Washington Avenue to get protected bike lanes

Washington_improvements_0.jpg
Design details have yet to be finalized but the county provided this template. Street-walking ghosts not included.
Washington Avenue is going to suck less -- especially if you're a pedestrian or biker.

That's because Hennepin County approved plans this week to widen areas for walkers and add protected bike lanes to connect downtown to the Mississippi River and U of M.

SEE ALSO: U of M cops writing $98 tickets for sidewalk bikers

The lanes will be built on either side of Washington between Hennepin and 5th Avenue South, separated by a two-foot buffer. Construction begins in 2015. Later, improvements will be extended from 5th to the 35W Bridge.

The plan complements the Minneapolis Downtown Council's goal to reshape the city's central business district by 2025 while doubling the area population from 35,000 to 70,000 residents. At the moment, Washington Avenue stands like a hurdle to the riverfront. Because of reduced space for car lanes, pedestrians will end up walking a shorter distance across the street.

The push to improve Washington Avenue gained momentum last year when the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition collected 500 handwritten letters from people who live, work or shop along the street.

"There were a variety of perspectives," said Ethan Fawley, executive director of the coalition, "but generally people were interested in how could we make this greener, more friendlier for people who are walking and biking -- a better place overall to be."

What now for motorists? Well, a 73-page analysis commissioned by the county suggests that, even with two fewer lanes, estimated increases in traffic over the next couple decades will be mostly offset by a retiming of the lights, more turn space and a new 35W on-ramp that's due open in 2014.

In crafting the plan, the county organized several meetings with the public and invited bikers, walkers, drivers, residents and business owners to attend. Conclusion: everyone has an interest in fixing the avenue.

"I give the county board a lot of credit for breaking the mold a little bit," said Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. "The downtown business community is behind this, as is the bike coalition. Sometimes those are strange bedfellows, but this time they came together."

The plan goes next to the Minneapolis City Council for municipal consent.

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
44 comments
lanalynch100
lanalynch100

There are some cities in my area that have these bike lanes. I think that they are especially nice for busy roads that are also in residential areas. I thinks its a great source of home protection.


Lana Lynch | http://www.alarm1.net/

Robert Martin
Robert Martin

Patrick - Since we are splitting hairs here, if you are a biker then you ride a motorcycle. We are cyclists when we ride bicycles. ;)

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

"a 73-page analysis commissioned by the county suggests that, even with two fewer lanes, estimated increases in traffic over the next couple decades will be mostly offset by a retiming of the lights, more turn space and a new 35W on-ramp that's due open in 2014."

This sounds like the same BS that has destroyed Hiawatha ave with the light rail.  Can't use University any more either.   Lyndale, Portland, and Park have also been hacked.

I live the in Diamond Lake area.  I haven't seen more than a dozen bikes in the last 6 months.   Now with the snow - there won't be any bike traffic until April.  

This is rule by the minority.  

Anthonasty Ross
Anthonasty Ross

Not to mention cyclists do pay taxes. The gas tax motorist pay only pays for upkeep on the existing freeways system. And the gas tax never is enough to cover the tab, the remainder is paid for via property tax, the same way we pay for the streets. So a better question is "Why should cyclists have to pay for freeways they aren't using?" Motorist. Aka moochers who wont pay for the things they use.

Jason Koffman
Jason Koffman

Chad, do you think we should charge pedestrians for walking on sidewalks as well? They do as much damage to sidewalks as bikes do to streets.

Michael Jamie Martin
Michael Jamie Martin

The reason these things don't happen in other cities is because they don't let themselves be beat down by a 10% minority. I'm just happy I do not have to commute anywhere near downtown M PLS.

Allisen Waage
Allisen Waage

That road is crazy. Scary. For the cyclists that is.

keithkam191
keithkam191

Hey, this is what real cities do. For all the whiners, you must have not yet realized you're in the totally wrong "-apolis" (Indy is 600 miles that a way ya dingus and very car friendly if all you want to do is drive and hang out in strip malls). I'm one of those carless Downtown residents who rides a bike, shops at co-ops and patronizes local businesses, I do own a pair of jeans that are pretty skinny and I drink plenty of Hamm's. Downtown:is our home and we want safe streets for us and visitors not mini-highways because you're the genius who lives 20 miles away and  (yet mindbogglingly) expects a 5 minute commute. That's just as moronic as going to Ecopolitan and getting pissed because they don't serve steak or going to a gay bar and wondering where all the chicks are at and why the ones that are there aren't into you. Want a short commute? Live a short distance from work (that's apparently asking too much for some to grasp). Don't want t live near work? You have the freedom to choose that...and live with the consequences of your actions.

Unlike yourselves, we don't demand that you have to build lots of mid-rises in your low-density suburbs and make everything walkable and bikeable, so kindly F off. Oh, and motorists don't even come close to covering the costs of the roads,so guess whose taxes pick up the huge amount of slack? Cyclists (even the ones that don't own cars like me) and other car-less residents.

Chad Liljegren
Chad Liljegren

Who is going to pay for it? Bikers complain about wanting to be treated the same as everyone else but yet the refuse to pay for their fair share of the road. I think bikers should have to pay insurance, tabs, tickets, taxes and abide by the same laws as everyone esle on the road.

Anthonasty Ross
Anthonasty Ross

Ah yes. Its so hard to travel from south mpls to downtown and vice versa. If only we had a freeway or a train or a multitude of other transit options like supplemental bussing or maybe a bike lane or two. Nope, Patrick is right. The only possible way in & out of downtown from south is Park & Portland. /s

Amy Abts
Amy Abts

Will Washington Avenue also get cool gray ghost people?

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

Apparently he didn't see the part when you said you were a biker too?

Kyle Haze
Kyle Haze

Because it worked out so well on Block E...

Luis Rojas
Luis Rojas

Bicycle rights!! BIKE BIKE BIKE BIKE....

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

Yall don't have to be so mean.. I mean I disagree with the man too, but that doesn't mean he "sounds dumb" (actually he laid out rather valid points) and he doesn't have to "just shut up" anymore than any of you keyboard crusaders out there..

Patrick Jackson
Patrick Jackson

I have no problem with increasing bike commuter lanes. I do have a problem with doing it in a way that restricts the main car commuter lanes. Is that a horrific position to hold?

Patrick Jackson
Patrick Jackson

No, I'm bitching that they took it from 3 lanes across to 2 lanes across. James.

James Cowart
James Cowart

so your bitching about traffic in the cities on 2 of the bussiest roads in downtown during rush hour? man i bet you would bitch if your ice cream was cold..

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

For sure, I just recently graduated SCSU so its a lot easier to tell everyone I live in uptown rather than explaining the city's layout to them ;)

Patrick Jackson
Patrick Jackson

Try it 8:30 am and 5 pm every weekday. Then add some rain and snow. Then compare it to 2 years ago and you'll know what I mean. You are getting on at 28th and getting off at 26th. I go to 46th. Big difference there too. Not trying to be a Richard on the Uptown - just a pet peeve.......I used to live in Whittier! Also, they already had bike lanes on Park & Portland. Oh, and as long as I am bee-atching, they make you weave around when lanes end and what-not, also slowing traffic flow. All-in-all, I'd give the redesign a BIG FAT F.

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

I would just say that a bike lane is going to cause a lot less mess than someone just biking with traffic anyways - which screws shit up far more, someone weaving inbetween cars and shit ya know

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

Excuuuse me, Lyn-lake.. fuck whittier.. (didn't know we were going to split hairs over a couple of blocks..) all sorts of times

Patrick Jackson
Patrick Jackson

@Nick - at what time? (Pleasant and 28th isn't Uptown....)

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

I live on 28 and pleasant and go downtown via park/portland from uptown all the time with no real troubles..

Brie MacDougall
Brie MacDougall

I think the bike lane would be nicer between the boulevard and the sidewalk. It seems the only protection here is ribbed roads, unless I'm missing something, I would love to be wrong here.

Patrick Jackson
Patrick Jackson

Do you commute to-and-from south Mpls & downtown via Park & Portland? They used to be a nice fast-moving alternative to 35W or any side-street. Now they are stop-and-go - particularly in rain or the winter. They took a very nice pressure-reliever system to spread traffic out and made it into a constricted pair of arteries with a nice WIDE bike lane for bikes where I see about 2 bikes on my commute. And AGAIN, I am a biker. They should have taken one of the less-used avenues for this purpose and left Park & Portland alone. If you like people speeding down side streets and a more clogged up 35W (and Park & Portland), the current system is great.

Jason Thor Carle
Jason Thor Carle

Is their an invisible force field? Because if not I don't think they are very protected from morons in cars...

Anthonasty Ross
Anthonasty Ross

Patrick, stfu. We have one of the highest percentages of people commuting by bike in the nation. And the number keeps growing. It makes sense to increase the available infrastructure for a growing group before a lack causes issues.

Patrick Jackson
Patrick Jackson

Yeah, they already screwed up Park and Portland for car commuters, so they might as well screw up the entire city. For about 5 bikers. And I am a biker. But I also drive a car too.

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

"Washington Avenue is going to suck less -- especially if you're a pedestrian or biker."

I would say, Only if you're a pedestrian or biker...


Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

There's nothing wrong with 'sharing' the road with a biker.   As an auto driver, I try and give you guy's a lot of space, and get past you as quickly as possible.

I think it's a lot safer to have a wide driving lane, than a narrow one.   Ourstreets were not designed for this nonsense.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

"Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition collected 500 handwritten letters from people who live, work or shop along the street. "

Hmmm... 500 people - how many people live in Minneapolis - 350,000 ??    Sounds like rule by the minority.   And how long will those folks live there?

Onan
Onan

Let me guess, you used to go 45 - 50 mph when on those roads...

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

Gotta differ with you about Park and Portland.  I live on Park, in the 40's.  For about 10 minutes around 7:30 AM and about 10 minutes around 8:30 AM,  you'll see the two traffic lanes stopped 10 or 12 cars deep at the 42nd St. light.  With three traffic lanes, those lanes had 6 or 8 cars deep at that light at those times.  That's it.  All other times of day or night there's no difference at all on Park, northbound.  Coming home on Portland, it can be thick at Franklin, at 28th, and at Lake St.  Again, nothing new. And the 30 mph speed limit is great, though ignored by many.  This is a residential street.  People going 50 mph on those streets is common, and far more suited to 35W, which is only 8 blocks to the west.

I've heard people say the changes to Park have increased their commute by 20 minutes.  Simply not possible.  It doesn't take 20 minutes to drive from Minnehaha Creek to downtown on Chicago, or even 4th Ave.

orangevening1
orangevening1

If you actually read the article or look at the project travel times will be improved for autos even with less lanes.

Not to mention it will be safer for everyone without a 6 lane highway going through downtown.

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...