CARAG bikeway gets funded

The Bryant Avenue bikeway is now closer to reality after the CARAG neighborhood board approved funding in April. The bikeway will share the road with parked and moving cars on Bryant between 29th and 36th streets.

The CARAG board approved $27,300 for the project, which will pay for signs, striping and pavement markings. The board set aside an additional $1,000 for an educational campaign.

The CARAG neighborhood is between Hennepin and Lyndale avenues and Lake to 36th streets. CARAG is paying for the bikeway’s link to the Midtown Greenway at 29th Street, which is one block north of the neighborhood boundary.

The city’s Public Works Department has also agreed to continue the bikeway north of the greenway along Bryant to downtown. A bike bridge will be built from Bryant north of Franklin Avenue, over Lyndale Avenue near the I-94 exits.

CARAG staffer Scott Engel said he hopes the East Harriet neighborhood, south of 36th Street, will also entertain a Bryant bikeway connection that would link to the RiverLake Greenway bike path on 40th Street, providing a connection to Lake Harriet. The RiverLake Greenway is still under construction.

CARAG originally hoped for a dedicated Bryant bike lane that would remove parking, but further study determined that the neighborhood needed to preserve parking. So CARAG’s Transportation Committee devised a compromise to incorporate a "share the road" philosophy.

"Share the road" accommodates drivers and bicyclists by striping smaller areas for bikes close to parking lanes and is being tried in other major cities. This concept will include signage on the asphalt and road signs that let drivers know to "share the road."

The federally sponsored signage and road markings still await federal approval. Engel said he anticipates work on the bikeway will begin this summer or fall.