1) Franklin Ave bike lanes. It was widely reported by both yours truly and others in attendance at the Minnesota Bike Summit on Monday that bike lanes would soon be coming to Franklin Ave, unfortunately that doesn’t actually seem to be the case. The report was generated from comments made by Barb Thoman from Transit for Livable Communities, who mentioned that bike lanes would be put onto Franklin Avenue along with countdown timers and additional pedestrian enhancements to the are. Looking at the actual announcement (thanks for the head’s up Julie) on the Bike Walk Twin Cities website, casts some doubt on whether or not this is going to actually happen. To begin with the amount of money for the full project ($62,000) combined with the other improvements that they are planning doesn’t really leave anything to re-stripe or re-configure the road side, based on bike lane cost estimates. The second issue is that they are only looking to change four total intersections Franklin between 23rd to 26th avenues). Even if you put bike lanes for the length of those blocks, it would take some work to try to connect these to the rest of the cycling infrastructure in the area. Until we get some more details on this, we are calling ourselves out for pre-mature lane exclaiming.
2) Hiawatha Trail Connection. If you have ever ridden along the Hiawatha light rail into downtown, you know that it abruptly stops at 11th Ave S. No signs, no warning just a fence and a parking lot. If you follow the bike lanes on 11th Ave Northeast towards the river, that will lead you to additional lanes into downtown, but unless you know it’s there, you are out of luck. Today the Start Tribune is reporting that the city is finally going to make the connection for you. Instead of cutting through the Valspar parking lot (see picture) you will be able to keep sailing on through to downtown. Hopefully, this work gets done at the same time that the Cedar-Riverside section of the trial is shut down, so that when it re-opens it will be complete, but we aren’t holding our breath. Another tidbit from the article is that the mostly completed but closed Cedar Lake Trail will be opened up (check out the second map to see where we are talking about). Thanks to Mark McClure for the fine artwork on the Cedar Lake Trail Map.