08/17/12

Extending the network beyond the core citiesExtending the network beyond the core cities

New routes this fall: extending the network beyond the core cities

The Bike Walk Twin Cities nonmotorized transportation pilot program has funded more than 75 miles of new bikeways and sidewalks. The new projects began to show up on streets and sidewalks in 2010. Several new routes opened in 2011, including bicycle boulevards (40th & 42nd Streets, Bryant Avenue, 5th St NE, 22nd Avenue NE) and bike lanes (1st & Blaisdell, Emerson & Fremont, 7th St N., Como Avenue). This year will see more new routes, expanding the network in first-ring communities of Edina, Richfield, Fridley, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and Roseville.

 

Here's a summary of the suburban routes opening this fall. Stay tuned for details of grand opening celebrations. Thanks to the hard-working city and public works staff in each of these communities and to bicycling and walking advocates and residents who have contributed to making these plans come to life on the streets and sidewalks.

 

Rosedale Mall to U of M Campuses

New bike and pedestrian facilities will connect Roseville, Falcon Heights, and Lauderdale to both the Saint Paul and Minneapolis campuses of the University of Minnesota. In Roseville, at the northern end of the new facilities, bike lanes along Fairview Avenue will link to existing bike routes that run north along Fairview and east-west adjacent to W County Road B2.

 

Fall plans include installing a new sidewalk near the Rosedale Mall where this pedestrian cow path currently exists.

The project provides a path under Hwy 36, making it easier to walk or bike to Rosedale Mall, where there also is a Metro Transit center serving both regular and commuter/express bus routes (32, 65, 84, 87, 223, 225, 227, 260, 264, 801).

 

Also well-served by the new route are an elementary school and the community center. Heading south along Fairview, past Evergreen Park and Corpus Christi Catholic Church, the route then heads west with bike lanes along Larpenteur Ave. to the U of M  Golf Course or turns south along Gortner Avenue into the U of M Saint Paul Campus, near the State Fair grounds.

 

At Commonwealth Ave/West Dan Patch Ave, the route connects to the U of M Transitway to the Minneapolis campus and other Minneapolis destinations. The Transitway also connects to bike lanes on Como Avenue.

 

Edina

The City of Edina recently approved final plans for a new north-south route along Wooddale Road and Valley View Road, from West 50th Street (next to the Edina Country Club), and under  Hwy 62. A phase 2 project (funds still need to be obtained) will provide safe access all the way to West 70th Street (west of Southdale Mall). The City of Edina added bike lanes and new crosswalks to a rebuilt West 70th Street last year and lowered the speed limit..

 

The project opening this year will include advisory bike lanes on Wooddale Rd-a first for Edina. This type of treatment, common in Europe, was first introduced to Minnesota along E. 14th Street in downtown Minneapolis. For more about advisory bike lanes, see this BWTC blog or this blog from Bike Edina.  

 

In addition to the north-south route, there also will be new bike lanes and advisory bike lanes on West 54th Street to France Avenue and then a bicycle boulevard  heading east   to Zenith Avenue South connecting to Minneapolis

 

Richfield

Two new north-south routes are coming to Richfield between Highway 62 (aka "The Crosstown") and East 77th Street:  a bicycle boulevard on Humboldt Avenue at the western side of the city (west of I-35W) and, on the eastern side of Richfield, advisory bike lanes on Bloomington Avenue (west of Cedar Avenue/Hwy 77).

 

The Bloomington Avenue bike route will connect with a new BWTC-funded route coming in 2013 in Minneapolis. Known as the "Southern Connector," it will run from downtown Minneapolis past Minnehaha Creek and south of Lake Nokomis to the Richfield border at Highway 62.

 

Fridley

This project improves bicycle and pedestrian access along Fridley's Main Street, through new bike lanes and a sidewalk allowing connections between the Fridley Northstar Rail Station and neighborhoods and communities to the south. Bicycles can be taken on Northstar trains-board through train doors with a bicycle symbol and look for bike storage instructions inside. The new bike lanes will also connect, via 61st Avenue NE, to the Mississippi River Regional Trail, which connects to the Grand Rounds in Minneapolis and to bike routes through Northeast Minneapolis.

 

Fridley also recently received federal Transportation Enhancements funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities on a bridge over I-694. Once built, this bridge will create much easier access for people currently using University Avenue to cross the expressway. 

 

Bike parking

New bike parking is coming along with new bike/ped facilities in Edina and Fridley. New racks also are coming in Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights, and Saint Anthony. 

 

In addition to these projects, the new SPOKES bike/walk center will open in late August, serving the Seward community. And, there will be more new projects opening in 2012 and 2013, including bicycle boulevards in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, pedestrian projects along 7th Avenue and at the Seven Corners intersection in Minneapolis, and projects that fill key gaps in the network, such as the extension of the U of M Trail to Bridge 9 over the Mississippi River.