EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Images of Rejected MnDOT Bike Manual Concepts


Flaming Separated Bike Lane

In a noteworthy scoop, streets.mn editors have obtained a dossier of bicycle infrastructure concepts from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). In the interest of public disclosure, we are sharing them at this juncture.

The files convey a number of potential designs that appear to have been rejected through usual agency protocols, part of an ongoing departmental process whereby possibly innovative design schemes are briefly entertained. Together, the design proposals offer a series of unusual and creative efforts at building bicycling lanes that might, or might not, convey new best practices for 21st century non-motorized infrastructure.

We reached out to agency insiders for further information.

“We considered a lot of innovative treatments when developing the bike manual, but not all of them made the cut,” a source close to the project said. “We think this is doable, but our standards engineers determined that it wasn’t quite MN MUTCD compliant, so we’re waiting to see if another state DOT does it first.”



Proposed agency regulations required that fires should be at least 6″ high to be noticeable.

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PDF FILE 5-33 flame

One of the designs featured a potentially innovative combination of plastic demarcation devices and tiki torches, one of a broad spectrum of design treatments that may have been briefly considered by the agency. According to one document, the torch demarcation system would double as trail lighting, saving millions of dollars in maintenance costs.

Interestingly, the dossier included designs featuring several different animal kingdoms, including both reptiles and larger insects. In one notable exchange, alligator demarcation was dismissed due to a general lack of availability in Minnesota, and maintenance concerns.

However, one review comment stated bluntly: “This isn’t Florida, we have snow here!”

At this point, the design was apparently rejected.


Bicycle Alligator

According to the dossier, attempts to install the alligators were more difficult than initially anticipated.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.