New bike lanes cause confusion, with cars parked directly in the path - Bring Me The News

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


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.

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

danny lee bettcher

Minnesota man who had 28 DWIs dies weeks after leaving prison

Danny Lee Bettcher is considered the most prolific drunken driver in Minnesota history.

coronavirus Wisconsin

Health leader calls Wisconsin's COVID-19 situation a 'nightmare scenario'

Wisconsin is reporting record numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

adam weeks

MN GOPers facing new claims they recruited legal pot candidates to run in swing races

Republicans have allegedly been encouraging people to run as legal marijuana candidates to take votes away from Democrats.

clayton brandt

Victim of car crash identified as Lake City firefighter

Lake City firefighter Clayton Brandt died after a single-vehicle crash early Tuesday.

hy-vee sterile carts

Hy-Vee starts using automated system to disinfect shopping carts

By mid-November, more than 200 Hy-Vee stores will have this system in place.

Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen

Vikings will face Everson Griffen twice after trade to Lions

The former Vikings star was traded to Detroit for a fifth-round pick.

Jordana Green

WCCO Radio's Jordana Green diagnosed with leukemia

"I got this," Green wrote on her Facebook page.


Minnesota-based Crisp & Green adds 20 locations in four states

The four-year-old local business says it's going national

victoria burrow pizza

Fair-inspired entertainment venue opening at Mall of America

Fair on 4 will feature axe throwing, go carts and more.


Canceled: The Halloween bar crawl that no bars knew about

The dubiously organized event was planned for this weekend in Minneapolis.

covid saliva test

St. Cloud gets Minnesota's 6th COVID-19 saliva testing site

Four more sites are expected to open in the Twin Cities in the coming weeks.