A Look at Longfellow in the Minneapolis Bike Plan

Minneapolis 2nd Ward City Council Member, Cam Gordon, recently blogged about the new Minneapolis Bike Plan which outlines what we have today and where things should head in the future. There are some great ideas in this plan. It looks like some solid work went into putting this together, and I hope the plan is taken seriously as roads are reconstructed in the future.

The full plan can be found here.

I snapped a shot of the Longfellow portion of the city map for discussion. Here that is along with the legend:

Longfellow Bike Master Plan

Minneapolis Longfellow Bike Plan Legend

I think the 46th Ave S / Dorman / 28th Street bike path improvement is a great one to have on this list. 46th is a major thru-way for bike commuters who really are trying to get from point-A to point-B rather than meander along West River Parkway, dodging leisure cyclists, runners, and dog walkers.

I’ve lived on 46th for 7 years now, so know a little something about the traffic behavior in the area. One challenge the street faces is dealing with cars that treat it as a major thoroughfare. 46th is the first N-S running street west of the Mississippi that runs all the way from the Ford Bridge to Lake Street, and it seems to attract people from places like Highland Park in St. Paul who cross the Ford Bridge then blast their way through residential streets. I get the impression that part of this is due to the design of the street. On the southern part of 46th Ave S, from 46th Street to 38th Street, the street is quite a bit wider and is a bus route. This was also a streetcar route back in the day. But, the streetcar turned west at 41st, then worked its way north again on 42nd Ave S. Unfortunately, car drivers don’t seem to play by the same rules as street cars or bus routes. Car drivers seem to continue at the same pace even after the street gets narrower, making things more dangerous for people getting in/out of cars, and, of course, bikers who suddenly have less room to work with between parked and driven cars.

So, should 46th Ave S get a bike-friendly upgrade, one consideration should be to attempt to steer car drivers back onto the wider thru-way streets. That would be better for cyclists continuing on 46th, and for residents living on the narrower streets further up 46th, like me.

5 thoughts on “A Look at Longfellow in the Minneapolis Bike Plan”

  1. I live on 32nd Ave. I’m all for this plan and the bicycle boulevard that is planned for 32nd. 32nd gets a lot of traffic, and I feel gets used as an alternative to Lake street. Trucks, especially use 32nd, because they seem to turn onto it from 55, or cross at 55. Adding traffic calming measure such as bump-outs and bollards would be more than welcome.

  2. The River Lake Greenway improvements have really helped 42nd St, slowing down cars and making it more pedestrian friendly. I haven’t actually biked it yet, but walking is a lot easier.

    We take 46th Ave all the time from SoLo to Lake street, just out of habit. It’s not any faster than 42nd Ave, which is really where more cars should be driving

  3. I too bike and drive this area of Longfellow, and personally I think 42nd Ave is a deadtrap between 38th and Lake Sts. given the narrow lanes and volume of parked cars that line it. Wisely they only allow parking on one side, but that produces some lines of parked vehicles that makes it a challenge to peek beyond to spot moving vehicles. I never bike it and even hate to cross it in bike or car.

    I have similar feelings about 46th, because of the narrowing between 41st to about 32nd, which is accented by parking being allowed on both sides of the street. I rarely bike or drive it, because it also has stop signs every couple blocks. If prefer the meandering of W River Rd…more relaxing drive with better view and less stop signs.

    In the battle between bikers and drivers–I probably still see more bad biking than bad driving…and I see a lot of bad driving. I’ve witnessed two blown red lights by cars in the past month, the first I had to lock up to avoid.

    Drivers often do rolling stops through stop signs and right turn reds, especially in rush hours, which I believe bikers have now come to expect. And bikers routinely run stop signs and roll through any red lights (usually after looking of course), which I believe drivers have now come to expect.

    However all of this now leads to sloppiness between everyone at intersections, as those who do understand what is going to happen and those who don’t as they drive in some weather induced fog meet in this dangerous dance. You’d like to expect everyone to be aware and sensible, but that is a bit much to expect all that time, no?

  4. @The Other Mike, back in the street car days, the tracks turned west from 42nd Ave S at 34th Street, then north again on 36th to Lake. Things really do get tight on 42nd once north of Turtle Bread. Making a left onto 42nd Ave S from 33rd through 31st is a roll of the dice due to the blindspot caused by the density of cars parked along the east side of 42nd.

  5. Be careful what you wish for. Lofo wouldn’t be Lofo without River Road, and this plan could ruin it.

    I drive 46th avenue all the time, rather than take River Road, when I go to 94E to get to work. Up until 38th street it really isn’t a residential street and all of a sudden it becomes one. This has always been troubling and is a real mess in winter when it basically becomes a one lane road.

    However, I choose to take 46th not because I want to see your house (but it is always a nice bonus) but because I want to stay off River Road. The way I see it, River Road shoud NOT be the artery it has become. It really sucks to run or bike along a beautiful boulevard that is treated like a highway. So I take 46th instead. If they turn 46th into a shared road, it will push even more vehicles to River Road.

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