East Harriet adds bike lanes, narrowly

East Harriet residents reached a compromise regarding the River-Lake Greenway, a bike lane and greening project that will run down 40th Street or 42nd Street from Lake Harriet to the Mississippi River. At their November meeting, the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association board approved a revised bike-lane plan that did not take parking between Lyndale and Bryant avenues.

The original plan presented by EHFNA’s transportation committee featured the bike lane running down 40th, removing parking spaces on the south side from Lyndale to Bryant. Business owners said those streets are used heavily by residential and customer parkers.

The new plan will interrupt the dedicated two-way bike lanes being built from Lyndale Avenue to I-35W. Instead, EHFNA transportation committee chair Ken Sheehan said there would be a "fog line," which defines the edge of a driving lane and implies a bike lane without removing 40th Street’s Lyndale-to-Bryant parking.

Sheehan said 40th would lose parking spaces on the south side of Bryant to King’s Highway, but the affect should be minimal. There are few businesses in that stretch. Sheehan said the Park Board has also agreed to sacrifice a few parking spots on Lake Harriet Parkway for the bike lane.

City Traffic Engineer Donald Pflaum said because 40th Street is one foot too narrow to have a legal parking lane and a bike lane, this compromise is the best they can do for now.

To maintain continuity with the rest of the Greenway, Sheehan also said curb bump-outs, a swelled curb featuring a boulevard, would be installed for safety and traffic calming (see lingo box). Pflaum said the bump-outs, which cost $7,000 each, would be built on the north-side curbs of Aldrich Avenue and on the north side of 40th Street bordering Lyndale Farmstead Park.

Sheehan said EHFNA has allocated $85,000 in Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds for this project, which should cover all costs.

Residents and business owners attending the meeting were inquisitive, yet supportive of the new plan. One man, identifying himself as an East Harriet renter, praised the compromise. "This is a much better plan- we need the parking," he said.