Neighbors Push Back Over Hennepin Co. Proposal To Replace Street Parking With Bike Lanes

8 June 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A popular road that borders Minneapolis, Edina, and St. Louis Park could see some major changes next year.

Hennepin County is planning to re-pave France Avenue between 44th Street and Excelsior Boulevard in 2023, and the county proposed to use the fresh pavement as a chance to re-stripe. One of their suggestions was to bring bike lanes to that stretch of France Avenue.

“Any of the major avenues, I stay away from them,” said Roy Woodstrom, who is an avid bicyclist and lives in the neighborhood along France Avenue. “I’ve been hit by cars more than once.”

Woodstrom doesn’t believe the county’s proposal has a big benefit to those on two wheels.

“Why would you want to bicycle on a busy street? When you can go one block over on either side and you’re going to have a quiet street with very little traffic and very little risk,” Woodstrom said.

The county says the additional bike lanes would also remove a majority of the street parking on the east side of France Avenue, which not only impacts people who are visiting the area for shopping and dining, but also the homeowners and renters who also use street parking.

“[Street parking] is a gift, especially when you have repair people coming to your home,” said Cindy Soles, who has lived along France Avenue for 13 years.

Soles feels strongly about keeping parking as it is, and she’s hoping to encourage her neighbors to feel the same.

“I’ve been canvasing the neighborhood and introducing myself and handing out fliers,” Soles said.

Hennepin County emphasizes that this is still a proposal, and they are taking neighborhood feedback seriously before moving forward with this project.

The county says it plans to hold neighborhood meetings soon to get direct feedback.

In the meantime, you can give your input on the county website here.

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