little additional cost."

The coalition plans to present the hundreds of letters to downtown City Council Member Lisa Goodman at a morning meeting on Wednesday. Copies of the letters also will be sent to to Mayor R.T. Rybak and Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin. Read some excerpts of letters below to see why people are requesting the protected lanes.

“A protected bike lane would help keep bikers like myself safe and help Minneapolis stay in the top spot as #1 bike city.” – Blake, 55410.

“I am . . . FREQUENTLY asked to take people to establishments on Washington Avenue and it is very nerve-wracking w/o a bike lane!” – Pedicab driver

“I work in the emergency room downtown and frequently see victims of bicycle accidents which may have been prevented by having clearly marked and separated bicycle lanes.” – Lindsey, 55414, downtown resident and employee.