Minneapolis City Council approves Hennepin Avenue South reconstruction project

Aug. 5, 2022
The project will reconstruct a 1.4-mile section of Hennepin to improve pedestrian and cycling traffic and create two transit priority lanes.

In an 11-2 vote, the Minneapolis City Council approved a layout for the Hennepin Avenue South Reconstruction project, which included heavy discussion regarding the implementation of transit priority lanes.

The project will reconstruct the 1.4-mile stretch of Hennepin between West Lake Street and Douglas Avenue. Stated goals of the project include improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists, replacing aging traffic signal and stormwater infrastructure, improving mobility of both transit and vehicles and creating a space for improved transit stops.

The recommended design includes sidewalk improvements, a two-way bikeway between Lake Street and Franklin Avenue, two transit priority lanes, two vehicle lanes with left turn lanes at key intersections and parking/loading bays where possible.

Transit priority lanes

The project was originally planned to include 24-hour bus-only lanes, but this was reworked when Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey did not support the plan citing potential harm to businesses.

A resolution supporting an operational plan commits to having the transit priority lanes operational for a minimum of six hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. following the completion of the reconstruction project. The bus lanes on Hennepin are operational a total of 4.5 hours, two hours in the morning for northbound traffic and 2.5 hours in the afternoon for southbound traffic on weekdays. The city council noted a transition to all-day, bus-only lanes will not begin for at least 24 months after the completion of construction.

The bus lanes play a key part in Metro Transit’s planned METRO E Bus Rapid Transit Line. The E Line will provide faster and more reliable transit service in the Route 6 corridor along University Avenue/4th Street, Hennepin Avenue and France Avenue from the University of Minnesota to Southdale.

Reconstruction of the corridor is expected to begin in 2024 with detailed design and engineering, as well as refinement of area parking solutions occurring during the next two years.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.