Understanding Hennepin and 1st Avenue bike lanes

ahh, the memories
ahh, the memories

The failed Hennepin bike lane is about to morph into four new lanes. But what the hell does this mean for cyclists? Options suckas. Options.

While the changes are definite improvements, they won't be perfect solutions. Here are the pros and cons of each, past and future.

Hennepin Avenue

The Past: Two lane bike boulevard in the middle of traffic.
Pros: Riders could zip through downtown at high speeds.
Cons: Riders could have a car zip into their sides. The bike lane was one of the most dangerous sections to ride in the city.

The Future: A Wide Bike and Bus lane close to the curb.
Pros: Plenty of space, no cars turning left to worry about.
Cons: Bus traffic. It won't be the fastest way through downtown during rush hour, and being forced to share space with a bus can be frightening.

Rough example of the future (via Philly):

Understanding Hennepin and 1st Avenue bike lanes

1st Avenue

The Past: Nothing but car lanes.
Pros: It's fun to race cars on Friday afternoons.
Cons: There are reasons why you avoid pedaling drunk...

The Future: A hybrid model of the famed cycle-track system
Pros: Bikes ride between the curb and parked cars. It provides a buffer zone. (see pic below)
Cons: Right turning cars. Because of the parked cars, cyclists won't be as visible to drivers.

Rough example of the future (via Stumptown):

Understanding Hennepin and 1st Avenue bike lanes

Supplementing the lanes will be several bike boxes:

Understanding Hennepin and 1st Avenue bike lanes
photo by Richard Drdul

Conclusion: The future looks better than the past.

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