In the 2005 federal transportation funding bill––Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)––Congress established a pilot program to demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking could carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution.
Each of the four pilot sites––Minneapolis and surrounding communities; Columbia, Mo.; Marin County, Calif.; Sheboygan County, Wisc.––has $22 million to invest in planning, infrastructure, measurement and public education. The four communities will study the impact of these investments on traffic congestion, energy use, health, and the environment. The investments in the Twin Cities area have included:
* More than 75 miles of new bikeways and sidewalk. Many of the new bike routes are on-streets, filling in the network and connecting to the region’s extensive system of off-road bike paths.
* A new bike center at the University of Minnesota.
Transit for Livable Communities was designated to administer the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative for Minneapolis and its neighboring communities, which include: Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights, Edina, Falcon Heights, Fridley, Golden Valley, Lauderdale, Metropolitan Airports Commission, Fort Snelling State Park, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Roseville, St. Anthony, St. Louis Park, and Saint Paul.
At the same time, the federally-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program, through the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support (MDHFS), is working to reduce obesity, a major contributor to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. By changing the policies, systems, and environments that affect the way people live, MDHFS aims to enable residents to make healthy eating and active living a part of their daily lives. Specifically, the work includes:
* Partnering with Nice Ride to add 6 new bike share kiosks in North Minneapolis
* Funding the start-up costs of the new Venture North Bike Walk Center (scheduled to open in the fall of 2011)
* Partnering with Minneapolis Public Schools to start Safe Routes to School programs at elementary schools
* Installing new way-finding signs that point to biking and walking routes
One of the key goals for both organizations is to increase the number of people who bicycle and walk across Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
One way these organizations are working to achieve that goal is through the Bike Walk Move campaign.
The Bike Walk Move campaign aims to inspire, educate and assist people in trying bicycling and walking as a way to get around their communities–be it to work, school, shopping, dining, worshipping or anywhere else for that matter! The idea is to get Twin Cities residents up and moving rather than sitting and driving or being driven around by someone else. The benefits are many.
Learn more about Bike Walk Twin Cities by visiting bikewalktwincities.org and sign up for the Bike Walk Twin Cities e-newsletter or follow Bike Walk Twin Cities on Facebook or Twitter.
Learn more about CPPW by visiting http://www.minneapolismn.gov/dhfs/cppw.asp (Note: CPPW is made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Health.)