February BAC Engineering Meeting

Last month, I was sure to include solicitation of questions and comments throughout my post for the various projects...but no comments were made, not a one. Which is not a problem but I’ve learned my lesson and I’m going to dial it BAC on my solicitations. Just know, our ears are open. This month, we’ve got a handful of updates on last month’s presentations as well as a couple new big ones. Take a look. 

On the Docket:

  • Bottineau LRT / Olson Memorial Protected Bikeway
  • SE Oak Street + Delaware Street SE Bus Stop Improvements
  • Emerson Avenue N + Fremont Avenue N Protected Bikeways
  • 26th Street E + 28th Street E Protected Bikeway Phase II
  • Bde Maka Ska + Harriet Lakes Master Plan

 

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The plans for the Minneapolis portion on the Bottineau LRT extension,
courtesy of Metropolitan Council

Olson Memorial Protected Bikeway

The construction of the Bottineau LRT provides the opportunity to construct a protected bikeway along the Olson Memorial Highway between Van White Memorial Blvd and Sheridan Ave N. The design of the bikeway is separated from vehicle traffic by a curb and is at sidewalk level, commonly referred to as a cycle track.

The design layout illustrates a 10 foot wide path for two-way bike traffic on the north side of the highway, there are 6 foot sidewalks on both sides. The design is only 60% complete so not all of the elements are worked out. The Subcommittee had several questions about the design of the intersections (Will the crossing be at the level of the cycletrack for any intersection? Could the crossing distances be shortened to one-lane at one-way streets? Could turning radii be made smaller to slow turning traffic?) and they expressed concern about the system gap between Van White and 7th St N. Answers about the intersections were not too reassuring and fixing the system gap seems to be prohibited by space and money. The Subcommittee moved to encourage the project team to find a solution to the system gap (or else there will be plenty of sidewalk riding) and would like to see sharper turning angles (i.e., slower turning traffic). (Pictured: Portion of the design layout for the Olson Memorial Bikeway)

 

Oak + Delaware St Bus Stop Improvements

This project came before the Subcommittee last month, and the Planner seems to have settled on a design concept. Unfortunately, without attending the meeting, I was unable to get my hands on an image. But from what I can tell, it will be in the vain of this image from the MassDOT Separated Bike Lane Design Guide (you should really look through the guide if you haven’t already). The concept is commonly referred to as a floating bus stop because it is separated from the sidewalk by a bike lane. The budget for the project doesn’t include many of the design elements illustrated here but the image illustrates the ideal well. The design of the environment clearly illustrates to all users when they are approaching potential traffic with others.

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Courtesy of MassDOT design guide, chapter 5

The position of the bike lane separated from the position of bus loading and unloading, allows pedestrians to negotiate each crossing or task independently. Through the design you should able to make the crossing clear for everyone and provide access to the bus stop for those with different abilities. This project will include a raised crosswalk in the bike lane at one end; meaning, the crosswalk will be level with the sidewalk and bus stop while bike users will experience a speed table of sorts. This will provide easy access for various pedestrians as well as remind bike users to slow down while going through the area. There will be another ramp access point from the crosswalk across Oak St. Railings and planters are sometimes used to help channel foot traffic across the bike lane but generally pedestrians and people on bikes are good at negotiating space efficiently and safely with one another (as is not the case with people in cars and anyone else....). The planters are also a great way to add some color to our concrete jungle. This project does not include elements like these. The layout is definitely not at the level of the image here so don’t get your hopes up. But that is OK, it doesn’t take much to make it successful. The Subcommittee supported the layout; I’ll pass along an image if I get my hands on one. (Pictured: Example of a floating bus stop from MassDOT Separated Bike Lane Design and Planning Guide)

 

Emerson + Fremont Protected Bikeways

This project was also presented last month. With a project website up and a map of the changes available, there is more information accessible to you. Comments were made regarding certain intersection treatments but no action was taken by the subcommittee...this project will be back again.

 

26th + 28th St Protected Bikeway Phase II

An exciting extension to the 26th and 28th St bikeway system is in store for this year as part of Phase II for the project. The system will extend from Portland Ave to Hennepin Ave, connecting several schools as well as the economic hubs at Nicollet and Hennepin. There is a Public Meeting this Tuesday to gather feedback, it will be important for the surrounding community to show support for the project in order to get the best traffic calming and safe design. There are a handful of design considerations that could make implementation tricky: bus loading at schools, required parking removal, and a potential conversion to 2-way roads. The project is young and will be back in front of the subcommittee before implementation (aimed for June/July). The budget is limited for pedestrian improvements but the corridor is planned for a reconstruction in 2022. Let’s turn these routes into safe bike and walkways, not highways.

 

Bde Maka Ska + Harriet Lakes Master Plan

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The review and comment period for the Master Plan ends March 4th. The subcommittee had some time to review the plan and provide some feedback. Here’s what they came up with:

1)    They wish to maintain the two-way bikeway under the lake street bridge and along the lagoon. The current plan is to convert the trail to pedestrians only. The subcommittee feels that many bike users will be uncomfortable crossing Lake St, which is a major arterial road with heavy traffic (I’ve tried it…it’s not relaxing).

2)    The subcommittee prefers to have two-way bike traffic around both lakes to better accommodate families and non-recreational users. At the very least, a two-way connection should be established between the south end of Bde Maka Ska to the northeast end.

3)    Tin Fish, the beach, and the playground could be better connected. Many don’t wish to circumvent Bde Maka Ska in order to go from the beach to Tin Fish, which is only slightly north. There are track indications that many people today are traveling the short distance north.

4)    The subcommittee stressed the importance of high visibility pavement markings and good signal timing at the new crossing of West Lake St and Lagoon in order to provide a safe crossing for all users.

5)    They support closing Lower East Harriet Parkway to motor vehicle traffic. This would give ample space for a two-way bikeway as well as more room to walk and play.

6)    They lastly made sure to support the long-term goal of a land bridge over Lake Street, connecting the lake paths directly to the Midtown Greenway. This is a long ways off (if it will ever happen).

 

If you like any of these comments, be sure to double down on them while giving feedback on the draft plan. Responses are accepted through Saturday.

 

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, have questions or you are interested in being included on the email list for the subcommittee, which includes updates on meeting times and agendas, contact Kurt Wayne, the committee staff member. 

 

BAC

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