Hennepin County plans to rebuild Minnehaha Avenue between Lake Street and 46th Street in south Minneapolis, but it has not decided on how to accomodate bicyclists.
Two ideas are on the table: One is an on-road buffered bike lane similar to what exists along the busy corridor now. The other is to install a two-way cycle track which would physically separate bicyclists from vehicular traffic.
From 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and next Wednesday at Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church (4101 37th Avenue S), county officials will accept public input on project No. 974, which will include:
• Two 11-foot travel lanes
• Two 9-foot parking lanes (state aid variance required)
• Designated bicycle facility
• Reduced pedestrian crossing distances
• Dedicated left turn lanes on Minnehaha Avenue at 46th Street, 38th Street, 32nd Street, 31st Street, and Lake Street
• Dedicated southbound right turn lane on Minnehaha Avenue at 42nd Street
• Improved alignments of skewed intersections at 37th Avenue, 36th Avenue, 31st Avenue, 33rd Street, 32nd Street, and 27th Avenue
• Improved pedestrian facilities (ADA compliance - handicapped access)
• Utilities – storm sewer, watermain, sanitary sewer, gas, lighting
One of the issues expected to be hotly debated is whether to put in a cycle track. According to bike enthusiasts, studies have shown bicyclists feel safer riding on streets that have cycle tracks, which can boost ridership. This is the option the Minneapolis Bike Coalition is pushing for.
Hennepin County, in its preliminary plans, says installing a cycle track rather than buffered bike lanes would mean there would be 50 fewer parking stalls along Minnehaha Avenue. It also says building a cycle track would result in the loss of 50 additional trees and would require changes in snow removal and street sweeping operations.
The two public meetings are the first steps in coming to a final decision. The county will consider a final plan in October and construction would not begin until the spring of 2015.