After a short delay to the start time of the project (originally scheduled for August 5th) the year of the Hiawatha LRT Detour will begin today.
As the deadline approached last week we realized that while we have ridden past it dozens of times, we didn’t actually know where the 5th Street detour actually was, so we decided to check it out.
Riders traveling into Downtown on the Hiawatha LRT will no doubt recognize the intersection where the detour begins. The currently awkward railroad/ median crossing which was required to continue straight will now turn into a left hand turn over the railroad tracks to find the tracks. The walkway/bikeway has been in place for sometime, however, it is rarely used, and definitely not a friendly as the LRT trail has been. Entering the path from the road requires a somewhat hard right hand turn, and the growth of shrubbery makes it difficult to see what is coming, so take it slowly.
The sidewalk itself is very narrow, as the picture to the right demonstrates. We aren’t quite sure that two cyclists will be able to pass each other without an accidental brush up. In fact it would be pretty surprising if the city did not post a “must walk bicycles” sign.
Be prepared to have cars speeding past you while you ride, they are exiting a highspeed area so it will take a little while to decelerate. In fact with a big enough truck or bus, you will feel the whoosh of air coming past you.
We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating; this isn’t the best scenario for a heavily traveled route, but for the next year, it will have to do. Ride safely folks!
UPDATE: See the comments below for an update from Randall. It sounds like since we made our visit last week and snapped these pictures big improvements have been made to widen the area and improve the rideability. Have you had a chance to get over to the new and improved detour? If so hit us up in the comments and let us know what you think.