University Ave SE/4th St SE Protected Bike Lanes Project: Where Are We Now?

The stakeholder group for the University Ave SE/4th St SE protected bike lanes plan met earlier this week and discussed where the project currently stands and what the next steps will be. The most recent update is the decision to move the current informal stakeholder group to become the main group for the City and County. We discussed who to invite to be part of this group and how the future work of the group would be formatted.

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This project is moving along! From collecting surveys at Open Streets University of Minnesota (and online) in fall 2016 until now, progress has been made. The City is in the process of finalizing data analysis for the traffic study, which will help inform the decision about which protected bike lane plan will be implemented. Installation of a protected bike lane (or lanes) will not happen for a couple of years, but that doesn’t mean behind-the-scenes work isn’t happening! Let’s review where we’re at:

Where is it?

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Photo courtesy of Simon Blenksi, City of Minneapolis

Between Central Ave SE and Oak St SE, running along University Ave SE/4th St SE. There are two plans being considered: either a 2-way protected bike lane on University Ave alone, or a 1-way protected bike lane along University Ave going east and a 1-way protected bike lane along 4th St going west. The streets are within the city limits, but two different groups have jurisdiction over either side-- Hennepin county west of 35W and MNDOT east of 35W.

What is the purpose of the traffic study?

The Minneapolis Master Bicycle Plan has identified this corridor as a feasible location to install a protected bike lane but no preferred bikeway design has been decided upon. The aim of this study is to understand the related impacts on the corridor of the types of protected bikeway options, which will help to decide on a preferred plan. Additionally, the study evaluates different protected bikeway options (plastic posts or something more substantial, such as a concrete curb or concrete planter boxes).

What has happened so far?

Lots of engagement! Various groups, including the University District Alliance, Council Members Frey and Gordon, and the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition have all been doing outreach and engagement around the project to get the community’s input and feedback on the proposed plan. Last fall and continuing into this winter, technical work has been taking place.
open-streets-university-of-minnesota---2015_21620957302_o.jpg Specifically, traffic counts have been collected, observations about curbside use have been made, and evaluations about developing the corridor options has taken place.

What is the proposed schedule going forward?

The stakeholder group will continue to meet on a monthly basis from March to May. These meetings serve as a time for discussion about project updates and reporting back from community engagement activities. The city traffic study will be presented to elected officials this summer with refined recommendations about which plan is preferred. Right now, we are looking at the protected bike lanes being implemented in either 2018 or 2019.

How can I find out more information or get involved?

We’d love to have your feedback! We are in the process of planning a public open house in April for people to come and discuss project details, as well as have a time to give input. Be sure to check back for a specific date and time! We’d love to see you there.

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