What is believed to be the busiest on-street route for bicycles in the state is now enhanced to improve safety at an intersection where a University of Minnesota student was hit on her bicycle and killed this spring.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and others Tuesday afternoon explained the changes along a two-block stretch of 15th Avenue SE. that connects the U's East Bank campus with Dinkytown.

The city estimates that this area averages 3,500 bike trips and roughly 12,000 car and truck trips a day.

The bike lanes are now marked green in the middle of intersections: a first for Minneapolis. The city said the goal is to make drivers turning at these corners more aware of bicycle traffic, and for bicyclists to better understand where to ride.

Also, countdown timers were installed at crossing points so pedestrians and bike traffic will have a better sense when lights will change.

Joining Rybak and Council Members Cam Gordon and Diane Hofstede at the corner of 15th and 4th Street SE. was Harry Hull, who lost his 25-year-old daughter when she was killed in a crash in April.

Audrey Hull, a University of Minnesota student, was struck and killed by a dump truck that had been cruising beside her on 15th before it turned right onto 4th, knocking her onto the crosswalk and crushing her chest.

Hull said that he and his family "are pleased that the city of Minneapolis has taken steps to improve the visibility of bicyclists on these very busy streets and reduce the chances that other students will be injured or killed."

Said Rybak: "Public safety is our top priority in Minneapolis, and that means becoming the number one bike-safety city in America. We're taking another step forward today by making it easier and safer to share the road at the busiest bike intersection in Minnesota."

Gordon, whose ward has 15th Avenue as a boundary, said, "The biggest safety concern involves vehicles, especially trucks, turning onto the cross streets from 15th Avenue. To turn, they need to cross bike lanes along the street. Four of the last six bicyclist fatalities in Minneapolis involved turning trucks."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482