A long stretch of 4th Street in downtown Minneapolis is going to look a lot different in a couple of years as the city reconstructs one of the primary entry points into downtown.

Most of the project has been set for months, but last week the Transportation and Public Works Committee passed the final design for the one-block segment next to City Hall. That block between 3rd and 4th avenues S. will have a slightly different configuration than the rest of the street, which will be rebuilt from 2nd Avenue N. to 4th Avenue S.

All that's left is for the City Council to sign off on the revised plan for the block between 3rd and 4th avenues, and there is a good bet that will happen at its April 13 meeting.

The construction time line isn't set in stone, but the target dates are for 2019 and 2020. Some utilities will have to be moved, and that could begin this summer or fall, said Nathan Koster, a transportation planner with the city's Public Works department.

Why the redo? Koster says it's all about maximizing the space and "accommodating everybody at a wider level."

Fourth Street now has three eastbound lanes that handle from 10,000 to 20,000 vehicles a day, plus transit buses. There is a single westbound lane for buses, with a bike lane sandwiched in between. The street sees heavy pedestrian traffic on sidewalks that are narrow in places.

In the new arrangement, 4th Street will have three eastbound traffic lanes 10 to 11 feet wide from 2nd Avenue N. to 3rd Avenue S. That will drop to two lanes between 3rd and 4th avenues S. On that block, instead of a third traffic lane, a pad will be added adjacent to City Hall for short-term parking and deliveries.

The westbound bus lane is being removed and replaced with a protected bike lane similar to the one installed last year on Washington Avenue. Bus routes 3, 7 and 14 will move to adjacent streets.

To improve pedestrian safety, sidewalks on both sides of the street will be widened to about 20 feet. Bump-outs will shrink street crossings from 67 feet to 43 feet west of Hennepin Avenue and from 56 feet to 35 feet east of Hennepin.

New ramps and signals compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, plus curbs and gutters, greenery and better lighting and signage will be added in a transformation that will give the street a whole new look.

As for why the project will stop at 4th Avenue S. and not continue east toward U.S. Bank Stadium, Koster said streets on that end are in good shape, having been rebuilt in the past few years.

However, the protected bike lane will run beyond 4th Avenue S. to near the stadium, he said.

Lyft testing subscriptions

You may have seen reports in March that the ride-hailing service Lyft had a monster fourth-quarter 2017, with its revenue up 168 percent compared with the same three-month period in 2016. In an attempt to keep the momentum going, the company is testing three levels of "All-Access" plans in cities across the country, including Minneapolis-St. Paul. The plan follows a subscription model, offering frequent users an upfront monthly price to get rides up to a certain number and/or fare.

"We're always testing new ways to provide passengers the most affordable and flexible transportation options," said spokeswoman Campbell Matthews.

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