A plan to reconstruct Minnehaha Avenue moved forward at City Hall with some new amenities for bicyclists, though not the protected bike lanes some had requested.
The $14 million plan would improve Minnehaha Avenue from Lake Street to 46th Street South. The changes include a new buffer between bike lanes and traffic, shorter pedestrian crossings and slightly narrower lanes for driving and parking.
Bicycling advocates had hoped for a protected bike lane seperated completely from traffic, known as a cycle track. But Hennepin County, the lead agency on the project, opted against it.
The city's transportation and public works committee signed off on the plan Tuesday morning. The city will pay $4 million for the project, while Hennepin County will kick in $9.8 million.
Council Member Gary Schiff highlighted the new, 1.5-foot buffer between the bike lanes and traffic. The width of the bike lane itself will remain the same.
'It is much better than any of the bike lanes we've seen before in South Minneapolis because of that buffer," Schiff said.
Committee Chair Sandy Colvin Roy said the project illustrating the increasing demands on engineers to build roads that accomodate different modes of transportation.
"We are challenging engineers now to create transportation corridors that are more complicated than, 'How do we move the most cars the fastest,' which was the prevailing goal for many years," Colvin Roy said.
Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2015 and finish in 2016.