Bike Safety Whack-A-Mole on Midtown Greenway

A group of bike commuters in Minneapolis are taking a glass half empty approach to the new crossing of Hiawatha. While the Hiawatha bridge will help bikers avoid 6 lanes of traffic, they’ll now have to deal with 4 lanes of traffic on 28th St withotu traffic signals. More precisely, there is a planned yellow flashing light but nothing to stop car traffic in either direction.

Here is a shot of the area where the bridge comes back to street level and crosses 28th:

Future Midtown Greenway Route

Frankly, I don’t see a particularly difficult area to cross. Especially compared to crossings further West in St. Louis Park. However, here’s the take of a fellow bike commuter from MPLSBikeLove.com:

When a popular local cyclist dies at the 28th Street intersection because one car barreled on through the blinking yellow light, while two lanes of 28th Street traffic stopped and waved the cyclist through, we’ll have a big memorial effort, the city will be eager to put up a suitable crossing light, and donations will pour in so that we can have a proper traffic signal. But why should we have to suffer through the tear-jerking TV and newspaper coverage when we could just cut out that dead middleman altogether?

Let’s just have a “Pre-Memorial” campaign in “pre-Memory” of you, me, the promising young grad student from the U, the funny kid who always loved to bike …. Our “Pre-Memorial Fund” can raise the 50 grand that an ideal traffic light would probably cost, and get a system with the two features cited above.

This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t support a below or above grade crossing that would allow me to keep my momentum. But as far as safety goes, the sight lines are pretty long and traffic from the East is coming off a turn so shouldn’t be moving particularly fast.

If I was to predict a bike-car accident on the Midtown Greenway, I’d go with one of the at grade crossings to the East of Minnehaha. The sight lines suck and cross traffic has little warning about the trail. Especially from the South.

Midtown Greenway’s Hiawatha Suspension Bridge



Midtown Greenway’s, originally uploaded by edkohler.

The suspension beam is in place for the Midtown Greenway bike trail’s crossing of Hiawatha Ave and the LRT.

The bridge is unique to Minnesota with a one-beam suspension style.

Some have criticized the bridge for it’s price. The Other Mike and I calculated that this bridge costs the equivalent of 6 minutes of Bush’s war in Iraq.