Study: Hennepin/First Ave. conversion a success

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July 19, 2010 // UPDATED 3:30 pm - July 29, 2010
By: Jake Weyer
Jake Weyer

A city study on the first six months of Hennepin and 1st avenues as two-way roads found that the new setup has reduced crashes, increased cyclists in the area, improved access and maintained traffic flow.

The streets were converted from one-way routes last fall. A shared lane replaced a bike-specific lane on Hennepin, a bike lane was added to 1st Avenue and Nicollet Mall was opened to bikes.

The changes were and still are controversial, especially on 1st Avenue where parking was moved away from the curb, to the left of the bike lane, causing confusion for some motorists and cyclists and complaints from businesses.  

But according to the study, the city’s goals have been met:

Bike numbers up
Ridership since the conversion is at roughly 2,347 bikes a day, up from 1,640 per day before the switch.

o crashes
No crashes have been reported so far on the converted roads, but the study window has been brief. Before the conversion, the three-year annual average for bike crashes on Hennepin and 1st avenues was about 12.

Traffic up, but efficiency is the same
Hennepin and 1st avenues and their cross streets are seeing more than 433,000 vehicles a day, up 2 percent since the conversion. But traffic flow has been maintained.

Parking problem subsiding
The city says 94 percent of drivers park correctly on 1st Avenue and there is a trend toward fewer tows. On-street parking has been maintained, with revenues in the Warehouse District consistent with previous years.

To see the full report, go to