Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A group of bicyclists want a protected bike lane on a busy road in Minneapolis.
Minnehaha Avenue is set for reconstruction in 2015. Many in the local biking community would like to see a lane that physically separates them from both pedestrians and car traffic – a lane called a “cycle track.”
For people who bike along Minnehaha, getting from point A to point B is a challenge. Nicole Nafziger knows firsthand how being so close to traffic can make for a scary experience when riding in the bike lane.
“We need a dedicated bike way that’s not tangling with the cars and not tangling with the pedestrians,” Nafziger said.
She is one of a thousand people who signed petition cards asking for a protected bike lane on Minnehaha from 46th Avenue to Lake Street.
“It’s just a mental separation of space,” she said. “It makes people feel more comfortable, and when the things next to you aren’t moving by quickly, you don’t feel like you’re so vulnerable.”
Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition’s Ethan Fawley says since construction is already in the works for the street, adding a cycle track makes sense.
After several community meetings and an Open Streets event Sunday, the group is ready to ask for a seat at the table when Hennepin County makes its recommendation for Minnehaha’s redesign.
“The county has two proposals: one is pretty similar to what it looks like here on Minnehaha right now,” Fawley said.
That’s the proposal county engineers favor. They have safety concerns about adding a cycle track to Minnehaha. They feel it could make it less safe at intersections.
Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is hoping for a design that is bike friendly and does not impact parking spaces or trees.
“We’re just taking the bike lanes that are currently in the streets and we take that space and we move it off to the side here and have a curb that separates where people bike from where people park and where they drive,” he said.
This is far from being a done deal. There will be another round of community meetings in September, and the county plans to take the issue to the Minneapolis City Council in November.