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.