Dec 17, 2008

MARQ2: Meh.

"MARQ2" Project is now just about complete between 7th and 8th Street. For those not as close to this project, here's the background. This project preserves the two north-bound car lanes on Marquette Ave. and removes one south-bound, counterflow bike lane that was sandwiched between the north-bound lanes and a single south-bound bus lane to replace it with two south-bound bus lanes. While I knew I would miss the south-bound lane, I did not bank on the impact of the newly opened hotel to screw this up further for bicyclists.

The Foshay Tower has been converted into the swank "W" hotel (rooms are $400 per night if you are interested). The valet parking/customer drop off area in front of the hotel essentially necks Marquette down to one lane, so to get north bikers have to dodge doors and avoid getting a sideview mirror in the back of the head for that block.

They had some people taking comments on the project in the skyway on Monday and I told them that this was much less safe for bicycles than the previous arrangement. Although they will be letting bikes ride up Nicollet Ave. now, the entrance to the IDS Center is (still) on Marquette Ave., and the only way to get to that is on the busy/no bike lane 8th Ave. or to ride/walk the sidewalk (unsafe or inconvenient, take your pick). The project reps pointed out that bikes can ride in the bus lanes during non-peak hours, but that does not help commuters. She finally admitted that the project did not really support cyclists, but I doubt they will be able to do much about this.

If you click the image in this post, you can see how few streets in downtown are set up for bikes and how few connections to good streets there really are (google "complete streets" for more info). I don't really mind riding in traffic, but it really puts a lot of my co-workers off.

If Minneapolis really wants to be seen as bike-friendly, they need to look hard at this issue and make a few more connections in their central business district.

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