Make Your Voice Heard for Bryant Ave Bike Trails

Image of a femme biker with pizzas strapped to their rack, riding on the street in Minneapolis. Photo Credit: Matt Lewis

We don’t reconstruct streets often in Minneapolis. Bryant Ave S, to pick a not-very-random example, was last rebuilt over half a century ago. So when we do full reconstructions, they’re an incredible opportunity and one we need to take advantage of to the greatest extent possible.

Bryant as it exists today is a sun-baked, pothole-filled road whose width encourages high speed driving despite being designated a Bicycle Boulevard. I live on Bryant Ave, so I spend a lot of time on this street. (Basically all my time for the past 16 months, if I’m being honest.)

Image of Bryant as it exists today, looking south towards 43rd street, showing lots of pavement and empty parking stalls. Photo Credit: Matt Lewis

Through the past year-plus of public engagement, Minneapolis Public Works has settled on converting Bryant to a one-way, which makes room for a two-way separated bike path along the entire length, as well as sidewalks and boulevards. 

Clip of the cross section of the proposed Bryant one-way design, showing an 8′ two-way bikeway, one through-lane, and boulevards

This option even maintains more parking than previous options had, by a significant amount. Despite all the public engagement, and providing far more parking than is needed, according to the city’s own parking studies(PDF), there’s a concerted effort to get city council to reject this design and remove the bike lanes. 

Screenshot of a tweet by Ashwat Narayanan, Executive Director of Our Streets Minneapolis, describing an effort to remove bike lanes from Bryant

Bryant is a key north-south bikeway, and the city’s own priorities have this designated as part of the all ages and abilities bike network. Removing bike facilities on this street would go against all the city’s policies as passed by the full city council in the Transportation Action Plan, Complete Streets policy, and Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan. It is imperative that city council members hear from residents that this section of the bike network is a priority. 

In this era of climate change having very real effects we see every day, we cannot backslide on providing ways for people to get around the city without a car. Transportation is the number one cause of carbon emissions in this country. When making half-century investments, we need to be ready for a future with far fewer cars. Bryant should be a chance to show the world that we’re serious about climate. 

So what can you do?

Email your city councilmember, and include the entire transportation and public works committee on the email. Tell them:

  • Bryant is a priority bike network street and needs separated bike facilities
  • The city’s own policies in the Transportation Action Plan, Complete Streets, and Minneapolis 2040 plan call for high quality bike facilities on Bryant
  • Bryant is an important north-south bikeway with loads of bike traffic even with its current sub-par facilities, so this is a key piece of the all-ages and abilities bike network
  • Given our climate emergency, it is imperative we make investments in zero-carbon transportation
  • The one way design with separated bike facilities accomplishes these goals, and the city should adopt it

You can find your city council member using the map here. And be sure to CC the members of the Transportation and Public Works Committee when you email:

Every day I look out my window and I see families biking up and down Bryant, people biking to work, biking with friends, and parents with their small kids in cargo bikes. They deserve a safe place to bike. Let’s get this one over the finish line.

About Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis has lived in Minneapolis since 2009, after growing up in the suburbs of Chicago and spending time in Luxembourg and rural Ohio during college. He lives in South Uptown with his partner and their two cats, where they take full advantage of a Greenway entrance two blocks from their front door, and a bus stop directly in front of their fourplex. He also spends too much time on Twitter as @avocadoplex

13 thoughts on “Make Your Voice Heard for Bryant Ave Bike Trails

  1. Dave Carlson

    I am generally not a fan of two-way off-road bike trails along streets in dense urban areas… too many awkward and unsafe intersection, alley and driveway crossings…. and invariably these trails are also used by pedestrians and dog walkers, etc. But since the city and a number of bike advocates favor this approach, let’s do it right with the trail at least 10’ width, the general minimum recommendation for a two-way trail. This is much safer for all the users the author now sees and anticipates seeing along this bike corridor. Simply take just one foot off each boulevard and you have a much more viable trail that all abilities can enjoy (including the commuter and faster bikers).

    1. John Holtan

      Interesting they moved to a one way. A win for sure. Agree with everything Dave states. I just don’t see how a commuter could use this slowing down to 10 mph at every intersection and cross street. Maybe every 100 feet?? Don’t like (dog) walkers so close to bikers either. Please move bike lanes directly adjacent to the car lanes (curb separated) and the green space between bikers and walkers. Gives cyclists and motorists proper visibility of each other’s presence.

      1. Monte Castleman

        I guess what it comes down to is who are we designing this for? Serious transportation cyclists that use this for commuting as an alternative to cars or transit, or casual bicyclists like youth and families and myself. I tried the 66th Street cycetracks, and although I didn’t at all like the roundabouts, the cycletrack itself was fine being there was a boulevard and street furniture between myself and cars. The Capitol City Bikeway I haven’t used in person but looks fine from Google Street View. I tried out the Washington Ave cycletracks and was extremely uncomfortable with how close to cars I was, and the curb even completely disappeared near intersections .

          1. Matt Lewis Post author

            I think I will be on the street on a regular basis on bryant if I am in a hurry and the trail is crowded, same as I do on River Road. But that’s fine, the trail is more important for a family with kids than for me going 15-20mph because I’m late to a happy hour.

            1. Trademark

              Kings highway is a great road to bike on if you wanna hit good speeds. At least south of 36th

    2. Matt Lewis Post author

      I 100% would have preferred one-way trails on each side. My understanding is that public works looked at it, and couldn’t make it work. Lots of priorities to fit within 55′ of ROW. I also agree that it should be wider, if it’s going to be a 2-way, and feel free to tell PW and the city council that! I certainly did.

    3. Joe I

      I have always disliked the two way bike trails. At street interesections it always felt a bit uncomfortable having an extra direction that people are not used to looking for bikers. With the traffic being a one way that should help though.

  2. Mike

    The current design is much better than the prior attempts which preserved 2 way traffic and transit, it was like putting 80 pounds of potato’s in a 55 lb sack. Some minimum parking is preserved on each block now (prior version had some blocks with zero spots, difficult for the residents of those blocks). The new trail configuration looks much safer than the prior with all the close up driveway crossings…. As a resident of a neighboring ave I’m cognizant of the potential for increased auto traffic as cars divert at 46th when the direction of Bryant changes but have suggested/requested a speed bump study for Colfax and Aldrich to help with irresponsible drivers who go too fast down these roads.

    1. Matt Lewis Post author

      There’s a newish speed bump on Colfax between 31st and Lake and it’s pretty aggressive. Put enough of those on Aldrich and Colfax and it should slow drivers down.

Comments are closed.