December 05, 2017 06:27 PM
In a state that averages as much snow as Minnesota, you'd think public works departments could plow anything.
And while that's probably true, a new style of bike lane popping up all over the Twin Cities is making the job a little trickier, public works officials say.
"Oh, you know, everything new and different is going to be a concern," said Joe Spah, a St. Paul Public Works division manager for street maintenance.
He was referring to plow drivers' reactions to the city's newest bike lane on Pelham Boulevard. The lane is unique in that it's a protected bike lane, with both northbound and southbound cyclists riding along the same side the road. Cyclists are separated from vehicles by white dividers every 10 feet along the length of the bike lane.
Spah said engineers actually started planning for snow removal in the design phase of the Pelham project. He has reminded plow drivers that as bike lanes change, their approach to clearing the roads may have to change slightly, as well.
"Just had to reassure them that, 'You know what? There is a plan in place, and if it's not perfect we'll figure it out as we go, but this is just a test,'" Spah said.
5 Winter Biking Tips, courtesy City of Minneapolis:
So far, so good, at least according to cyclists who spoke to KSTP Tuesday, just hours after the first big snow of the season.
"I took this route today because of the dividers," said John Guerra, who typically takes nearby Franklin Avenue instead. "Especially in the snow and ice, I feel like this is a lot safer route to take for my commute."
For the record, it's not just St. Paul that has to remove snow from similar types of protected bike lanes. Minneapolis has 13-miles worth of protected bike lanes, and city officials say they have dedicated crews that focus exclusively on bike lanes and trails.
Updated: December 05, 2017 06:27 PM
Created: December 05, 2017 03:49 PM
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