There was snow on the ground when the overhead signs went in, but the 18th Avenue Bikeway was technically closed to traffic at University Avenue until just recently, when the last pieces went in.
“The flasher [overhead] indicates for traffic to be cautious,” said City of Minneapolis Project Engineer Meseret Wolana, “bikers will have to push the button.” Pedestrians push a button to get lights to change in their favor, and people on bikes can’t just blow through, they, too, need to cross with the light.
The trail also crosses Fifth, Fourth, and Third streets NE with speed tables, where the grade changes slowly up to the bike path, accompanied by lower speed signs, posted at 15 miles per hour. At Second Street NE, there is a bumpout that allows bikes to cross the otherwise four lanes of traffic in one lane each way. “It pushes traffic to the center, giving the biker a shorter distance” and good visibility at the crossing, Wolana said.
So far, there’s no formal celebration set to christen the route. One community activist reached, Mike Rainville, said he was just thinking back on 11 years since neighbors started working toward bike paths, and said, “I’ll keep you in the loop” if there is anything planned.
Tim Kremer, president of Bottineau Neighborhood Association, said “We’re still waiting for the 22nd Avenue bike paths to be painted. We need momentum.” He said he likes the 18th Avenue bike improvements, “it’s a nice piece to the puzzle.”
For more information on the project specifications, see www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/public-works/cip/18bikeway/ (not updated with the “finished” status). In that same general URL are details and status reports on other Northeast projects underway.