Hennepin and 1st avenue two-way report shows traffic moving and bikes thriving
When the Minneapolis City Council voted in June 2007 to convert Hennepin and 1st avenues downtown to two-way traffic, and introduce some innovative bike-friendly features as way of boosting business and livability, critics thought they saw a car wreck coming. But the city has issued a report that says the program has worked out just as it had hoped.
More people are riding bikes: About 2,347 bicyclists used the corridor everyday, up from about 1,640 per day pre-conversion. That hardly seems surprising. Minneapolis is, after all, the most bike-friendly city in the whole country (take that, Stumptown).
Zero bike crashes: More bikes haven't meant more crumpled frames and road rash. No bike crashes have been reported post-conversion, compared to 12.25 crashes per year before. (Hennepin used to be a free-fire zone. Check out our Top 10 Most Dangerous Bike Intersections from a few years ago.)
The weird buffered-lane parking works OK: It took a while, but drivers have figured out that they're not supposed to park right on the curb in some areas; bike riders have figured out how to make sure they don't get creamed by drivers who can't see them when they make right turns (see above). That's good news. No need for bicycle defense kits.
Traffic moves along just fine: The panicked and confused looks on the faces of drivers confronting the two-way conversion has given way to traffic flow that matches the pre-conversion days.
Drivers are checking out downtown: Two-ways mean easier access to side streets. Pre-conversion, the city said most drivers used Hennepin as an escape route. Now, 99 percent use it to access cross streets.
Parking meters are still robbing us blind: There's been no fall-off in revenue at parking meters in the Warehouse District; you still need to show up with a briefcase full of quarters.
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