Minneapolis's evolution into a two-wheeled utopia is nearly complete.
The city is spending $790,000 to add seven-foot-wide bike lanes protected by a 3-7-foot buffer area and hard plastic cones to five busy streets this summer.
Map courtesy of the Star Tribune
North/Northeast: Plymouth Avenue from Fremont to the bridge, where it joins up with the existing protected bike lane, then continuing into Northeast until 5th Street. Downtown: 9th Street from Chicago to Hennepin South: 26th and 28th Street from Portland to Hiawatha U of M: Oak Street from East River Road to Washington.
Right now the only protected bike lanes in Minneapolis travel across the Plymouth Avenue Bridge, on 36th Street near Lake Calhoun, and the well-intentioned but completely ineffective lane running between the sidewalk and street parking on First Avenue downtown.
The poor, unenlightened souls who still prefer car travel will likely not be happy to learn that the new bike lanes will take away a lane of traffic on 26th and 28th, and some parking on Oak Street and the Northeast side of the Plymouth Avenue project.
These first four projects, totaling more than five miles, are just the beginning of Minneapolis's goal of adding 30 miles of protected bike lanes by 2020.
Simon Blenski, a city planner, says they've identified 19 different corridors where protected bike lanes could be installed.
"We really wanted to look where there's high bicycle demand but also gaps in the network of the city," he says. "We have a lot of great trails in the city, but a lot of them don't connect to the highest-density areas or big activity centers like downtown."
The city's comprehensive bike plan will be up for city council approval later this spring.
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