A couple interesting items from this week’s TPW committee:
- 22nd St E (re)construction.
This is not a typical reconstruction as the street was never “built” – it is still an “oiled dirt” street (a bit of a misnomer; I believe these are original dirt streets that used to be covered with oil in the old style but now are patched with asphalt). Also, in a fun twist on the typical street “reconstruction,” 22nd will follow a new alignment that will reconnect it to Cedar Ave, only 61 years after it was severed in the ill-advised freewayfication of the Cedar-Franklin-Hiawatha intersection. Here is the layout:
The plan is a vast improvement over the existing street – the narrowed intersection with Snelling banishes the menace of speeding trucks that make the city’s industrial districts so unpleasant. Right now 22nd St is connected to Cedar Ave with a crumbly staircase; presumably the roadway and sidewalk connections will be a much better option for the many potential users on wheels.
The Project Map included in the committee report omitted two things: First, a left turn lane on Cedar, which Seward Neighborhood Group and Redesign want here in order to close Minnehaha Ave between Franklin and Cedar. The city believes that there will be too much traffic in the future to close that road, however, and as far as I know they are planning to reconstruct the intersection with a very similar layout to what is there today.
Second, the map is missing a connection from the new 22nd St to the Light Rail Trail. The existing connection runs on public right-of-way that is being used as parking for some anonymous industry, and consists of a steep curb that is softened by a wood plank. Sometimes the excitement of the connection is enhanced by repositioning the wood plank in lots of dangerous ways. Apparently the long-term plan is for the main neighborhood connection to the trail to be at 24th St, but it seems like now may be a good time to add a cheap asphalt ramp or something at 22nd St.
As you can see, the project map is not very detailed. It’s possible those two omitted items are actually a part of this project. I couldn’t find any more details on the project page, though, so we’ll have to wait and see.
2. Lowry Bridge Bike Lanes
There’s a ton of confusion about whether or not there will be bike facilities included on the new Lowry Bridge, despite their inclusion on the Minneapolis Bike Master Plan of 2001. Apparently 10 years wasn’t enough time for Hennepin County to find time to look at that plan, so they designed the Lowry Bridge without bike facilities (or narrowed the bridge to save money and thereby chucked the bike lanes? Thanks guys). Now they say they can find room for lanes or a separated trail somewhere, but the layout dated 8/30/10 included in the TPW committee agenda doesn’t show them. Maybe the county just hasn’t gotten the new layout to the city, or maybe they didn’t find room yet, or maybe they just told bicycle advocates they’d try to find room and then went upstairs and had a smoke and somebody spoke and they went into a dream. We’ll know in “Summer 2012” at the latest.