BAC Engineering March 2016 Meeting

The Engineering Subcommittee of the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) convened during last Tuesday’s rainy evening. Last month left me wanting to never look at a bike lane schematic again but this week left me wanting more with only three items on the agenda. Beware to not equate my residual energy to mean these topics were not engaging; I have three great projects coming down the pipeline this month.

The Docket:

  • 5th Street SE Pedestrian and Bike Bridge

  • Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet Master Plan

  • Hiawatha and Lake Study

  • Announcement

5th Street SE Ped/Bike Bridge

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Upon walking or biking onto the 5th street pedestrian and bike bridge, it is not difficult to imagine a better, safer, and more comfortable bridge. An opportunity is steadily approaching to transform those imaginations into reality. Gina Mitteco (gina.mitteco@state.mn.us), with the help of Don Pflaum and Ron Rauchle, was able to acquire funding ($2.5 million from the Metropolitan Council) to rebuild the bridge in 2018 into something that will better serve and reflect the values of the surrounding neighborhood (Marcy-Holmes and the U of M campus).

The purpose of this project is two fold: to build a bridge that better serves the community as well as bring the bridge into accordance with the standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since construction will not happen till 2018, the designs do not need to be finalized till next year; thus, the project is in a primordial stage. Currently, the design team is considering two concepts for the new bridge. The first concept would construct wide switchbacks at both ends of the bridge, leaving the bridge in the same location it is today. The second concept bows the bridge north toward 6th St SE to eliminate the need for switchbacks, creating less turning movements for bikers. The entrance onto the bridge would remain at 5th Street. Because the project is just beginning to roll, the Subcommittee did not pass a motion but leaned toward the second concept as it provided safer biking movements. A website and public comment forum are in the works but if you have burning questions or concerns, please contact Gina Mitteco.

Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet Master Plan

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The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) is developing a master plan for the Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet regional park system. The plan, once finalized, will be used to guide the investments and improvements of the area over the next 20 to 25 years. The project came before the Subcommittee in order to acquire input on a draft of the bike plan around the lakes. In its current form, most of the bike paths will remain one way around the lakes with the exception of the north side of Bde Maka Ska from about Tin Fish to the envisioned sailing dock on the NW side, and also the east side of Lake Harriet from West Minnehaha, north to Rose Way. It was advised that the two-way bike lane on the north side of Bde Maka Ska be extended to the kid friendly beach on the East side as there are already prevalent counter-flow movements in that spot today.

There is much, much more going into the master plan than bike-lanes (i.e., Land Bridge, what?!). Check out the website to take a look at the drafting process and the focus areas of the project. The Park Board is hoping to open a 45-day public comment period for the draft master plan in June of this year. However, if you can’t wait till then, two Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings are on the horizon. These meetings are open to the public and provide a window for public input.

Thursday, March 24

  • MPRB Headquarters, Board Room, 2117 West River Road, 6-8:30 pm

Thursday, April 21

  • MPRB Headquarters, Board Room, 2117 West River Road, 6-8:30 pm

Website: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/park_care__improvements/park_projects/current_projects/calhoun-harriet_master_plan__improvements/

Hi-Lake Study

The underpass at Hiawatha and Lake Street is receiving some much needed attention as to how the area could be improved. Hennepin County and the City collaborated to conduct a study of traffic, pedestrian, and bike movements through the area. Check out Alex Tsatsoulis’ post (http://www.mplsbike.org/humanizing_hi_lake) to catch up on where the project stands so far. If that leaves you hungry for more, dive into the results of the study and look at the current presentation of the project on the project website (http://www.minneapolismn.gov/cip/2016/WCMSP-174849). There is no funding allocated for this project, so our basic goal now is to come to a consensus on which improvements we would like to see in the area.  

Announcement

For those that may not know, the BAC is comprised of Ward representatives, MPRB at-large representatives, and representatives from City departments and other partner agencies. The terms for the ward and the MPRB at-large reps expire this May. The MPRB accepts applications for their at-large positions but it is unclear whether the current representatives will be seeking another term (2-years) or not. Lastly, each City Council Member appoints the representative for their ward; thus, if you are interested in having a voice and vote on the BAC, keep a look out for the application on the MPRB website or contact your City Council Member.

The Subcommittee meetings are open to the public, and occur every third Tuesday of the month, 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Colonial Warehouse Building, 212 3rd Ave N, Suite 404. If you will be attending a future meeting or have questions, you may want to contact the Subcommittee Chair, Ciara Schlichting. If you are interested in being included on the email list for the subcommittee, which includes updates on meeting dates and agendas for each meeting, contact Matthew Dyrdahl, the committee staff member. 

 

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