Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

The Hunt for the Worst Bike Lane in the Midwest

I'm sure everyone has a personal "bike route" nemesis in their city. Mine, for instance, is the bike lane that exists only for the length of an important bridge but also switches lanes without warning in the middle of the bridge. (This also occurs right at the height of the bridge, where's it's difficult to see the road ahead of you.)

false

When it comes to crappy bike infrastructure, I think Cleveland could give any city in the Midwest a run for its money. But Bill Lindeke at Network blog Twin City Sidewalks is out to settle this once and for all.

Lindeke says he has located the worst bike lane in the Midwest and it's in Minneapolis. He's even devised a formula to determine the worst of the worst:

I'm sure the battle for "worst bike lane in the Midwest" is a contentious one. The USA is riddled with terrible bicycle infrastructure, from sea to shining sea. In fact, almost every bike lane is bad (by standards of "good bike lanes," which only rarely exist anywhere). So basically, most bike lanes are bad and spotty and have huge gaps that force bicyclists to almost completely lose whatever dignity they might briefly have attained during their bicycle ride.

And if you're in a country where bad bike lanes are commonplace, how do you go about choosing the "worst" one? That's really where this discussion should be heading. Given this treacherous landscape, I'm going to suggest the following equation for choosing the worst bike lane: [total # of riders] + [quality of bike lane] = [total bike lane quality impact]. And, using this equation, I want to propose that this tiny 1.5 block stretch of "bike lane" on the University of Minnesota campus is, in fact, the worst bike lane in Midwestern USA.

There are thousands of bikes everyday day going in between these two main routes. And, what kind of bike lane connects these two major thoroughfares? This crappy strip of narrow concrete is shared not only by tons of pedestrians and separated from the bike lanes by concrete barriers, strange crosswalks, and a ramp. On top of that, it serves as a loading dock for some sort of highly explosive-looking chemical facility, and routinely features huge semi trucks backing into and out of this tiny cramped space through which these large numbers of bicycles are supposed to flow.

Got a bad one in your city? Let us know where to avoid in the comments.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Baltimore Spokes shares a new tool developed by the World Health Organization that estimates the positive health impact of walking or biking infrastructure in dollar terms. Spacing Toronto reports that Mayor Rob Ford's ridiculous transit plan (subways to the suburbs) has, predictably, fallen flat and potentially ruined his political career. And PubliCola looks at the relative success of dynamic parking in both Seattle and San Francisco.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Talking Headways Podcast: Charging Up Transportation

This week, we talk to the great Gabe Klein, executive director of President Biden's Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (and a former Streetsblog board member), about curbside electrification.

April 18, 2024

Why Does the Vision Zero Movement Stop At the Edge of the Road?

U.S. car crash deaths are nearly 10 percent higher if you count collisions that happen just outside the right of way. So why don't off-road deaths get more air time among advocates?

April 18, 2024

Donald Shoup: Here’s a Parking Policy That Works for the People

Free parking has a veneer of equality, but it is unfair. Here's a proposal from America's leading parking academic that could make it more equitable.

April 18, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Turn Up the Heat

Whether you realize it or not, climate change is here, and not just in the form of natural disasters.

April 18, 2024

Calif. Legislators Tackle AV, School Zone Safety

Are AVs freight trucks ready to be deployed on California roads with no one in them?

April 17, 2024
See all posts