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.

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10 Responses to Bike Lanes in Winter

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke January 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    YAY for America!

    • Julie Kosbab January 24, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

      Underneath the light coating of white snow is black vile glacier. It’s awful.

      That, ladies and gentlemen, is your bike lane.

  2. Walker Angell
    Walker January 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    I like my nicely cleared fully segregated MUP thank you. Rode it to lunch and grocery store today.




    • Julie January 25, 2014 at 7:44 am #

      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.

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell January 25, 2014 at 9:22 am #

        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.)

  3. Jules Gaudy January 26, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    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.

    • hokan January 26, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

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

      • Jules Gaudy January 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

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

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell January 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

      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.


  1. Sunday Summary | - January 27, 2014

    […] Kosbab fumed over the less-than-fantastic state of our bike lanes this time of year. The commenters compared the […]

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