Hennepin to convert to two-way Saturday

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September 28, 2009 // UPDATED 4:19 pm - October 9, 2009
By: Kathryn Holahan
Kathryn Holahan

Hennepin and 1st avenues will make the conversion to accommodate two-way traffic after nearly 30 years of being one-way streets.

The conversion is meant to allow drivers a more accessible route to their destination. It is also designed to calm traffic.

Re-striping will begin on Hennepin at 5 a.m. on Saturday. The street will be open during re-striping, but traffic will be slower during that time, said city spokesman Matt Laible. The conversion on Hennepin should be complete by midmorning. At that time, 1st Avenue will be closed entirely to be re-striped, Laible said.

In addition to several signs, extra traffic control officers will direct traffic on Saturday night and Monday morning.

There are a few features drivers and bicyclists will have to become familiar with:

• “Bike boxes” are 10-foot deep boxes designed to give bicyclists making left turns a safe distance in front of cars. These boxes are located at six intersections, according to a city press release.

• On Hennepin, a shared bus, bike and right-turn lane will accommodate bicyclists.

• 1st Avenue will have bike lanes running in both directions. Cars will be able to park six feet from the curb during non-rush hours. This will create a buffer between moving traffic and the bike lane. No cars will be able to park on 1st Avenue when it's used for moving traffic 7-9 a.m. Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights from 3rd to 6th streets.

• With a dedicated bus lane, buses can travel in both directions. There will not be any changes in stops when the streets switch to two ways.

“As of right now, we’re good to go,” Laible said about the transition on Saturday.

If weather conditions are wet, however, the project will be postponed.