Graphic detailing improvements made to the intersection of 42nd and Cedar..

Bring Bike Love to 42nd and Cedar

Before the improvements at 42nd Street and Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis were completed in June, I would bike far out of my way to avoid crossing there. The intersection was a death trap for cars, bikes and pedestrians. Frequent crashes left the corners littered with car parts.

Video testimonial from a business owner on the reduction in car crashes.

Video testimonial from a driver about how much easier it is to get through the intersection after the redesign.

The congestion at the intersection also made it hard to breathe. Without a dedicated left turn lane, cars would idle so long their tailpipe fumes would fill the air.

Who should we thank for the improvements?

County Road 42 is East 42nd Street in Minneapolis from Minnehaha Avenue (County 48) to Cedar Avenue (County 152). So the city of Minneapolis was only responsible for one-quarter of this intersection. Hennepin County was responsible for the rest.

Here’s what the intersection looked like before the redesign.

The old lane alignment at Cedar Ave and E 42nd St. Image: Google Maps.

As you can see:

1) No dedicated turn lanes for cars. Which means cars sitting burning fossil fuels, spending more to fill up at the pump, and creating air pollution just to wait in traffic and take longer to get where they’re going. It also means vehicles colliding on a regular basis.
2) No separated bike baths to protect bikes from the cars at the intersection. Which means fewer people feel safe biking, resulting in more cars on the road, taking parking spaces and causing accidents, congestion and pollution.

Now look at these beautiful improvements…

The new lane alignment. Image: Hennepin County.

Video demonstration of how the protected bike lanes work.

Video testimonials from folks who bike, drive and walk through this intersection.

Video demonstration of how the separate dedicated crosswalks for pedestrians and bikers work.

Video testimonial of a parent crossing the intersection with their child in a stroller.

As the above videos show, many intersection users see benefits in the changes. The new version is better for air quality, better for safety, and better for reducing climate change-accelerating carbon pollution. However, not everyone is celebrating. So far the Star Tribune has published an article and an opinion piece that were critical of the improvements. 

The main concern is that because approximately 50 parking spots were removed in order to make room for dedicated left turn lanes, the businesses might get fewer customers.

Uncertainty at Cedar Inn

Jim Landvick bought the Cedar Inn Bar and Grill during the pandemic. He has continuously grown the business since then. The Cedar Inn is an iconic Minneapolis bar that has been around since the 1940s.

Jim has been vocal (reaching out to media and elected officials) about wanting the city and county to come back and change the intersection again to bring back more parking spaces. He has a parking lot for customers on evenings and weekends but it fills up. He says many of his customers won’t walk the distance from the nearby street parking.

So how do we create a situation where everyone can thrive? 

That’s where you come in. You with your love of bikes. With your love of pedestrian safety. You with your love of public transit. With your love of climate change mitigation.

Bring your enthusiasm for improvements and creative solutions to our Group Ride to Help Businesses Thrive at Cedar and 42nd. Join us on Thursday, August 31 at 5:30 p.m. We will meet at Powderhorn Park and ride to Cedar Inn.

Other things to bring to the group ride:

  • Any data or anecdotes about businesses thriving after street redesigns.
  • Trivia game skills (Thursday night is trivia night at Cedar Inn).
  • Your hunger and thirst for bar food and drinks (we want to show Jim that bikes can bring business). There are vegan options like the Beyond Meat chicken tender basket available, even if you don’t see them on the website menu yet.

Love BombNot an Ambush

Jim knows we are coming (this is a love bomb, not an ambush) and he has been talking to Christina Neel, the organizer of this group ride. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Christina (Stina) yet, you should come to this ride just to meet her.

Let’s get together, celebrate the improvements, enjoy each other’s company, and do our best to support small business owners who are concerned when these kinds of changes happen. We can create streets that work for everyone in Minnesota.

Person on electric bike waiting at safe separated bike lane at busy Minneapolis intersection.
The new protected bike lane.

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