8/18/2015 Minneapolis BAC Engineering Subcommittee Meeting



  • 29th St W
  • 18th Ave NE
  • Franklin/Cedar/Minnehaha Intersection
  • 46th St E/W



The Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC) has an Engineering Subcommittee that meets once a month and advises on Minneapolis road projects that have a bike element.  I attended the meeting this month and captured a bit of what was discussed. Members of the public are allowed to attend, but only BAC members are allowed to make motions or vote.

29th St S - Don Pflaum, Minneapolis City Engineer

The City has proposed reconstructing 29th Street West from Lyndale to Bryant. The city will present a detailed plan for the street by September 2015, with construction planned for November 2016.

Minneapolis plans to reconstruct these two blocks as a shared-use street, with the entire right of way completely open to people walking, biking, and driving. Two 10-foot travel lanes will be preserved for residents leaving their building and for delivery trucks, with a posted speed limit of 10 mph. There will be no curbs or gutters. Those will be replaced by other infrastructure, such as planters and detectable warning strips (road surface bumps) that will slow drivers to very slow speeds while also making it clear that pedestrians may walk on the street. With the street being shared, there will be more chances to program it. One proposal is to revive the Uptown Farmers Market.

In an effort to beautify this new shared street, adjacent property owners will have the opportunity to contribute fancy railings, benches, and bike racks. In addition, rain water from the street would drain into a trench and be directed into a rain garden.

This project is a pilot for shared-use streets in Minneapolis, and will help develop city policies around similar projects, such as the remainder of 29th St S. With the project currently at 30% design, there are still questions and also opportunities for the public to have input into the project.

BAC moved to recommend the plan as proposed.

18th Ave NE - Don Pflaum, Minneapolis City Engineer

18th Avenue Northeast will be reconstructed in 2017 from Monroe to Johnson. The utility poles on the south side of the street will be moved by Xcel, at their expense, per their franchise agreement with the City. This allows space for a mixed-use (pedestrians and bicycles combined), above grade trail on the south side of the street. Parking would also need to be removed on the south side. At the community meeting the City hosted, attendees were generally in support of the change.

A layout for this project could be approved as soon as September.

 Raised Grade Crosswalks

This is not the first time the BAC engineering subcommittee has looked at plans for 18th Ave NE.  The last meeting where 18th Ave NE was presented as an above grade mixed use trail, questions were asked about having the crosswalks raised, so cars crossing the trail would have to "table up," and would be very aware they were crossing a trail. This would also make it easier for cyclists who would otherwise have to dip up and down through curb cuts.  The City is still exploring what is feasible.

Driving Lane Widths

At eleven and thirteen feet respectively, the two driving lanes in this section are very wide. 18th Ave NE is a Minnesota Staid Aid road, so the city would need a variance to get a smaller driving lane in the 3 block section of the project where the road is only 60 feet wide. This would make a big difference.  Don did not think this was feasible.

Can the city really call this a protected bikeway if it is a mixed use trail?

How comfortable will pedestrians feel if they are sharing a trail with bicycles?  Taking back a two-foot encroachment was included in this proposal, which impacts 17 parcels. An encroachment means a private improvement, structure or obstruction extending into or located within, upon, above or under any public right of way or public easement. In this case, the City will be retaking an encroachment onto the 18th Ave right of way to use for the trail. An option was proposed in the meeting where the city could narrow the two-way bikeway, making the bikeway eight feet wide, and take an additional 12 inches of encroachment, allowing room for a separation between bikes and a five-foot sidewalk for pedestrians. The city engineer thought it would be too expensive, and that the community wouldn't want to have more parcels impacted by pursuing another twelve inches of encroachment.  However, no research has been done on how many parcels would be impacted, or what the additional cost would be for taking another twelve inches of encroachment, so the BAC made a motion for more research.

BAC moved to recommend the project as presented, while also requesting the City explore separation in the 70' section of the project, including exploring full separation of bikes and pedestrians leading up to intersections at the least, raised intersections and other improvements in general.

Franklin/Cedar/Minnehaha Intersection - Kelley Yemen & Bob Byers, Henneping County Engineers

There will be a much more detailed blog post about this item coming soon.

BAC moves to support the general direction of this proposal, but is advocating for more work on the closure of Minnehaha and 20th, including the possibility of facilitating bike and pedestrian movements on 20th to Cedar. 

46th St E/W - Kelley Yemen & Bob Byers, Henneping County Engineers

Hennepin County made a brief presentation notifying the BAC that the County is beginning planning for a repaving of 46th Street between Lyndale and Cedar. This is an opportunity to make biking improvements to the street, since a lot of destinations are currently not accessible by bike on 46th Street. The project will be taking place next summer.

Showing 2 reactions

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  • commented 2015-09-01 16:21:26 -0500
    Thanks for saying that, Hokan! Actually, I’ve been a little unclear on how much I can participate, as a non-BAC member.
  • commented 2015-09-01 10:23:56 -0500
    Thanks L aura; Nice summary.

    You said, “Members of the public are allowed to attend, but only BAC members are allowed to make motions or vote.” That’s true enough, but make it seem like the public can have no part in the discussions. In fact anybody who has something to say can talk. I’m not a member of the BAC but I attend often, speak often, and occasionally sway the opinions and votes of the members.

    If you are interested in helping guide the city in becoming a better place to bike, these meetings can be a good way to learn and and to make your voice heard.

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