Minneapolis Sets Out to Build 30 Miles of Protected Bike Lanes By 2020

Minneapolis is planning to construct 30 miles of protected bike lanes over the next 5 years. Image: City of Minneapolis
Minneapolis is planning to construct 48 miles of protected bike lanes over the next 10 years. Click to enlarge. Map: City of Minneapolis

Minneapolis is one of the best cities for biking in the U.S., and it wants to get better. Last week the city released a plan to build 30 miles of protected bike lanes over the next five years and a total of 48 over 10 years.

Minneapolis has an expansive, widely used trail system, and its 4.5 percent bike commute mode-share is second among major American cities, after Portland, Oregon. Still, it currently has fewer than two miles of on-street protected bike lanes.

“Biking is part of our identity. It’s part of what makes Minneapolis a great place to live and protected bike lanes are the next step forward,” said Ethan Fawley, director of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. “It’s investments in quality of life, it’s investment in health and access that helps attract people here.”

The 30-mile plan is expected to cost about $6 million, with funding coming from city, county, and federal budgets. Minneapolis will also save money by folding bike lane construction into regularly scheduled road resurfacing projects, according to the Star Tribune. The paper notes the entire plan will cost less than building a single mile of roadway.

The city has tentatively identified 19 corridors that will get protected bike lanes. About half are in downtown or the University of Minnesota area. The other half are in outlying neighborhoods that aren’t currently well-served by bike infrastructure, said Fawley.

Fawley says the plan will undergo a public comment period but he doesn’t expect there to be much resistance or major changes. The city had hoped to install 8 miles of protected bike lanes this year, but it doesn’t look like it will quite reach that goal, due to some construction delays.

  • Gezellig

    The 30-mile plan is expected to cost about $6 million,The paper notes the entire plan will cost less than building a single mile of roadway.

    Yes. This.

    Also, congrats, Minneapolis!

  • BBnet3000

    Bicycling Magazine’s next #1 cycling city, and deserving it this time?

  • J

    Seattle is doing great stuff as well. My money is on Seattle for now.

    http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/04/03/city-updates-short-term-bike-facilities-plan/

  • Overall this looks great for Mpls. However, there was no mention of junctions nor of the design or quality of these protected bikeways. How successful will even very well designed protected bikeways be if the junctions are scary and dangerous or require bicycle riders to stop and press beg buttons every time?

  • It’s a great idea, but cyclists still need to “keep their head on a pivot”, and maintain “situational awareness”. What we fear most is getting hit from behind, but most car vs bike accidents don’t involve getting hit from behind.

  • Actually they do. IIRC, 40% of fatalities according to a recent LAB report were hit from behind. Fatalities at junctions came in about 32%.

  • Sam

    Awesome! More miles for the militant bicyclists to disobey the traffic laws while yelling at you about their “rights to the road”.

  • Well, yeah, but 40% is less than 51%, which is what would qualify as “most” in my book… These statistics count BMX’ers doing insane stunts?
    Forty percent is a lot. I don’t know if cyclists are supposed to have rear-view mirrors (I strongly recommend mirrors) . I don’t know if motorists can be held accountable for not watching where they are going, it seems like they are not…
    IF cyclists were top follow the FRAP ( Far Right As Practicable ) rule, would it not be too much to ask that the overtaking driver move as far LEFT as practicable?

  • Gezellig

    Actually, that’s exactly what protected bike lanes help do–increase compliance and safety among all road users:

    After implementing protected bike lanes, cities are typically seeing the following results:

    –> fewer bikes on sidewalks (despite the raw increase in # of bikes)
    –> safer crossing distances for pedestrians
    –> less speeding by drivers
    –> lower injuries for all road users

    More data:

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-10/classified/ct-met-getting-around-0610-20130610_1_cyclists-signals-bike-traffic

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2014-09-03-bicycle-path-data-analysis.pdf

  • Timothy53

    Is the cost of magic green paint coming down?

  • Gezellig

    Yes, Costco’s selling it by the vat now.

    Either that, or maybe Minneapolis won’t need to use much.

  • Joshua Strayhorn

    Here is an example of 1 of 3 Colored Lane Treatments offered by Ennis-Flint!

    http://www.ennisflint.com/Products/Colored-Lanes-Area-Markings

  • I’m still waiting for a U.S. city to roll this out…

  • Michael Andersen
  • R.A. Stewart

    I certainly do when driving (which by necessity is how most of my traveling is done now) and have taught my kids the same–they and I have biked on city streets and know too well how harrowing close-passing traffic can be.

    But I think most drivers in my city follow the FLAPINTIAIIHTGUFMSLETN rule (Far Left As Practicable If Not Too Inconvenient And If I Happen To Glance Up From My Smartphone Long Enough To Notice).

  • donnasaggia

    actually, they really don’t “protect” bikers since they narrow the streets for cars to the point where many cars have to drive partially in the bike lane to avoid oncoming traffic. Bike lanes for the handful of people who use them are simply not a good use of tax payer money. Very bad idea.

  • donnasaggia

    Even with their own bike lanes, bikers don’t seem content. Too often I
    have seen them ignore traffic lights and stop signs, and ride two
    abreast, which puts them in the car lane and forces cars to swerve
    around them. Too many bikers either don’t know, or don’t care about the
    rules of the road and driver courtesy.

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