Two major cross-city arteries in south Minneapolis would get one-way protected bike lanes this year under a plan recommended by city transportation planners.
Adding one-way lanes to E. 26th and 28th streets won out over an alternative that would have involved installing a two-way protected lane on 26th. They’re part of a street resurfacing project planned this year.
The protected bike lanes will offer a 7-foot-wide biking lane plus a 7-foot-wide space lined with flexible plastic posts buffering the lane from motor traffic. The two streets now have no dedicated bike space.
The proposal covers 32 blocks on the two streets between Portland and Cedar avenues. That stretch includes major businesses such as the Chicago Avenue medical complex. Additional planning will flesh out the design between Cedar and Hiawatha avenues.
The proposal stops at Portland in part because of a scheduled replacement of the two streets’ bridges over Interstate 35W. A draft city plan for protected bike lanes recommends continuing the protected lanes west to Hennepin Avenue S. by 2020.
The bike lanes will be accommodated by removing a lane of travel or by removing parking during peak travel periods.
Area residents already have been asked in open houses related to the resurfacing project what other changes they’d like to see on the two streets. The proposed design would add six medians at intersections — four on 28th and two on 26th — so that pedestrians have a refuge partway across.
Simon Blenski, a city bike planner, said the proposed design goes back to major institutions as well as neighborhood, pedestrian and biking representatives for a final review.
Some who attended earlier sessions with the city opposed removing parking or traffic lanes, but others advocated for making it reach major employers, schools and parks by bike.