Eastside Bike Summit report

More than 50 people gathered at the Ritz Theater last night (August 1st) at the Eastside Bike Summit organized by Michael Rainville of the St. Anthony West neighborhood association. Topics included bike lanes on 18th Ave, Central Ave NE, along with Hennepin/1st and Main Street. Keep reading for updates on progress and need for advocacy, especially on Central Avenue.

Guest speakers at the event included Shaun Murphy (city of Minneapolis), Steve Clark (Bike Walk Twin Cities), Hennepin County engineers Jim Grube and Bob Byers, along with elected officials Councilmembers Kevin Reich (Ward 1) and Diane Hofstead (Ward 3) and State Representative Diane Loeffler (58A).

The agenda/discussion included the following updates:

1. Completion of the 18th Ave bikeway from Monroe to the Quarry and connecting with the Diagonal Trail.

  • Councilmember Reich is working with city staff on solutions behind the Quarry shopping center, which actually contains a bike trail that isn’t signed (but will be).

  • The lane striped on 18th Ave will remain a temporary solution. Councilmember Reich is working to get a reconstruction of 18th onto the city’s agenda as it gets more deteriorated.

  • Participants desire a safe connection to the Diagonal Trail across the complicated intersection east of the Quarry. Several said they would trade improvements on the rest of 18th just to get this intersection improved for cyclists.

2. Resurfacing of Central Avenue NE by Mn/DOT in 2012.

  • Shaun Murphy reported that the city completed a study last year that recommended changes on Central Avenue NE for cyclists. These included (from south to north in 4 segments): sharrows to 8th Ave, 4 narrowed traffic lanes plus bike lanes to 18th Ave, a 4-3 traffic lane conversion to 27th Ave, and sharrows to Columbia Heights (37th Ave).

  • The city and Mn/DOT are working on a design for resurfacing. Mn/DOT is taking the lead as this is a state trunk highway (65).

  • Participants commented that many intersections along Central have high bike-pedestrian crash incidences and that Central is a key thoroughfare for cyclists.

  • The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will be holding a meeting for people who want more information about the process on Central on Tuesday, August 9th, at the Northeast Library (2200 Central) from 6:15-7:45pm.

3. East Hennepin and 1st Ave (and related)

  • After a bike summit last year, Hennepin county and Minneapolis studied these two streets to find out whether bicycle facilities could be added without major lane changes. That study has been shelved, since Minneapolis is conducting an 18-month study on streetcars along the Central-Nicollet corridor, and bicycle facilities will be considered in that process.

  • Participants raised concerns about safety on these two streets. Speakers reported that business concerns include bicyclists riding on sidewalks and also loss of parking if any changes are made.

  • Participants asked that staff reconsider adding bicycle facilities on the Hennepin Avenue bridge as a short-term solution instead of waiting for the whole study to be finished, since there is plenty of room and many ride on the sidewalks because traffic moves so quickly. Jim Grube agreed that it would be possible to take another look and perhaps find a temporary solution.

  • On a related note, participants asked for the concrete barriers on the Plymouth Ave bridge be moved enough to allow cyclists to ride across the bridge.

4. Marshall Ave and Main St.

  • Bicycle lanes and sidewalks are currently being constructed on Main/Marshall. They will extend across 8th Ave.

  • Michael Rainville asked participants if they would support exploration of a trail along the railroad tracks from the Scherer Bros. lumber site.

  • Many supported this idea; concern was raised that we need both street routes and trail routes for cyclists. General agreement.

5. Update on new bicycle boulevards on 22nd St. and 5th Ave.

  • Construction has begun on these two bicycle boulevards for traffic calming, including diverters, traffic circles, and speed bumps.

  • Stop signs are in the process of being removed to allow for better cycling (part of the purpose of bicycle boulevards).

  • Landscaping, pavement symbols, and a signal system at 5th and Broadway will come later this year.

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