Green digest: Bryant Avenue Bicycle Boulevard

Bryant Avenue Bicycle Boulevard opens Sept. 22

Bicyclists and city officials will mark the grand opening of the new Bryant Avenue Bicycle Boulevard running between West 58th Street and Downtown on Sept. 22.

Construction began in June on what is one of the longest new bike routes in the city and involved curb extensions at three intersections, a new bicycle pass-through near Minnehaha Creek and the installation of a new median on Franklin Avenue where it intersects with Bryant Avenue. The median is intended to aid cyclists in crossing what can be a busy street, particularly during the evening rush hour.

The bicycle boulevard also features new pavement markings along the route. The “sharrows” with an intermittent green background painted on the Bryant Avenue between 49th and 50th streets and 40th and Lake streets are being tested for the first time in Minneapolis.

To improve visibility along the route, the city also posted new signs at intersections on the northern half of the bicycle boulevard that remind drivers city ordinance prohibits parking within 20 feet of a corner.

Funds from the federal Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program, administered locally by the nonprofit Transit for Livable Communities, were used to pay for the $150,000 project.

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Southwest organizations win environmental grants

Two Southwest organizations were the recipients of 2011–2012 Community POWER waste-reduction grants awarded recently by Hennepin County and the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board.

A $12,000 grant to Armatage Montessori School is intended to fund a new waste and recycling curriculum and a student-led campaign to collect and recycle items that often end up in the trash. Some of the grant will also fund recycling-themed field trips and art projects.

A $11,226 grant to the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association will fund outreach efforts to promote recycling and composting, including workshops and neighborhood events. The campaign aims to reach the neighborhood’s high number of rental-unit dwellers, in particular.

Community POWER (Partners On Waste Education and Reduction) grants of up to $12,000 each have been awarded to schools and non-profit organizations since 2001. The grants are coordinated through RethinkRecycling. Visit rethinkrecycling.com/grants to learn more about the grants.

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Hold off on trimming that ash tree

Citing an unusually warm summer that has kept emerald ash borers active later in the year than usual, the city and Park Board are recommending Minneapolis residents hold off on pruning ash trees until after Oct. 1.

The invasive Asian beetles are usually dormant between Labor Day and the beginning of May in Minnesota, but that may not be the case this year. City officials recommend homeowners wait an extra month to prune or remove ash trees to help prevent the spread of the destructive tree pest.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Communications Coordinator Margaret Hart said the recommendation came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“That is something the USDA determined based on the weather in the states that have [emerald ash borer],” Hart explained.

Emerald ash borer infestations have spread to 15 states and parts of Canada since the bugs were first discovered near Detroit in 2002, and are blamed for wiping out tens of millions of ash trees. The first Minnesota sighting was confirmed in 2009, and the next year arborists found a stand of infested ash trees in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.

The bugs pose a particular threat in Minneapolis, where an estimated 20 percent of all trees are ash. Both Hennepin and Ramsey county are under a quarantine that restricts the movement of firewood and other ash tree products.

That quarantine recently was extended to Houston and Winona counties in southern Minnesota where, in late August, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture reported two new confirmed infestations.

For more information about emerald ash borer or the quarantine, visit mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/eab.aspx.

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Coupons support greener shopping

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse campaign that encourages residents to rent or buy used items instead of purchasing new goods as a strategy to reduce waste.

Its Choose to Reuse coupon book offering discounts at various area retailers Oct. 1–Nov. 30 was available for pre-order in September. The books were scheduled to be delivered at the end of the month.

Southwest retailers offering Choose to Reuse deals on used goods or rentals included: B-Squad Vintage, 3500 Nicollet Ave. S.; Electric Fetus, 2000 4th Ave. S.; Everyday People Clothing Exchange, 2912 Hennepin Ave. S.; and Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S.

Hennepin County also maintains the Choose to Reuse directory, a searchable database of local businesses and organizations that reuse, repair, rent, resell or accept donated used goods. Both the directory and an order form for the coupon book can be found at hennepin.us/choosetoreuse.

Reach Dylan Thomas at [email protected]