Alert reader Sharon, unhappy when her out-of-town visitors became lost, has a question about a highway that is no longer where she thinks it is:

When you are traveling north on 35W [near the Convention Center], you see exit signs for downtown Minneapolis indicating that it is also the exit for Hwy. 65. Those of us who live northeast of downtown all know that Hwy. 65 continues out of downtown over the Third Avenue Bridge and is the same as Central Avenue through northeast Minneapolis.

However, once you take that exit, there are no signs downtown to indicate that if you want to follow Hwy. 65, you need to turn left on Washington and right on 3rd Avenue.

Hwy. 65 is actually no longer mentioned on the "downtown exits" signs, but Roadguy, like Sharon, was not aware that the road had been officially shortened. The state still considers the Third Avenue Bridge and points north to be Hwy. 65, but the downtown portion has been turned over to the city.

However, the freeway portion, which connects downtown to 35W, is still maintained by the state and has mile markers that say Hwy. 65. Those were left in place to help stranded motorists and emergency responders because it's tough to locate vehicles on a road with no name.

Lane games

Alert reader S. has a question about lanes:

I've been puzzled about just how many lanes Lyndale Avenue officially has beginning at about 31st Street and heading south. Because cars can park on both sides of the street, it ends up being big enough for about 1.5 lanes in each direction. Some people seem to treat it like it has two full lanes. ... There are no lines to give guidance, either.

Roadguy has been tempted to take a paintbrush to that stretch of Lyndale for quite some time. But county officials say the road was never striped because they didn't want to encourage people to drive in lanes that often have parked cars in them, or to drive side by side where there's a less-than-optimal amount of room.

Drivers have been doing those things anyway, but a solution is coming: Starting this summer and continuing through 2009, Lyndale will be rebuilt from 31st Street to 50th Street. The new medians, turn lanes and bumpouts should make it very clear where everyone should be.

Southwest Minneapolis drivers who are already feeling trapped by the Crosstown Commons project might want to rent a helicopter from June to November, when Lyndale will be closed to through traffic between 38th and 50th Streets.

Parking-ramp patience

We conclude today with a quick Minnetonka question from alert reader Shawn:

What is up with the unfinished look of the parking ramp at Hopkins Crossroad and 394? On the 394 side it has a very unfinished look compared to the other sides.

Bob Gibbons of Metro Transit has a logical answer: "The ramp is not yet complete." Work should resume this summer and be done by October.

Jim Foti can be reached at 612-673-4491 or at