On Saturday August 13th, the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition gathered with a group of riders to celebrate the brand new protected bikeway on Broadway St NE. We love well-built protected bikeways, but would this one be another great addition to our bike network? Or would it fail to live up to our expectations?
We led a ride up to local businesses on the route. We met at Father Hennepin Park and headed north to the protected bikeway. We made a stop at 612 Brew, which is a Bicycle Benefits location! We enjoyed a beer there and then headed up to Northgate Brewing to ride the newly installed bikeway.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and there wasn’t much auto traffic on the usually busy street, but the protected bikeway was definitely nice to travel along. The bikeway is on the south side of the street, and begins as a two-way protected lane. The flexible white plastic posts seemed sturdy and will work well to provide a feeling of comfort and safety. There is also a plastic curb in between long stretches of plastic posts, creating a safer barrier between bikes and cars.
Protected bikeways are still relatively new to our city, and from every protected bikeway project we are learning best practices. There were several troubling elements of the Broadway St NE protected bikeway.
Two blocks after the bikeway begins on Stinson, the sidewalk disappears, and they bikeway becomes a shared bike/pedestrian lane. This is indicated with a "yield to pedestrians" sign, a yellow rumble strip, and a pedestrian symbol. (See photo.) The narrowness of the lane, shared with two directions of bike traffic and pedestrians, would be extremely uncomfortable for anyone who has limited mobility or is with children.
Winter maintenance will have to be impeccable to accommodate both two-way cyclists and pedestrians.
The useable bikeway area is narrowed by the concrete gutter pan, which is full of cracks, holes, and is in serious disrepair.
The protected bikeway ends abruptly at Industrial Blvd by forcing you onto a paved trail to the right of the road, to maintain a right-turn lane for automobiles. From the off-road end of the trail we turned south to take the lane on Industrial Blvd to go south (no bike lane). For bikes traveling north, they would need to use the crosswalk or enter into the traffic lane on Broadway before the bikeway terminates. It is not the smoothest transition.
Overall, we had an enjoyable afternoon! We rode on a new protected bikeway, checked out some local businesses, used our Bicycle Benefits, celebrated a rider’s birthday, and had a great day! We are looking forward to more celebrations in the future, be on the lookout for information on a 3rd Ave Protected Bikeway Celebration when it opens!
Missed the celebration but still want to ride with us soon? Check-out our Let's Joyride Together: September Edition on September 19th at 5:45pm at Matthews Park! We can't wait!