The Southern Connector tour/recon went off without a hitch today. The weather and the turn-out was fantastic - I bet there were about 40 people that came and reviewed the route this afternoon.
The Southern Connector project seeks to improve north-south routes between I-35W and Cedar Ave., which is something we sorely need in MPLS. The options to do this are fairly limited because very few streets stretching between the Crosstown freeway and Franklin without a park or something interrupting them at some point; 17th, 18th and Bloomington are the few (other than Park and Portland) that meet this criteria.
The project is still in it's early phase so we are still playing the "we haven't decided anything game" at this point, but the concepts they are working with include either bike lanes on Bloomington Ave. or a bike boulevard on 17th or 18th Ave. The bike lane on Bloomington seems like a difficult option - north of 38th Street there's heavy street parking on both sides of the street, so they would have to take that away to make room for a bike lane, and that would be controversial. 17th seems like the best option because it's a little wider than 18th and there's an existing traffic light to get us all safely across Lake Street.
I am excited by the possibility of a bike boulevard nearby to see how much better these things are to the typical city street. Additionally, I am past ready for a more pleasant alternative than Park and Portland for my commute. The City has apparently been doing some pretty heavy outreach with the neighborhood associations and there seems to be support for the project, so that bodes well.