Aug 16, 2008

My Recommendation on Bike Boulevards for MPLS

Not that I think the world necessarily wants to know my opinion, but I am going to bravely wade in to the murky waters of Bike Boulevards.

For those that may not be following along, MPLS/St. Paul is getting some Bike Boulevards! Shi-shi and the guys at Hiawatha Cyclery covered this better than I would so here's a link for background material.

I like the concept of bike boulevards, but from what I have gleened from the press coverage and the blogs, this will not make much of a positive impact on my day-to-day existance, so here's what I would like to see.

The bike routes north and south from what I will call "south cental Minneapolis" run north on Park Ave. and South of Portland Ave. These are busy one-way streets that run from Minehaha Parkway to downtown. Between them lies the overlooked and uncharted wilderness called Oakland Ave. I ride Park and Portland a lot since that's the shortest, fastest route from my house to my office in downtown. Both of these streets have high levels of traffic, and although the bike lanes are on the "wrong side" of the rode (I like this - it decreases the chance of a driver opening his/her door into the bike lane) and I have never had a "near miss" on these streets, the fact is that these streets are just not very pleasant to ride on.

It seems to me that running bikes up and down Oakland would streamline bike travel into downtown for many riders from So. MPLS and Richfield, get bikes off of the two busiest one-way streets in the area and improve the quality of life for cyclist throughout the south metro. Of couse, we are constrained on where we can cross I-35W/I-94, so my plan would use Park and Portland from just south of the freeways and into downtown.

The one caveat here is that I have not actually ridden this route; I plan to ride this tomorrow and reality check this idea. If things go according to plan, I willl update this post with some photos and real-work observations on Sunday.

By the way, the photo at the top of this post of the Port of Anchorage, and has nothing at all to do with the content of this post. It is simply a visual element to add interest to this blog.

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