During September and October, new bicycle routes funded through Bike Walk Twin Cities will open in Minneapolis. These projects, and others that opened last year as well as some due for 2012, are expanding the network for cycling, especially on-street cycling. The new projects include three bicycle boulevards, advisory bike lanes, and the state's first bicycle stop light. Some of the project openings will be celebrated as part of October Bike Walk Week October 3-9.
Please mark your calendars for these openings. More details will be shared as plans become complete.
Bryant Avenue Bicycle Boulevard- Grand Opening Thursday, September 22
This is the longest of the new bike routes in Minneapolis, providing a north-south route from West 58th Street to downtown Minneapolis, via the bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Lyndale Avenue and the bike path to Loring Park. The route includes new medians at Franklin Avenue to make crossing easier for bicycles and people walking. There also will be easier access for bicycles to the Minnehaha Parkway bicycle trail. The route runs roughly parallel to Lyndale Avenue.
University of Minnesota Bike Center-Grand Opening week of September 27
The new bike center in the Oak Street ramp will include retail sales and repair from the Hub Bicycle Coop, and (with membership) 24-7 key-card access to showers, changing rooms, and secure bike parking. The Center also offers classes and meeting space. With 70,000 students and faculty at the Twin Cities campus, there is great opportunity to get around more smoothly by riding bicycles (including Nice Ride bicycle-sharing), walking, and using transit.The University Bike Center will also offer the option to sign up for RFID (radio frequency identification) tags to track bicycle usage and be eligible for prizes.
New routes in Downtown Minneapolis-Grand Opening Wednesday, October 5 (tentative)
Getting into downtown Minneapolis on bicycle is now easier due to two new projects. Cyclists have long waited for a better connection into from the Hiawatha LRT trail (which ends at 11th Avenue South). A new bike path now exists adjacent to the Valspar parking lot, connecting to westbound bicycle lanes on 3rd Street South and eastbound lanes on 4th Street South. Another new project, on East 14th, 15th, and 16th Streets, brings "Advisory Bike Lanes" to the United States for the first time (though Portland, Ore., also has plans for them: http://bikeportland.org/2009/10/21/bikeway-design-focus-advisory-bike-lanes-24880) Advisory bike lane streets are low-traffic narrow streets with bike lanes in each direction and one center lane for autos. If no bikes are present, cars can drive on top of the bike lanes (this is not legal for other bike lanes). If cyclists are present, cars use the center lane (wide enough for cars) to pass.
New routes in Northeast Minneapolis-Grand Opening Thursday, October 6 (tentative)
Northeast Minneapolis has had few routes for a growing population, but that is about to change with three new routes (and a fourth in 2012). The new 5th Street Bicycle Boulevard, featuring the state's first bicycle stop light and bicycle signal detection, runs from Dinkytown through the Nordeast shopping area and up to 26th Avenue North. (Much of the route runs parallel to University Avenue.) Two new east-west bike ways intersect it-the 22nd Avenue bike way and a new off-road bike path on 18th Avenue (not funded by BWTC). In 2012, the Presidents Bicycle Boulevard will provide another north-south route on Fillmore and 6th Avenues.
New Bike Lanes in North Minneapolis-Grand Opening, Saturday, October 8-A Bike Walk Week October Event
The new bike lanes on Emerson & Fremont Avenues provide a great north-south route, connecting many great destinations, from North Regional Library (at the intersection of Lowry and Fremont) to the businesses along West Broadway (The Cookie Cart and Avenue Eatery are just down the block from Emerson) to Plymouth Avenue not far from UROC and the Urban League. The Emerson/Fremont lanes connect to bike lanes along 7th Street North and 10th Avenue North , making it easier to connect to downtown and Northeast Minneapolis.
1st and Blaisdell Bike Lanes-Grand Opening, Sunday October 9-A Bike Walk Week October Event
These new bike lanes connect downtown Minneapolis (via LaSalle heading southbound and Marquette heading north) to the RiverLake Greenway at 40th Street in South Minneapolis. The route features buffered bike lanes along 1st Avenue (between 40th and 33rd) and bike lanes on Blaisdell, with green paint at the high-traffic intersection at Lake Street to make bicyclists and motorists aware of each other.