Controversial in places, “Stone Arch Bridge and Presidents Bicycle Boulevard” progresses in Northeast Minneapolis

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Construction cones gone, the slabs of concrete in the middle of Lowry Avenue at Polk now have permanent signage. People are still asking “what are those things and why are they there?” They are part of the traffic calming measures for the “Stone Arch Bridge & Presidents Bicycle Boulevard.”

According to the City of Minneapolis website, the boulevard runs along these streets (from north to south) as shown in the accompanying map:

  • Polk Street NE – 37th to 36th Avenues
  • 36th Avenue NE – Polk to Tyler Streets
  • Tyler Street NE – 36th to 29th Avenues
  • Polk Street NE – 29th to 22nd Avenues
  • 22nd Avenue NE – Polk to Fillmore Streets
  • Fillmore Street NE – 22nd Avenue to Winter Street
  • Winter Street NE – Fillmore to Pierce Streets
  • Pierce Street NE – Winter Street to East Hennepin Avenue
  • East Hennepin Avenue – Pierce Street NE to Fifth Avenue SE
  • Fifth Avenue SE – East Hennepin Avenue to 9th Street SE
  • Ninth Street SE – Fifth to Sixth Avenues SE
  • Sixth Avenue SE – 9th Street SE to the Stone Arch Bridge

Bicycle boulevards are low-traffic, slow speed streets marked with bike symbols, with special treatment at intersections, where bikes share the road with cars. Bicycle boulevards are planned on all of the streets listed above, with the exception of East Hennepin Avenue, where the sidewalk will be used, and Sixth Avenue SE between University Avenue and the Stone Arch Bridge, where bike lanes already exist. Bike racks will be installed in some places.

Green and white wayfinding signs have been installed. The streets have not been marked. Aside from Lowry, here are the other traffic calming and stop sign changes. They are yet to be funded and installed.

  • Tyler Street at 34th Avenue; curb extensions, change north-south stop signs to north-south yield signs.
  • Fifth Avenue SE at Hennepin Avenue; overhead pedestrian/bicycle flasher and crosswalk
  • Sixth Avenue SE at Seventh Street SE; curb extensions (scheduled for 2014 construction, design pending)
Fillmore and Spring where neighborhood feedback stopped the construction.

On Polk Street at 28th Avenue, they’ve placed a miniature traffic circle, and removed stop signs for a 4-way yield (meaning traffic is supposed to slow down, follow the sign which indicates how to turn around the circle on its right, for a left or to go straight).

In Beltrami Neighborhood, where workers had dug out pavement for another mini traffic circle at Fillmore and Spring, Third Ward Council Member Diane Hofstede requested that the Public Works Department put construction on hold “because of the feedback received by me from community members, and businesses stakeholders, in order to engage the community in a discussion about the design of the intersection, and meet the needs of neighborhood.”

In a letter hand-delivered to nearby residents, she said “Public Works crews will be filling the hole with temporary concrete and gravel. Crews will also place a test miniature traffic circle, in order to evaluate concerns, including parking, and truck and school bus access. This will be a test and temporary measure, and will have temporary traffic posts and yield signs. Parking will not be removed as part of the test. The test does not mean the traffic circle will be permanent, or that any parking will be removed.”

Hofstede met with neighbors and Public Works representatives Wednesday, Nov. 13, about design options. It’s expected a solution will be decided and implemented in the first half of 2014.

For more information, contact Shaun Murphy with Public Works at 612-673-3166, shaun.murphy@minneapolismn.gov. You can also visit the Presidents Bike Boulevard website at www.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles/projects/Stone-Arch-Bridge-Presidents.