Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dramatic Change to Downtown Bike Lane Worries Me

I new that there were going to be changes to some of the main downtown streets. Hennepin and 1st Avenue where to return to 2 way traffic. I didn't know what would happen to the bike lane on Hennepin, but was hopeful it would remain. I wasn't ready for what happened, though. My first ride down the new street had me gasping. What happened to the bike lane? Then I started to get mad. How is this progress? What's improved about this? My temper grew after talking to a friend who had been to a few Hennepin County meetings. She said that drivers had complained about being afraid of the bikes being in the middle of the road. "They're afraid of little puny bikes?!" I said. "I was hoping their fear would cause them to drive more cautiously". At one of the meetings she had asked the members if any of them rode bikes. Nobody raised a hand. After talking to her, I was furious. My thought was basically they were giving cyclists the shaft and returning the streets to 1980's conditions.

Where'd the bike lane go?

The Dream.

Hennepin before change. Bike lane in between buses and cars.

When I got home I did a little research and found that it wasn't exactly as I had imagined it. But it still isn't complete, which has all the cars using it like it's their lane. I found a video that explains how it's supposed to work and website describing the changes to Hennepin and 1st Ave.

And I didn't even get to 1st Ave, yet. That's real interesting.

The new 1st Avenue.

The Rules.


anna said...

Similar thing here -- people driving cars told me that they are afraid of such bike lanes in the middle of car lanes. And you know what? I think that's one of the best things about it, because then they are really aware of cyclists and will watch out for them! Although at first they don't look like that, these streets are actually the safest ones for cyclists :).

Sigrid said...

I posted about this as well. I was just on Hennepin last night (in my car) during rush hour and saw only 1 cyclist on the road and I was worried for him. Hennepin is a mess right now. Saddly the other two bicyclists I saw were on the sidewalk. We need to be patient, but I am not encouraged...