The Drive will keep you up to speed with the latest on Twin Cities commuting.

Volunteers sought for Minneapolis Bike Week

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 18, 2014 - 12:16 PM

The folks staging next month's Minneapolis Bike Week are seeking a few good men and women to help with giveaways, share knowledge about biking and to simply hang out and celebrate those who get around on two wheels.

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and the City of Minneapolis will sponsor events, classes and other activities May 4 to 11 to promote bicycling and encourage people who don't normally ride to try it. Specifically, volunteers are needed to staff the Mayday Parade and Festival bicycle corral at Powerhorn Park on May 4 and to work at "Commuter Pit Stops" that week.

At Commuter Pit Stops, volunteers will serve free breakfasts, pass out bike lights, offer free bike repair and offer support and encouragement to bicyclists.

"Minneapolis Bike Week is primarily driven by volunteer efforts," the coalition's website says. "All of our great events are staffed and largely organized by volunteers like you."

Other activities during the weeklong celebration of biking include group rides with Minneapolis City Council members, the American Indian Wellness Fair, classes to teach adults how to ride, and a Ride to Local Businesses Block Party on May 10.

The goal of the week is to showcase "the ease, simplicity and enjoyment of going places by bike," the coalition's website says.

Many people have already discovered that. A report out this week from the Alliance for Biking and Walking, a national nonprofit advocacy group, said Minneapolis ranks second in bike commuting.


 

Police kick off safety campaign along Metro Green Line

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 18, 2014 - 9:31 AM

Safety first, that is the message from Metro Transit and St. Paul police as training runs on the Metro Green Line ramp up.

On Thursday, officials from both agencies announced a coordinated campaign to promote safety along the 11-mile light-rail line that will run from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis. The line officially opens June 14.

The campaign aimed at motorists and pedestrians includes education and enforcement of traffic rules as testing ramps up. Specifically they will be focusing getting motorists to obey traffic and crossing signals and yield to pedestrians at intersections along the line. For pedestrians, the goal is to get them to properly use mid-block crossings.

In the near future, trains on training runs will be operating as frequently as every 10 minutes throughout the day, said John Siqveland, a Metro Transit spokesman.

“The beginning of light-rail service in St. Paul is now less than eight weeks away,” said St. Paul city council member Russ Stark. “This partnership raises safety awareness for our residents and visitors as we count down to opening day.”

Metro Transit says officers will conduct dedicated patrols in squads, on bicycles and on foot along University Avenue and in downtown St. Paul. The patrols will working mostly during peak travel times, but motorists and pedestrians can anticipate seeing officers at all times of day.

“Our focus will be safety education and engagement, but we will issue citations, if necessary, as we monitor motorist and pedestrian activity closely,” said St. Paul Police Western District Senior Commander Paul Iovino.

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Transit

9 a.m. update: Rush hour wrap up

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 18, 2014 - 9:03 AM

The Good Friday holiday meant a good Friday on the roads as light levels of traffic led to few crashes and a smooth commute.

The one incident that caused a minor hiccup was a rollover on westbound Hwy. 36 at Hamline Avenue. A motorist rolled off the ramp and ended up in a church parking lot. The action caused a mini traffic jam around 7:10 a.m. and tied up traffic for about 20 minutes.

At the current moment, a motorist is off on the right shoulder of northbound 35E at 7th Street in St. Paul. First Units are assisting the driver with a tire change.

On Hwy. 169, a stalled semitrailer truck is blocking the ramp to southbound lanes at 49th Avenue in New Hope.

That's it for today's traffic reports.  I'll be back Monday with more live reports. As always, submit your questions about Twin Cities traffic to drive@startribune.com and check out my Monday column for the answers.

8:40 a.m. update: Current travel times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 18, 2014 - 8:39 AM

It's road work that has westbound 94 down to a single lane near Hwy. 95, just inside the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.   Scoot over to the right two lanes.

Other road work spots include University Avenue between Hampden Avenue and Dale Street in St. Paul.  Various intersections will be down to a single lane as concrete repairs along the Green Line continue.

As drivers in Oak Park Heights already know, Hwy. 36 is a single lane in each direction between Washington Avenue and Hwy. 95 as work on the St. Croix Crossing bridge over the St. Croix River continues.

We have no major delays on the roads at this hour. Here are some current travel times:

North metro

Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to Hwy. 280: 10 minutes

Southbound 35E from County 96 to I-94: 9 minutes.

Eastbound Hwy. 10 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 12 minutes

Westbound 694 from 35E to Hwy. 252: 10 minutes. Eastbound is 10 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 8 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 8 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 9 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 to Crosstown: 13 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 13 minutes

South metro

Northbound 35W from County 42 to the Crosstown: 9 minutes.

Northbound Cedar Avenue from 35E to the Crosstown: 10 minutes

Northbound 35E from County 42 to downtown St. Paul: 18 minutes

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 8 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 11 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 6 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 5 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 7 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 7 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 8 minutes

Westbound 94 from 35E to the Lowry Hill Tunnel: 8 minutes.

Westbound Hwy. 36 from Edgerton Street to 35W: 6 minutes.

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