Minnehaha Ave Needs a Protected Bikeway: Public Meetings 7/11 & 7/17
Posted July 5, 2013 @ 8:11pm | by Nicole
Come show your support for a Minnehaha Avenue for Everyone!
Hennepin County has scheduled two public open houses to share their draft layouts for Minnehaha Avenue: Thursday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 17, both from 5-7pm at Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church, 4101 37th Avenue South.
We need you there to support a protected bikeway on Minnehaha, and to ask that the County design a better protected bikeway.
Studies have shown that protected bikeways dramatically increase ridership, and also increase safety for bicyclists. Protected bikeways have also been shown to increase economic vitality. By increasing ridership, protected bikeways help increase health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and reduce congestion. This is why cities around the US and around the world are investing in protected bikeway networks, and why the Minneapolis City Council just adopted a goal to install thirty miles of protected bikeways by 2020.
Minnehaha Avenue is an excellent opportunity to build a protected bikeway, or cycletrack, so all people feel comfortable biking on this critical south Minneapolis corridor connecting a major commercial district to surrounding neighborhoods and Minnehaha Falls Park.
• A cycletrack will allow many more people to feel comfortable biking on Minnehaha, bringing more people by local businesses. It will provide an easy, comfortable connection between the Midtown Greenway and Minnehaha Park, two routes with an average of more than 1,000 bicyclists per day.
• Increased biking leads to economic benefits for local businesses. New York City saw a 49% increase in retail sales after installing a cycletrack on 9th Ave. A cycletrack along Minnehaha would encourage economic growth and strengthen local businesses. Bicyclists are also spending more money at local businesses around Nice Ride stations and elsewhere.
• A Minnehaha Avenue cycletrack would increase safety for all road users (drivers, cyclists, pedestrians).
A Minnehaha Avenue that works for everyone can knit together the community, meeting the needs of new and planned residential, commercial and business growth in Longfellow. Transforming Minnehaha to a street that is attractive and safe for everyone is consistent with Minneapolis’s Bicycle Master Plan.
The benefits of a cycle track are best achieved when we have a well-designed facility that works for everyone- business owners, transit riders, residents, and more. The County’s first design for a protected bikeway leaves a lot to be desired. It unnecessarily removes over fifty trees, due to a decision to pull buses completely out of traffic at every stop. There are better options for interactions between bus stops and protected bikeways, including these ones designed by volunteers for the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, and this one being implemented in San Francisco. The County’s design also removes more parking spaces than necessary, as you can read here. It also ignores the intersection improvements most protected bikeways include: colorized lanes, bike signalization, speed tables, etc.
The County’s bike lane layout – which County Public Works staff clearly prefer – is also problematic. It actually decreases the comfortable space for bicyclists by narrowing the parking lanes, which will exacerbate the existing problem of cars parking in the bike lane for most of the winter. The proposed “ buffer” will not be wide enough to make most riders feel any safer. But most importantly, this layout misses an opportunity we only get once every fifty to sixty years to make Minnehaha work better for everyone.
The County will be using the comments received at these open houses to determine its preferred alternative for Minnehaha, which it plans to bring forward in October of this year. to win a well-designed bikeway for everyone. We hope to see you there!