Thursday afternoon's chilly, damp weather may have been enough to numb gloveless fingers, but it couldn't quell the spirits of over 20 Minneapolis cyclists who turned out to celebrate the official opening of the Bryant Avenue Bicycle Boulevard.
The northern end of Byrant Avenue South has been formally designated a bicycle route for several years, but the newly installed signs and road markings extended the route deep into Southwest Minneapolis to 58th Street. Central to the improvements are high-visibility "sharrow" markings (short for "share the road arrows") installed at regular intervals in the pavement. In addition, the city has expanded curbs at several corners along Bryant to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians, and a median at the intersection of Franklin and Bryant avenues to help cyclists on Bryant cross busy Franklin.
Between now and Oct. 8, Minneapolis will see five more, similar sets of newly signed or expanded routes, including two in Southwest Minneapolis—1st Avenue South and Blaisdell Avenue.
East Harriet resident Masami Kawazato was one of the bicyclists who met Thursday for a celebratory ride down Bryant.
"It's nice having a designated road," she said. "I think a lot of drivers know that it's 'the bike road' and they stay off."
Kawazato commutes by bike to work from Southwest into downtown. Though Bryant Avenue's new stripes aren't the same as a dedicated bike lane, she said she feels safer with them than on a road without.
"My husband was the victim of a hit and run at that SA corner," she said, noting the Super America at Lyndale Avenue South and 40th Street. "I'd rather play it safe than have a quick ride."