I wrote a post back in November of 2010 about the RiverLake Greenway, the Twin Cities’ first serious attempt at constructing a bicycle boulevard. I was mostly pretty pleased with the bikeway, other than the diverter constructed at 11th Avenue. At the time, I called it “the only clear ‘miss’ along the corridor”.
My biggest criticism of the diverter was that I thought (and still do think) that it was entirely unnecessary to divert traffic since hardly anyone drives here anyway (which is why the route was selected to become a bicycle boulevard in the first place). I argued in favor of a neighborhood traffic circle instead. However, it was also clear that the gaps intended to allow cyclists to pass through were much too large. This is what it looked like as originally constructed in November 2010:
At the time, I heard some chatter from unofficial sources that the gaps were intentionally made this wide (9′, apparently) to allow snow plows and police cars to fit through. Someone in this google group discussion claims that they were supposed to be 7′, but were constructed at 9′ incorrectly. At any rate, it was clear from the start that these diverters weren’t actually going to be effective at diverting traffic, since motorists were just driving right through the bike gaps.
This was quickly apparent to Public Works as well, who had the contractor add a couple of bollards to the middle of the bike gaps to keep cars out. The following photo was taken in September 2011 (I’m not sure how long the bollards had been in place by this point):
These bollards were effective at keeping cars out, no doubt, but they proved to be a temporary solution. By November of 2011, the gaps were fully reconstructed to be only 5′ wide, with bollards on both sides to keep cars out:
I applaud Minneapolis Public Works for following up after initial construction was complete. It would have been easy for them to just leave the original design in place. They continued to monitor the effectiveness of the design after construction and made adjustments twice when they felt it would improve the situation.
What do you think, readers? Have you been through this intersection lately? Which of the three designs do you prefer?