Minneapolis Takes Away Car Lanes; Columbus downtown business owners would say that is silly and frivolous

Hennepin County’s public works department will repave and restripe Park and Portland avenues in late September. Plans suggest reducing the number of traffic lanes from three to two along much of the streets to allow for buffered bike lanes. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Plans to reduce the number of traffic lanes on Park and Portland avenues are raising hopes that the corridors will serve as more than a speedy route between south Minneapolis and downtown.
Hennepin County’s public works department has presented plans to remove one of three traffic lanes on much of Park and Portland avenues between East 46th Street and Washington Avenue in favor of a bike lane with wider separation between traffic and parked vehicles.
Plans also call for moving existing bike lanes from the left side of the streets to the right side, and reducing the speed limit from 35 mph to 30 mph. Sections around Lake Street and downtown Minneapolis would remain largely unchanged.

The reconfiguration will be discussed at a community meeting Thursday and undertaken as part of a county-led repaving project scheduled for September. The streets may not see similar work for another decade, so whatever changes are made will have a lasting impact.
Community members who have embraced the concept say the plans have the potential to do more than make the streets friendlier to bicyclists and pedestrians.