Bike Walk Twin Cities Projects –Profile of 27th Ave SE

Bike Walk Twin Cities Projects -Profile of 27th Ave SE
By Amber Collett, Communications Associate

While Minnesota already has a solid foundation of off street trails, we've fallen behind cities such as Portland with our on-street infrastructure. Bike Walk Twin Cities, home of the non-motorized transportation pilot program, is working with several local partners to increase biking and walking and reduce unnecessary driving in Minneapolis and surrounding communities. We are working through education, outreach, evaluation, and infrastructure improvements to make bicycling and walking more pleasant and convenient for Twin Cities' residents.

BWTC is dedicated to improving infrastructure in key areas. The goal is to create connections and fill in the gaps in the system. By strengthening bicycling and walking corridors throughout the Metro area, residents will have greater freedom to "be their own engine." A number of new on-street facilities in Minneapolis and surrounding communities will open in 2010. In Minneapolis, the bike-way systems will more than double by the end of this year.
As these projects hit the pavement, so to speak, we will be featuring before and after shots of each area as well as blogs detailing what the changes mean for all road users.



27th Ave SE

27th Ave SE, near the University of Minnesota and affordable housing, is a natural corridor between several densely-populated neighborhoods in Minneapolis (Prospect Park, Cedar Riverside, Dinkytown, and Seward). Currently, a significant barrier along this corridor is the lack of an exclusive, usable space for cyclists. Bike riders also risk catching a tire in a railroad track that crosses the road at a 45 degree angle. BWTC awarded $100,000 to the City of Minneapolis to add bicycle lanes to the 27th Ave SE corridor to reduce that barrier and encourage increased bicycle use.

The bike lane will begin at the intersection of Franklin Ave and 27th Ave SE. From there, the bike corridor goes northeast for 0.03 miles, then due north for 0.32 miles to Essex Street. It then veers back to the northeast for 0.2 miles to University Avenue. The signed connection to the UM Transitway Bike Trail continues northeast on 27th Ave for 0.08 miles before turning southeast on 4th St for 0.14 miles.

The on-street improvements will include signage to alert bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers of the bike lane, striping, seal coating and bicycle racks. Moreover, the bike lane will pull away from the road to ensure that cyclists are crossing the railroad tracks at a right angle.
The major change along the 27th Ave SE project is a "road diet." To accommodate the bike lanes, 27th Ave SE will go from having 4 lanes to 2 lanes. Road diets will be used at several other Bike Walk Twin Cities funded projects in the future.

Steve Clark, Program Manager at Bike Walk Twin Cities, had this to say about the project:

"We have to give the City a lot of credit with this one, going from 4 lanes to 2 lanes in order to add bike lanes. Two other features that make this a great model project are how the gutter pan is being paved over (so there will be smooth pavement for cyclists riding right next to the curb) and the extra pavement being added at the rail road tracks so bicyclists can cross the tracks at a right angle."

Though only 0.55 miles long, this project provides a vital link in Southeast Minneapolis for bicyclists and pedestrians. Moreover, once the Central Corridor Light Rail Line is in place, there will be a stop 0.2 miles from 27th Ave SE. By serving as a north-south connection between 2 major bicycle trails (E. River Road and the UM Transitway), and by providing an easy connection between the Prospect Park, Cedar Riverside, Seward, and University neighborhoods, the improvements to 27th Ave SE will encourage social interaction and safety.

Look for these changes "on the ground" later this summer.