Minneapolis officials have declared open the new bike lanes on 3rd Avenue S., creating a north-south two-way bike link through downtown. The new lanes run between S. 1st and 16th Streets.

The city is calling the 15-block addition a protected bike lane, although the lane isn't protected by plastic posts for four blocks and only partly protected on three others.

The number of posts varies per block, but there are fewer than on other protected bike lanes — something a city spokesman said will be rectified after the street is sealcoated next summer.

Posts are considered important by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, which believes that a network of protected bike lanes encourages more bikers to ride.

City staffers originally recommended that lanes in the south half of the project be protected by substantial planters. But the City Council nixed that in favor of flexible posts after the managers of major buildings lobbied to retain four lanes for most of 3rd Street.

Mayor Betsy Hodges said the city is working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to extend bike lanes across the 3rd Avenue Bridge to University Avenue in 2017.



Blue-green algae in Riley Lake sicken dog

Harmful blue-green algae has been confirmed in Riley Lake, after a dog that swam in the lake became ill.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health analyzed water samples from the west side of the lake on Sept. 7 and confirmed the harmful bloom.

Not all blue-green algae is harmful, and the bacteria is present in low levels in many water bodies. But when pea soup-colored blooms form, they can be toxic and give off a strong, swampy odor.

Last summer, lakes across Minnesota reported blue-green algae blooms. The state investigated two people who fell ill and the deaths of several dogs from the algae.

Health Department officials warn residents to stay out of the lake if in doubt over whether the water is safe. For more tips, go to health.state.mn.us.



Ridgedale library in line for major renovation

The Ridgedale branch of the Hennepin County Library is slated to get a $21.4 million renovation.

The library, built in 1981 and updated in 1999, is scheduled to get new furnishings, technology and energy features.

If approved by the Hennepin County Board this week, construction work could begin in 2017. The library would be closed for up to a year until the project is complete.

The project is one of several makeovers to west metro libraries in recent years. Hennepin County's goal is to update each of its 41 libraries at least once every 10 years.



West Arena rink reopens after renovation

The West Arena skating rink at the St. Louis Park Rec Center is back in operation after extensive renovations over the summer.

A new ammonia-refrigeration system replaced the old R-22 system, and new dasher boards and LED lights were added. The dehumidification system also was upgraded.

The east rink is now being renovated and is scheduled to be running by Halloween.



Free fix-it clinics to be offered this fall

Hennepin County will host free fix-it clinics this fall to help residents learn how to repair broken items.

At the clinics, volunteers help residents disassemble, troubleshoot and repair small household appliances, clothing, electronics, mobile devices and other items.

The next clinic will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 8 at the St. Louis Park Rec Center, 3700 Monterey Dr., St. Louis Park; Nov. 12 at Wayzata City Hall, 600 Rice St. E., Wayzata; and Dec. 11 at Grace Center for Community Life, 1500 NE. 6th St., Minneapolis. For more information or to volunteer, contact nancy.lo@hennepin.us or call 612-348-9195.



Residents urged to know polling place

Savage officials are reminding city residents to check their polling places before heading out to vote Nov. 8, as the city has added a new precinct and some polling places.

To find out where to vote, visit mnvotes.org or download the Savage precinct map at http://bit.ly/2cTGaXn.

Residents may register before Oct. 18 at the Scott County Government Center, 200 4th Av. W., Shakopee, or at mnvotes.org.

Erin Adler