At the December 17 Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting, the committee reviewed recent bikeway decisions, suggested better signage for bike detours, and looked forward to 2014.
Hennepin County approved the plan to reconstruct Washington Avenue with a protected bike lane (Ethan Fawley provided the details). The first phase of the project, from Hennepin to 5th, will break ground in 2015. Nearby areas will be improved, too — county and city leaders have proposed extending bike lanes north on Washington to Plymouth Avenue, and southeast to the bridge over I-35W. Steve Cramer, CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, said he "enthusiastically supports Hennepin County’s plans to reconstruct Washington Avenue and transform it into a model urban artery designed for 21st Century Minneapolis."
Minneapolis City Council voted to approve the county's plan to reconstruct Minnehaha Avenue with a buffered bike lane, not a protected one.
The BAC recommended that the city stop using ambiguous "share the road" signs during bike detours, and suggested that they use "bikes may use full lane" instead. The Hiawatha LRT trail is set to open on January 14, 2014, according to Metro Transit.
The Midtown Greenway ramp at Bryant Avenue (the eastbound one) is set to open soon, also. The ramp has been closed for well over a year, and the city hasn't collected any fees from the developers for obstructing the 300-foot ramp. The standard rate for obstructing a bike lane is
$1 25 cents* per linear foot per day, which gives obstructors an disincentive to infinite obstruction. The city "really wants to prevent it from happening again."
If you thought we were done talking about Minnehaha, you were wrong. The county's long-range plan is to close a tiny part of the street, between Franklin Avenue and Cedar Avenue in Seward. There's a Taco Bell there right now. You might recall from the city's report on bike-car crashes (PDF) that the intersection of Cedar and Franklin has the highest volume of bike crashes in the city, so it's really great that they're rebuilding the intersection to be safer.
Open Streets is coming back in 2014, bigger and better than ever. The city has budgeted for five or six events, and Ethan Fawley said they'd like to "spread the love" to new areas of the city. Here are some routes in consideration:
Franklin Avenue in Seward
Chicago Avenue South
Nicollet Avenue South
North Minneapolis Greenway (Humboldt and Irving avenues North)
Lowry Avenue North
Hennepin Avenue (Downtown)
Central Avenue Northeast
*Thanks to a friend of the coalition who has access to lane closure billings and was able to give the usual rate for closing a bike lane.