In the very near future, bicyclists will be able to use the new Stone Arch and Presidents' Bike Boulevard from downtown through northeast Minneapolis. It's one of five projects set to be completed this summer with funding from the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program administered by Bike Walk Twin Cities.
The others set to open in June or July include:
- Main Street bike and walk connections from the Northstar rail station in Fridley
- Charles Avenue bikeway from Aldine Street to Park Street in St. Paul
- The Southern Connector from E. 24th Street to E. 60th Street in Minneapolis
- Bluff Street extension of the Dinkytown Greenway, from the west bank of Bridge 9 to the Minneapolis Riverfront near Gold Medal Park in Minneapolis.
Running 3.6 miles, the new Stone Arch and Presidents' Bike Boulevard runs from the Stone Arch Bridge along 6th Avenue SE, across Hennepin Avenue, then along Pierce Street, Fillmore Street, Polk Street and Tyler Avenue. It ends at 37th Avenue NE.
Constructed at a cost of $452,930, the flat north-south route connects with other bikeways, including bike lanes on University Avenue, the 5th Street Bicycle Boulevard, the 22nd Avenue Bicycle Boulevard, St. Anthony Pkwy. and 4th and 5th Streets SE.
It's always safety first when riding, but the boulevard has amenities to help that cause, namely a median crossing at Polk Street and Lowry Avenue for easier crossing, stop-light detection for bicycles and an overhead flashing light and crosswalk at Hennepin Avenue.
The five routes coming on line this summer are among the last funded by the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program. But a few more are in the works, including bikeways on Griggs Street and Jefferson Street in St. Paul. Other projects still on the drawing board include extending bike lanes on Hennepin Avenue from 11th Street to Lyndale Avenue and a remake of the intersection of Osseo Road and Brooklyn Blvd. at 44th Avenue, said Hillary Reeves, of Transit for Livable Communities.
Between 2007 and 2013, the grant had led to a proliferation of bike lanes and boulevards and other amenities. Minneapolis was one of four cities to get federal funding, largely due to former Congressman James Oberstar, a longtime transportation advocate who died in May.
Photo credit: Transit for Livable Communities