EDINA, Minn. - This week drivers may have encountered a surprise on their regular route in Edina.
The city unveiled a new type of bike lane. At first, the design was confusing to some drivers.
The advisory bike lanes appeared this Monday on Wooddale Avenue from 50th Street to Valley View Road, and on a second corridor on 54th between France and Minnehaha Boulevard.
"The purpose of an advisory bike lane is on roadways too narrow to stripe for dedicated bike lanes, so what we do is remove the center line," said City Engineer Wayne Houle, who said he's been fielding calls from concerned drivers this week.
Houle said the new bike lanes have dashed lines instead of a solid bike lane stripe to signal to drivers they can drive in the bike lane when there is not a cyclist. If a bicycle is in the advisory lane, he says drivers should move to the left and fully into the center to pass.
Houle believes the design brings more caution for drivers and cyclists.
"It actually creates a safer environment because people are more cautious when they are passing each other passing cyclists not having that channelized are for them to travel in," he said.
Some wonder if drivers will really slow down.
"I just think it's a bad idea," said one homeowner who declined to share his name. "I've decided I am not going to drive on Wooddale anymore to downtown. To get downtown, I will drive a different way."
Not far away, the owner of Tommy T's Cyclery approves of the new lanes. Tom Taylor says even on narrow roads, there's enough room for all.
"If you really take an analytical look at what time might be involved to slow down for a cyclist or share the road, it doesn't take that much time," said Taylor.
Houle says Edina is trying to create a bikeway system not only for recreation and health, but also for an increasing number of commuters. In all, Edina will stripe 12 separate biking corridors, but only two stretches on Wooddale Avenue and 54th Street will include the advisory bike lanes.
He says the two-year experiment will be evaluated by the Federal Highway Administration, which will determine whether the advisory bike lanes are effective.
Minneapolis was the first city in the country to try this technique, putting in an advisory bike lane at East 14th Street in the Elliot Park Neighborhood last year.
Houle says Richfield will soon test the advisory bike lanes as well.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)