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Three Miles of New Protected Bike Lanes Planned Parallel to Midtown Greenway [UPDATE]

The new bike lanes will take away either parking or a lane of motorized traffic

The new bike lanes will take away either parking or a lane of motorized traffic

Minneapolis came in an embarrassing third place in the latest rankings of America's best bike cities, and to help fix that Mayor Betsy Hodges ponied up $790,000 for new protected bike lanes in her 2015 budget.

Yesterday the Star Tribune reported that nearly three miles of protected bike lanes are being recommended for East 26th and 28th Streets between Portland and Hiawatha when those streets are repaved this summer.

See also: Washington Avenue to Get Protected Bike Lanes

Why build more bike infrastructure when the Midtown Greenway is already right there running parallel to 26th and 28th?

"That question came up a lot in the planning process," says Amy Brugh with the Minneapolis Bike Coalition. "The Midtown Greenway is a great bicycle amenity, obviously, but it has limited entry and exits points. There has to be a way for bikes and pedestrians to get around once they exit the Greenway."

UPDATE 2:00 PM: Simon Blenski, a Minneapolis city planner working on this project, acknowledged there are a lot of east-west bike routes in the area, but he cited the high housing density and number of jobs along the two corridors as a good reason to build up more bike infrastructure.

The new bike lanes will cover the area outlined in blue, Midtown Greenway in green. Click to enlarge

The new bike lanes will cover the area outlined in blue, Midtown Greenway in green. Click to enlarge

He also said the community largely welcomed traffic calming on the two busy one-way streets, and putting in a protected bike lane accomplishes that.

The new bike lanes will cost $400,000. Half will come from this year's protected bike lane fund and half will come from funds already set aside for these streets in years prior.

The new bike lanes will be seven feet wide, with a seven-foot buffer zone marked by plastic pillars to protect bikers from traffic, like you see on First Avenue downtown or on the Plymouth Avenue Bridge. This proposal was recommended over another option that would've installed a two-way bike lane on 26th and nothing on 28th.

Cars will lose either a lane of traffic or parking to make way for the bikes.

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