Hennepin Bridge Bike Lane

Bike Lanes in Winter

Witness: The struggle that is a bike lane in winter, via these (poor) images, taken from inside a car.

Hennepin Bridge Bike Lane Hennepin Bridge Bike Lane
That glacier is the bike lane.

Now, certainly, over the railing is a well-cleared sidewalk. It is an option. It’s actually an appealing option. But if you’re coming right off Marshall, once you commit, you are committed to at least De La Salle, and if you don’t bail there, you’re there all the way over the bridge. Taking the lane is your only option.

I would like to encourage bikers, like the ones I saw this morning, to do such a thing. Trying to hug a glacier is going to get you killed, most likely by a Metro Transit bus. It will hurt. A lot.

And City of Minneapolis? I realize there are issues with “where to put snow” when clearing sidewalks and lanes on this bridge. I get it. But you really need to find a dumper to get the snow off the bridge entirely. Stick it in the river BEFORE it becomes a heinous black glacier that will melt into it.


About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!

10 thoughts on “Bike Lanes in Winter

    1. Julie

      The summer-separated green bike lane on the Plymouth Bridge has been being cleared defensibly, but the separators have been taken out by plows/cars/the thing they’ve been clearing the sidewalks and bike lane with.

      They use those upright pole things on Plymouth to create a “separated” lane. It is nice… in summer.

      1. Walker AngellWalker Angell

        I think in Minnesota we need either distance with enough room for snow piles or cement as segregators. Maybe a 12″ wide cement curb with cast iron bollards would work? (And someone needs to inform the road design and maintenance folks that we do indeed have winter here and that people do (and more will if things are kept clear) ride throughout the year.)

  1. Jules Gaudy

    The pictures are of the Hennepin Ave bridge but the author seems to be writing about the Lake Street bridge (“…your’re coming right off Marshall”). And “over the railing” is a long drop down to the Mississippi. (In fact a friend and I once talked a runaway from jumping over that railing.)

    Sorry to say, but bicycle infrastructure fails in the winter: bike lanes, the Plymouth Bridge’s semi-separated lane, the stupid separated lane between the cars and curb on First Avenue N, are all much more treacherous to ride on than the streets. Even the Stone Arch Bridge paths (which are generally good) have been lousy compared to the Third Avenue bridge, which is consistently clear if you take the right-side of the lane. Maybe suburban MUPs are better plowed, but the Diagonal Trail in NE is abysmal days after a snow. Plowing coupled with car traffic clears snow and ice down to the pavement in a way that doesn’t happen on MUPs.

    As always, the action is in the streets.

    1. hokan

      Jules, the author is talking about a road in NordEast Minneapolis. It crosses Hennepin (and 1st) which go over the river.

      1. Jules Gaudy

        Thanks, got it. I think Marshall turns into Main Street near Ukrainian Credit Union and doesn’t in fact reach the Hennepin/1st Ave intersection, but I understand now.

    2. Walker AngellWalker Angell

      Jules, FWIW, Shoreview’s MUP’s have generally been very good throughout winter and are often plowed within hours of a snow event. The past couple of weeks, though plowed, they’ve not been kept plowed to the pavement so there’s sometimes an inch or so of stuff to push through which makes them quite difficult for anything other than a fat tire. I saw them out working on them this morning so hopefully they’re getting them back down to the pavement.

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