New bike lanes cause confusion, with cars parked directly in the path

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Every few minutes during his weekend shift at the Hub Bike Co-Op on the University of Minnesota campus, Anthony Ross sees a couple cyclists cruising down the new protected bike lanes along Oak Street.

And often times, he sees those cyclists have to maneuver around cars parked right in their path.

“There’s always somebody parking in the bike lane,” the 36-year-old bike mechanic told BringMeTheNews.

This embed is invalid

Yes, even though there are plastic delineator posts and a wide double white line, drivers are pulling their car through the barriers and parking in a designated bike lane.

"We do have this issue with all bike projects that make a change to the parking, regardless of its a unique situation … or just a regular bike lane," Simon Blenski, a bicycle planner with the city, told BringMeTheNews.

Blenski, who has been with the Public Works department for about five years, is in charge of the Oak Street project, whose path stretches from Washington Avenue to East River Parkway.

He said the design on Oak Street – with "offset parking" outside of the bike lane, and the bike lane tucked right next to the curb – has been used in one other location so far, along a stretch of First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.

When that went in, the city saw "a lot of violations," Blenski said.

But they eventually improved markings, and incorrect parking dropped off significantly.

Making it 'clear up front'

Having learned from that, Blenski says they tried to make the Oak Street project "clear up front."

So they included double-lines, the poles, and what he called parking "bays" – where the painted markings and bollards jut out, creating a parking lane that's separate from the driving lane. (You can see this on the right side of the top photo.)

The goal was to give people "more confidence" that parking away from the curb is indeed the correct decision, Blenski said.

But people "still just don’t get it," said Ross, who uses the lane every week.

According to Minneapolis city spokesperson Casper Hill, two vehicles have been ticketed since last Thursday for obstructing traffic along that stretch of Oak Street.

Blenski says they expect an adjustment period with this project – and are watching.

"Whenever there’s a change, it always takes people time to get used to it," he said. "But if it’s still going on after a couple weeks ... we do step up traffic enforcement."

Hill told BringMeTheNews the traffic authorities are looking at Oak Street to see if increased enforcement might be needed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7imwANUHDw

At this point, that bike lane project is basically complete, with just a couple small things to polish. So will the markings or signage change along Oak Street? Too early to say.

"The easy answer is always to put up another sign," he said, "but then we’d have a lot more signs and we already have a lot in the city."

You can see the full plan for Minneapolis' bike lane expansions here.

Next Up

prison, Rush City cell block

Former Army Green Beret and U of M student sentenced for Russian espionage

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, was sentenced to 188 months in prison.

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sanó's 8th inning blast ends Twins losing streak

The 5-4 victory over the A's snapped a five-game losing streak.

Thomas Humphrey, charged in vaccine thefts.

Viral videos of vaccine thefts lead to charges for MN anti-vaxxer

Thomas Edward Humphrey is a 32-year-old St. Paul resident.

Kyle Imdieke of Osakis, Minnesota.

Community rallies around family of MN coach who died suddenly

Kyle Imdieke was a beloved educator at Osakis High School.

Hinckley crash

Fatal crash that closed north I-35 caused when SUV crossed median

The incident occurred Friday afternoon one mile south of Hinckley in eastern Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2021-05-15 at 7.17.27 AM

Viral video: Customer argues with Menards worker over store mask policy

The incident happened in Buffalo on Thursday, hours after the CDC issued new guidance on face masks for vaccinated people.

Sylvia Fowles

Phoenix, Minnesota live up to the hype in WNBA opener

Diana Taurasi hit the game-winning shot with 1.1 seconds to play.

Josh Donaldson

Oakland smacks four home runs to extend Twins' horrific start

The A's handed the Twins a 6-1 loss on Friday night.

Hy-Vee

Spring Lake Park Hy-Vee to open by the end of May

A dozen Hy-Vee stores are now located in the Twin Cities metro area.

PXG Store Manager Derek Holmes Qualifies for the PGA Championship

Minnesota golf store manager qualifies for PGA Championship

No word if he'll have to burn some vacation days to play in the PGA Championship!

Related

Screen Shot 2020-04-23 at 9.05.18 AM

St. Paul approves bike path, lane reduction on Ayd Mill Road

Work on the project is set to begin this summer.

Teen girl collapses, dies on bike path

Witnesses told the St. Michael Patch that 16-year-old Michaela Olson fell to the pavement while running Sunday morning in St. Michael. Wright County officials say the incident remains under investigation.