In just a few weeks, two landmark thoroughfares in downtown Minneapolis will change significantly as construction on Hennepin and 1st avenues nears completion. Slated to open on October 10th, both avenues will now be two-way between 1st and 12th streets, something they haven’t been for nearly 30 years.
These renovations will allow drivers simpler, more direct routes to their destinations. Drivers will be more able to avoid circling blocks as is often required with one-way roads, thus reducing congestion. This means that drivers will be able to go directly to the businesses and establishments on these streets, something many downtown businesses enthusiastically support.
Plus, bikers and pedestrians will see improvements along Hennepin and 1st Avenues as well. New, innovative, bike lanes will be added along 1st Avenue between the parking lane and curb. And bicyclists will now have “bike boxes” which are marked areas on the street, to make turning easier by allowing bikes to move slightly ahead of automobiles. These improvements aim to encourage biking by making it safer and more convenient to ride a bicycle downtown. New traffic lights will have “countdown timers” for pedestrians as well.
The street changeover is scheduled to happen early morning Saturday, October 10th with crews closing 1st avenue to re-sign and re-stripe. Hennepin will remain open during this time. Both streets will be re-opened by that evening as two-ways. These improvements will greatly enhance the downtown environment, making Minneapolis more accessible for everyone!
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