The Hennepin County Bicycle Advisory Committee quietly changed its name in June, and the move has significance.
For more than 30 years, the committee composed of 14 representatives from each of the county's districts solely focused its efforts on improving facilities for bicycling and promoting biking as a form of transportation and recreation.
But times have changed. As new modes of nonautomotive transportation have arisen — electric scooters, for example — the committee has rebranded itself as the Active Transportation Committee.
The idea is to advance the needs for those who walk or roll in addition to those who bike, said Tammy McLemore, who co-chairs the committee.
"We wanted the name to include and to be reflective of people being active," she said. "We want to recognize people who walk or roll and give them recognition and support them."
The committee advises Hennepin County commissioners and staff, and other city and agency staff, on plans, policies and projects. The committee collaborates with stakeholders and presents feedback on matters relating to people biking, walking and rolling.
The committee recently weighed in on the Minneapolis Upper Harbor Terminal project, which seeks to create a 19-acre North Side riverfront park, build a performing arts center and establish a community health and wellness hub along the Mississippi River roughly between N. Lowry and Dowling avenues.
"We want to make sure county roads are inclusive to biking, and now to rolling, including wheelchairs, as well as walking," McLemore said.
In July, the committee gave input on plans to remake University Avenue and 4th Street between I-35W and Oak Street near the University of Minnesota. With the goal of improving bicycle and transit facilities, the committee identified the need for separated bike lanes on both streets, McLemore said.
"A lot of roads are aging, and when you repair or replace them only every few decades, you are making improvements, you want to get it right," McLemore said. That's the reason the committee is important, she added.
The committee now is accepting applications to fill vacant seats in District 5 covering Eden Prairie, Bloomington and Richfield and District 3 covering south Minneapolis and St. Louis Park.
Lane drop on Interstate 394
The Minnesota Department of Transportation returned westbound I-394 to its original configuration over the weekend, and drivers will notice the drop from four lanes to three.
MnDOT had added a fourth westbound lane between downtown Minneapolis and Hwy. 100 to help with traffic flow over the past four years when the ramp from eastbound I-94 to southbound I-35W was closed during construction. Thousands of motorists were detoured along westbound I-394.
The right shoulder was converted to a traffic lane, but the move was meant to be temporary, said spokesman David Aeikens. The asphalt pavement of the shoulder would not hold up over time, he said.
"It's much thinner than the highway," Aeikens said.
MnDOT would have to conduct an environmental review to make the lane permanent, Aeikens said.
"We apologize to those who have become accustomed to the four-lane configuration," he said.
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