Skewed Turning on Minnehaha Avenue
Minnehaha Avenue is set for reconstruction in the coming years, and Hennepin County staff was on hand to give the Bicycle Advisory Committee- Engineering Subcommittee the scoop on what’s in store, and to request BAC involvement while planning. Also in attendance was Neil Trembley of the Cedar Lake Park Association to present a proposal regarding the future installation of light-rail through the Cedar Lake Trail. Here is a quick look at those projects, and a few other updates:
Minnehaha Avenue: Currently in the preliminary design phase, Hennepin County officials sought out advice on this particularly tricky thoroughfare. Riddled with issues like poor drainage, high vacancies, and the biggest issue, the skew of the road, this project holds particular importance for the bike/pedestrian community.
For reference, the “skew” is the off-set of the road with cross streets, i.e. all corners at intersections are not at right angles. This makes for blind turns, trucks and busses encroaching into opposing lanes just to make turns, and longer crossing distances for pedestrians crossing the streets. The current proposal seeks 11’ automotive lanes, 6’ bike lanes, and 7’ parking lanes. It also seeks to protect as many trees as possible, seek out sustainable solutions wherever possible, and to make pedestrian crossings safer at the nodes with the addition of bumpouts. The BAC asked about a cycle-track, as a road reconstruction project offers the unique opportunity to add curb-separated cycling facilities at little or no additional cost.
Cedar Lake Trail and the Light Rail: Neil Tremblay of the Cedar Lake Park Association came to show a proposed grade-separated crossing of the future Southwest LRT tracks and the existing Cedar Lake Trail. The Southwest LRT will cross through Cedar Lake Park, through a confluence of the Cedar Lake Trail and the Kenilworth Trail. The concept makes a separated crossing for the bike and light rail facilities, with an underpass for bikes and a bridge for the LRT. Trembley estimated the costs of building an LRT bridge over the Cedar Lake Trail to be $900,000 - $1.4 million, and emphasized that this was a small figure relative to the overall $1.2 billion Southwest LRT budget, or even the $200 million line item for bridges in other locations. The conceptual proposal also included a spur for direct access to the Penn Avenue station. The Cedar Lake Park Association requested a resolution of support for a grade-separated intersection at this location. The engineering committee expressed an interest in learning more about this location and other potential intersections and impacts with the Southwest LRT route, especially the intersection of the Kennilworth Trail and Cedar Lake Parkway.
11th Avenue S: This mill and overlay project is near completion, all it needs are bike lane symbols and an outside line painted for the 7’ parking lanes.
36th Street E/W: While the drawings are complete for this seal coating project, there is a need for further action to secure money. This project is currently in cost estimation, and is at a level that may need additional funding in comparison to other, smaller seal coat projects. Seal coating will not be finished this year; expect changes next year.
Upton Avenue S: The BAC Asked for this project, and it is currently in draft planning stages. The current concept is a bike boulevard that would serve as a parallel option to Penn Ave S.