Death Cycle II - Lyndale and Franklin

Well, more folks are out again on their bicycles. That's good. But the city infrastructure continues to blow in places. One such trouble spot remains Lyndale and Franklin Avenues. The cars are all in a rush to jump on to 94, you can tell by all the "fucks" they scream at you from their windows.

Before going on, let's make it a point this ain't a bike versus car debate. That's old, and doesn't do much to improve anything. This is just a bikes versus crappy city design debate. And such a debate and problems can get fixed, right Donny F?

This intersection continues to be a danger point to cyclists. It deals with the bicycle lane that runs across the street from the Walker spitting southbound riders into oncoming traffic. Or the lack of adequate planning to bridge the gap in infrastructure. Or it may be that the majority of stimulus money getting sucked into highway projects.

The intersection needs some sort of solution. Last year, we profiled it in our story, "Death Cycle."

Last spring, Chris Duerkop coasted down the hill on Franklin and came to a stop at a red light. A technical writer at Quality Bike Parts, one of the top bicycling distributors in the nation, Duerkop waited for the light to change, then proceeded into the intersection. But as he entered it, a car turned left, crossing into his lane.

"It forced me into the median," he recalls. "And the car just kept on cruising."

Between 2003 and 2005, there were six bike-car collisions at this intersection, tying it with three others for the highest number in Minneapolis. A major reason is that it serves as a link between Uptown and Downtown. But it's also a place where cars look to enter the I-94 eastbound ramp.

To mitigate the danger, the city built a bike bridge a block to the south that links Lyndale to Bryant Avenue. The goal was to get cyclists to avoid the dangerous intersection entirely.

But while it's a beautiful bridge, it's also a major inconvenience. In a study conducted last September, the city found that an overwhelming majority of cyclists preferred to take the short route rather than wind around on a bridge with a tight switchback and semi-steep incline.

So far it looks like a whole lot of nothing has been done to mediate this danger. We know the city is aware of the problem, and that government projects go slow. But too many people are at risk, too many. And no city planner wants another collision on their hands.