What to Expect at Monday’s Bottleneck Meeting

The next Hennepin/Lyndale Reconstruction Project Public Open House is Monday, Aug. 4th at 6:30 p.m. in the Skyline Room, Walker Art Center. 


Maybe we can’t expect the intersection of our dreams yet (mine: Turn Don’t Merge) in the Hennepin/Lyndale Reconstruction  project, but there are a few key elements that neighbors must insist on seeing this time around:


(1) Automotive Lane Width Reduction

The greatest problem with this intersection may be the suggested driving speed. Wide lanes tell drivers that they should drive fast, making the space uncomfortable for bikers and pedestrians. Also uncomfortable for drivers when streetlight turns red – which is often. Narrowing the lanes will make drivers more apt to drive at speeds appropriate for the city, while respecting cyclists and pedestrians.

lane width reduction



(2) Automotive Lane Elimination

Giving more lanes to drivers lets them spread out, but eventually they have to merge together – causing our bottleneck. Between Franklin Ave, and Dunwoody Blvd, people are moving in all sorts of directions. Sometimes, drivers have to merge across four lanes in order to make a nerve-racking turn. In the case of our bottleneck, simpler is better. Fewer lanes will make the drive more enjoyable for everyone. Three lanes for driving is sufficient. Anything more is gluttonous.

lane removal
(3) Separation of Bike-Path and Sidewalk

The time has come to stop biking on the sidewalk. Just as bikers feel vulnerable to drivers, pedestrians feel vulnerable to bikers. We have a very wide, double-decker corridor at our disposal. We need a sidewalk that coincides with the width of the corridor, I-94 included. We need a sidewalk that’s at least four people wide on each side of the street. Separately, bikers need at least one lane (~10’) in each direction.

add bike lanes

This is our city, our street, and it must reflect the way we wish to live. People used to escape to the suburbs. Now we want to stay in the city. Remember to voice your opinions on Monday. A lot has changed in the past decade, which is why this discussion is so important.

Joe Polacek

About Joe Polacek

Minneapolis is the greatest city in the world. Saint Paul is a close second. For a strong, sustainable future we need dense, diverse and durable growth. @jplck

17 thoughts on “What to Expect at Monday’s Bottleneck Meeting

  1. Dave

    What’s the benefit of an on-street bike lane versus an expanded path with demarcated biking and walking space a la midtown greenway? I’d prefer to use roadway space for an exclusive bus lane which would help implement arterial BRT

    1. Matt Brillhart

      Agreed. Any lane reduction for autos must be to the benefit of transit. I understand the desire for a southbound bike facility, but the numbers show transit should be a huge factor here.

      1. Janne

        This isn’t for an “on-street” bike lane, but a physically separated bike lane. This is one of the heaviest used bike corridors in Minneapolis — a choke-point between downtown and uptown for ALL people.

        I don’t want to create a false choice between transit riders and bike riders. I asked about dedicated transit lanes at a recent meeting, and the question was dismissed so dismissively, it’s clear that it isn’t even on the table. Dedicated protected lanes for bike riders, on the other hand, is clearly on the table.

        I’d hate to throw those bike riders under the bus.

  2. Matt Brillhart

    Great post, but I think your idea for a northbound bike lane on Hennepin isn’t fully hatched. Why on earth would a cyclist continue northbound on Hennepin past Franklin? Instead head half a block east to the bike bridge at Bryant, which lands you directly on the existing (and hopefully improved) cycletrack.

    I agree with the reduction in auto lanes, but this should be a bus-only/bus-advantage lane. It makes zero sense to add a northbound bike lane to Hennepin. Perhaps consider an edit to show that one as a bus lane instead.

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      It would make sense to me if there was a direct bike connection between northbound Hennepin and Bryant where the two are briefly parallel and only a few yards apart, allowing a straight-forward trip over the bridge.

      As is, you need to know to turn at Franklin and then cross it (which tends to be busy) on to Bryant to connect to the bridge. Or ride on the existing sidewalk along Hennepin, I guess.

    2. Jeff Klein

      Because if you’re coming from the east, you need to cross Hennepin, bike two blocks out of your way and literally do a complete 360 while climbing fifty feet. At which point you’ve earned the use of a narrow, never-plowed, never maintained MUP full of people walking chihuahuas. And then are spit onto the corner of Loring Park, where you get to play corn-maze to see if you can find a way into downtown without having to get off and walk through the MCTC campus.

      It’s exactly this type of reasoning that’s the problem. Biking should be as efficient as driving, not secondary; the most straight-forward, sensible and obvious path from uptown to downtown is the obvious one: right up Hennepin.

      1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

        There are new (painted) bike lanes along Oak Grove and what are supposed to be dedicated bike paths through the park (that do tend to get a lot of pedestrians).

        Also, I’d much rather just cross over to Bryant than bike into the freeway-like stretch of Hennepin under the flyovers. Heading from uptown to downtown there is not much of a climb, it’s only one block to the east (and less than that if a connection was added near the corner of Hennepin & Franklin), and the two paths end up in exactly the same place.

  3. Aaron IsaacsAaron Isaacs

    No biker concerned about safety should ride on Hennepin between Franklin and Lake. There are plenty of quiet parallel streets that are safe, which is why the Bryant BB and the Bryant bike bridge to the east side of Lyndale is a good route.

    Eliminating left turns from the Bottleneck to 15th-Vineland would be the best way to reduce the width of traffic lanes. It would also divert some of the traffic elsewhere.

    I agree that buses could really use a southbound lane, probably combined with right turns only.

    1. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

      But what about the residents and patrons of businesses located on Hennepin between Franklin and Lake?

      The time has come. We need to stripe/sign/enforce bus/bike-only right lanes along this stretch of Hennepin in the short term. And in the long term, this stretch of Hennepin should become a bike/bus/walk dedicated corridor with short stretches of woonerf for local business access by car.

      Our public real estate, Hennepin Avenue right of way, is far too valuable per square foot to be used for such a space-inefficient use — a place for cars to go through.

      1. Janne

        This project doesn’t touch any of Hennepin between Franklin and Lake. As someone who lives at 22nd and Hennepin, I’ll be the first to jump up and down explaining why bikes might ride on Hennepin. But that’s irrelevant here.

        Monday, I plan to stay on message and provide comments relevant to the project.

    2. Catherine

      The fact that there are no side streets “parallel” to Hennepin is exactly why bikers want to ride on — and should be accommodated on — Hennepin. Since it’s diagonal, it is the most direct and fastest way through the neighborhood.

      1. Michael

        Exactly. Why should people on bikes be expected to take a half mile detour on side streets, while cars are allowed a direct diagonal route?

  4. Aaron IsaacsAaron Isaacs

    This is why bike enthusiasts get written off as overzealous. I bike all the time, but I have absolutely no expectation that Minneapolis is ever going to carve out a bike lane on Hennepin between Franklin and Lake. The side streets may not cut the diagonal, but they don’t have traffic signal delays and that cancels out any Hennepin time advantage.

    At the risk of offending all the idealists, we are most effective when we push for improvements that actually stand a chance of being approved and implemented. Otherwise we’re just fringe.

    1. Janne

      Aaron – another challenge, besides just the diagonal of Hennepin, is that with all the one-way streets and busy streets, I literally can’t get to my destinations on the other end of the 8-block stretch without

      1) going on Hennepin,
      2) riding the wrong way on a one way streets,
      3) going 3x further than on Hennepin — and that also requires me to ride on Franklin/26/28, and is confusing to navigate for people who aren’t super-familiar with the neighborhood.

      There are multiple ways to solve this problem, but I currently find that all of the options are horrible — and the current design on Hennepin makes walking one of Minneapolis’ most pedestrian-friendly streets unpleasant, too.

      My vision is to make the Franklin/Lake stretch of Hennepin a street that works for the people who live and work here — not just for the people commuting to points west and south via this street. It should be enjoyable to walk to dinner, fast to bus home and to work, non-life-threatening to bike to the bar.

      (Sidenote: Didn’t my tax dollars build them 394, 100, and 169 so they could get in and out of the City? Do they need my front yard, too?)

      I know that’s a long, long way off (if ever), and there are immediate, current problems with neighborhood residents getting to neighborhood destinations today. Bikes on Hennepin are not so silly an improvement, given these problems.

  5. Mike Worcester

    As a occasional driver through that stretch I can say with certainty that I avoid it at all costs. For southbound drivers, the Hennepin/Lyndale split can be maddening even under low-traffic conditions.

    Going north, especially during rush, can be beyond frustrating, necessitating quick lane changes if one suddenly finds themselves in a turn lane that you did not want to be in, all while there is a monsoon of vehicles around you.

    Please, simplify the area and make it clearly marked to avoid all the near misses I see each time I am passing through.

Comments are closed.