Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal.
Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way to save on car and gas expenses, improve our local air quality and enhance your personal health.
It’s always sad to see the green bikes and stations taken off the road for winter. But, there’s much to celebrate about the 2012 Nice Ride season. There were 274,045 rentals on the system this year, a new record. And the green bikes and stations expanded into downtown Saint Paul and along the Mississippi River.
The folks at Nice Ride report that people who subscribe to Nice Ride (and get their own key fob for locking and unlocking bikes) use them primarily for transportation – including getting to work or school. Those who walk up to the stations and get day passes are using the bikes more in off-peak, non-commuter times of day. For example, many people took Nice Rides all night long during the Northern Spark event last June. During the Uptown Art Fair, Nice Ride provided a bike valet and bike parking, accommodating 1,000 bikes each day of the fair.
Nice Ride stations are strategically located near both bus and light rail stops. On the Hiawatha LRT line, Nice Ride kiosks are near every stop between Lake Street and downtown. Bike stations have already been located near every station on the Central Corridor (aka Green Line), ready for its opening in 2014.
Use the bus for your short trips
This winter, consider taking the bus for the trips you might have made on the green bikes. If you need to move around the city for lunch or appointments, meetings or shopping, check out Metro Transit’s HiFrequency routes. It can be easier and faster to jump on board a bus than to drive. Here are some examples.
- Downtown Minneapolis to Uptown? It’s a 15-minute trip on Route 6, which departs every 7 to 10 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes off-peak. Example: catch Route #6 at Hennepin Avenue & 8th Street downtown and get off in Uptown in about 14 to 17 minutes. No worries about parking!
- Downtown Minneapolis to Phillips Eye Institute, Children’s Hospital, or Abbot Northwestern? The #5 Route from Nicollet Mall arrives to these locations in about 15 minutes.
- Over the river for lunch to restaurants in Nordeast? It’s 10 minutes on the #10 from Nicollet Mall & 7th Street South to the corner of University and Central Avenues in Nordeast. Or stay on the bus and check out some of the new restaurants further up Central.
- MSP Airport to downtown Saint Paul? Route #54 from the Lindbergh Terminal to 5th & Minnesota takes about 23 minutes.
- Downtown to the Kingfield neighborhood for Sunday brunch at Currans or a match at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center? Route 19 takes about 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
Benefits of Metro Transit
You can save a lot of money by using the bus for short-term transportation, instead of a car. According to a 2012 report by AAA, it now costs nearly $9,000 per year ($8,946) to operate an average sedan, driven 15,000 miles annually. Not to mention the cost of parking.
In comparison, a one-way fare on Metro Transit is $3.00 or less – even at rush hour. GoTo Cards (available at many retail locations and online) make it very easy to mix the bus into your normal transportation routine. It’s like a pre-paid fare. When you board, you pass the card over a reader and it deducts the cost of that trip. Refill the card at LRT stations, retail locations, or online. Transit passes (which work like GoTo cards) are frequently available through larger employers and colleges and universities.
You might be surprised to know that Metro Transit boasts some of the cleanest-running vehicles of any operating in the Twin Cities. With a fleet of buses running on hybrid energy or ultra-clean diesel, not to mention no-tailpipe light rail, Metro Transit vehicles produce just a fraction of the per-person emissions of individual motor vehicles.
When combined with bicycling and/or walking, riding on the bus or light rail system can significantly improve your health. People who use public transit are more likely to meet the Surgeon General’s recommendation to get physical activity by walking or bicycling for transportation, according to a recent report from the Journal of Public Health Policy. People who use transit walk about 19 minutes per day compared to only 6 minutes per day for non-transit users.
When you think of how public transit operates, its benefit to individual health makes sense. Since public transit is not a door-to-door service, it requires some amount of walking or bicycling to board. That habit of walking or bicycling, to get to and from public transit, apparently begets more walking and bicycling. People, it would seem, are the epitome of Newton’s first law of motion: “An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion.”
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities.
(My mom thought it was a joke.)
From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from Cycles for Change where I also work. Special thanks to Max, who hitched the trailer to my Trek 720 Multisport. I also ran next door to iPho by Saigon and grabbed a couple of delicious, mock duck Banh Mi for the road. Then I was on my way.
Just north of the State Capital, I hopped on the Gateway Trail. It was slow going due to the wind, but the tree farm was just off the trail. Very convenient!
When I arrived at Stillwater Christmas Tree Farm, the tree guys said this was a first! They were nice enough to let me bike into the grove. It took me a while to find the perfect tree to cut, but I finally chose a beautiful Fraser fir.
On the way back to the Twin Cities, I refueled with my mom’s Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies, bananas, and plenty of water. Along the trail, lots of people commented about my cargo, many did a double-take, and some were actually speechless. At a rest stop, I spoke to a runner who had exclaimed, “That’s wonderful!” He told me that he knows a woman who literally runs to the store with a backpack to shop, while he instead jumps in his car. In admiration he stated, “There is another way and you are doing it!” He asked to take a picture of me with his cell phone and then he agreed to snap one of me with my camera.
By the time I returned to South Minneapolis I was hungry and tired, but I still had enough energy to decorate the tree with my friends Kristina and Cole. The 60-mile, all-day excursion was definitely worth it. The tree is perfect.
Try it yourself: Pick up your holiday tree by bike and join the #christmasfeats
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal.
Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when you consider that Minneapolis is colder, on average, than Montreal or Moscow during the winter.
More than one-third (36 percent) of summer bicyclists still ride on clear, winter days in our area, and 20 percent ride even in cold and snow, according to survey data from Bike Walk Twin Cities. And local bike shops report increasingly brisk business during the winter. That’s far different than a few years ago, when many bike shops relied on selling skates, skis and other winter gear to stay open during the colder months.
The fact is, while bicycling is a sport for some, it’s also a means of transportation for many, such as Kirk Johnson of Edina (pictured above), who regularly commutes to his job in downtown Minneapolis by bike – even during the winter. Eight years ago, Johnson sold his car to create a fixed-gear bike and has not regretted the change in his transportation habits.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes,” Johnson says, as he explains his zest for year-round bicycling. Plus, there are added bonuses, he says, such as the sublime aural thrill of bike-riding on snow.
“There is nothing like rolling on fresh snow,” Johnson says. “Super-cold weather makes fresh snow sound squeaky. Mildly cold weather makes it sound pleasantly fluffy.”
Bike Riding During Winter
If you’ve never tried winter bicycling before, it might initially seem daunting, but the more you know about it, the easier it becomes. And keep in mind that until (and if—remember last year) we have persistent ice and snow, riding in winter can be much like any other time of year except that it’s darker and colder. Minneapolis’s network of bike routes—which nearly doubled in recent years to 81 miles of on-street bikeways and 85 miles of off-street bikeways—will serve you well.
Perhaps surprisingly, winter bicyclists are less concerned with getting cold than dressing too warmly. While it’s important to wear appropriate clothing when bicycling, such as thick socks and high-quality gloves, it’s also important to dress in layers to prevent overheating. Wickable undergarments help keep sweat away from your skin, while outer garments with zippers can be easily opened to provide natural air conditioning. Stay away from cotton!
Besides a quality coat and gloves, Johnson’s typical winter-bike attire includes jeans and long johns, a balaclava, ski goggles and helmet cover, and special winter bicycling shoes, which are insulated and waterproof. On especially cold days, he’ll don an extra balaclava.
When the snow falls and ice accumulates, more route planning is required. Side streets, which are great for riding the rest of the year, are often too slushy for good traction. While efforts are made to keep bike lanes clear, over time the build-up of snow at the edges of roads can push parked cars into the bike lane. When this happens, the best routes for cyclists often are roads with two lanes in each direction—and a willingness on the part of the cyclist to take the lane in order to be visible and safe. This is what state law says: to ride to the right unless safety and obstructions require the cyclist to take the lane.
Snowy weather might also lead to some equipment changes—a different bike and studded tires. Considering that in a real Minnesota winter, you’ll be bicycling through snow, slush, sand and salt, you won’t want to regularly bike in the winter on a top-end machine. Many winter bicyclists, including Johnson, prefer riding a single-speed or fixed-gear bike, for their simplicity.
Bikes with internal geared hubs are a relatively new and increasingly popular alternative. Available from multiple manufacturers, these bikes offer multiple gears, but all of the moving and shifting parts are contained with the bike hub, protecting them from the elements. Local bike shops also have options—including used “beater” or “winter” bikes that you can buy cheaply and use for the season.
Other tips for winter bicycling success:
Get good lights – One of the greatest potential hazards in winter bicycling is being improperly lit. Invest in bright front and back lights for your bike, and consider also adding side lights and wearing reflective clothing and/or arm or leg bands. The more you can be seen in low-light and no-light conditions, the better!
Ride slowly, as needed – Just as you reduce speed when driving a car through snow and ice, so also with winter bicycling.
Lower your seat and tire pressure – If you need to stop quickly, you’ll want to be able to quickly plant your feet on the ground. A lower tire pressure provides greater grip, and helps smooth a bumpy ride.
Give motorists extra attention – Despite the increasing popularity of winter bicycling, many motorists are still unaccustomed to seeing bicyclists riding in cold weather. Ride accordingly. Be cautious and alert. At marked intersections, try to be sure that all drivers see you before proceeding.
Many regular winter bicyclists, such as Johnson, particularly love the reliability and self-sufficiency of their activity. Unlike with motor vehicles, a bike always starts, regardless of the temperature. It only needs you to get going. “The biggest challenge (in winter bicycling) is staying organized for all of the extra layers of protection,” Johnson says.
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
We’ve heard a lot about Kristy Allen and her business, Beez Kneez recently. We’ve heard stories of people spotting her on the streets–bee gear and all. And we know she’s a big part of our local bike community here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. So, we thought what better way to recognize this small business owner and avid cyclist than to give her the stage here on Bike Walk Move. See what Kristy has to say below about how she got into cycling, what routes she takes when bicycling for business and how bicycling has impacted–and driven–her business.
Why bike delivery, as opposed to delivering by car, or using a package delivery service like UPS or the USPS?
Bicycle delivery does less damage to my pocket book, to the environment and is great exercise. Many people try to order honey from the suburbs or other states but we would rather keep it in a distance I can bike to. We really believe that the less we can contribute to an oil based economy, the better everyone will be in the long run. Obviously, we can’t avoid it completely but where Beez Kneez can make an impact, we will.
How did bicycling become such a big part of Beez Kneez?
As a year round commuter in Minneapolis, biking became a part of my lifestyle. When I started farming, especially with bees, I became aware of how much driving was involved. I wanted to combine my two passions as best I could so the beginning of the Beez Kneez bicycle delivery was motivated by two equal parts; my need to paint my bike to make it through another winter and a proposition by my Aunt and Uncle from Bar Bell Bee Ranch to sell some honey in the city.
How did you get into bicycling in the first place?
After owning a car in the city for years and realizing I didn’t need a car in Minneapolis, I sold it and bought a good bicycle. The reasons were financial and moral.
Logistically, how do you deliver the honey? Do you use trailers? Panniers? And, what’s the most honey you’ve delivered in one run?
I use both trailers and panniers. On the busiest delivery day, I hauled over 120 lb’s in one run but every Saturday and some Sunday’s, I would bring well over 100#’s of honey to the Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets
What routes do you use the most often in your work? Which do you find most useful?
It depends. What makes my bike delivery so possible is the existence of all the amazing bike paths we have in the city. I regularly use the Midtown Greenway and the River Road Parkway, Bryant Ave. Bike Boulevard and 38th Ave. I love Minnehaha Parkway, too. However, I would love to see a north and south version of the Midtown Greenway without cars.
How far away is your typical delivery or how far is a typical day’s route?
I average 20-25 miles.
What about weather? Does bike delivery of honey work in colder months?
It does work. I have to stop more frequently and warm up, I use the Freewheel locker room and café, and the YMCA hot tub/sauna are a must for mental and physical recovery, depending on the day. I have the right gear to make it work and plenty of practice. However, the mild winters are making it easier.
What are the biggest benefits of running a business entirely using bikes? Challenges?
Cost and exercise are probably the biggest benefit and it really makes a difference when you are delivering in the city. The exposure one can have on a bike, connecting people who are passionate about biking with farming and the very important issues facing our pollinators.
Do you believe most of the people who do business with you do so, in part, because of your commitment to sustainability and your bike delivery strategy?
Yes, but many also like the product for taste and the health benefits in raw honey as well as a desire to support the issues facing honeybees.
How does your bike delivery system–as a visual marketing tool–help generate sales for your business? What percent of your sales have come from people who originally saw you or others from Beez Kneez on a delivery?
It is hard to give exact numbers but I can gather its effectiveness by the amount of attention I get on or off the road. I have passed out cards en route on the Midtown Greenway numerous times. Almost every day, I get recognized as the “bee lady” or friends of friends say they saw me on this day on this or that street. Also, most of my retail locations and a good portion of restaurants have approached my business, not the other way around.
What do people (in cars, out walking, or on bikes) say to you and others when out on a delivery run? What’s the funniest thing someone has said to you?
I could write a small novel on this question and I should really blog about it more but people say lots of things. The most common is “I like your helmet.” Or “cool socks.” Last night some guy asked about seeing me at Powderhorn 24 and then said I knew because of your antlers. One woman on Minneahaha Parkway asked “if I got good reception?”
You’re a big part of the local bicycling community. What’s one thing we could do, as a community, to help get more people on bikes?
We do pretty good job in this city but I would say add more bike lanes, especially north/south that are strictly for bikes, make more roads that can safely include very visible bike lanes like Park Ave. and Portland Ave. in Minneapolis and encourage the combination of public transit and bikes. I put my bike on the train the first time the other day and it was a really easy experience. More health campaigns that involve rewards from health insurance companies if you bike more.
Friday, November 16th, 2012
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal.
If it seems like there are suddenly more bike lanes in our community, you are not mistaken!
Since the start of 2011, Minneapolis has nearly doubled its bike lanes on city streets from 45 miles to 81 miles (as well as 85 miles of off-street bikeways). St. Paul has 77 miles of on-street bike lanes, with more in the works, and many suburbs, such as Edina, are also adding substantial new bike lanes.
Besides expanding the amount of bike lanes in the city, Minneapolis has also increased bike lane types: the city is home to nine different varieties of on-street bicycle routes, not including off-street bicycling paths.
About Bike Lanes
Bike lanes are defined as “a portion of the roadway which has been designated by striping, signing and pavement marking for the preferential or exclusive use by bicyclists.” In general, all bike lanes are one-way (carrying bicyclists in the same direction as adjacent traffic), on the right side of the roadway, and located between the traffic lane and the parking lane (if there is one).
Designated bike lanes offer several benefits to all roadway users, including motorists and pedestrians:
- Safety– With bike lanes present, motorists and bicyclists stay in safer, more central positions in their respective lanes, according to recent research by the University of Texas. When passing bicyclists, motorists decreased their incidences of wide swerves into adjacent lanes (nearly nine out of 10 times) or close passes. And bicyclists traveled a more predictably straight path within the bike lane.
In addition, adding designated bicycle lanes typically has a calming effect on vehicle traffic. For example, a study found that a city in Washington was able to dramatically reduce average vehicle speed from 44 mph to 35 mph (the posted speed limit) by converting a busy two-lane suburban road into a roadway with narrower traffic lanes, bike lanes, landscaping and sidewalks.
Bicyclists are also less likely to ride on sidewalks when bike lanes are present. Studies have shown that bicyclists increase their accident risk by 25 times when riding on the sidewalk, due to the fact that motorists typically focus on street traffic, and do not notice bicyclists suddenly exiting sidewalks onto the street, and the risk of pedestrian crashes.
- Roadway cost-savings – For the cost of paint and roadway signs to designate bike lanes, cities can instantly increase the capacity of their existing roadways, without costly expansion. For example, 91 bicyclists ride every two hours on West Franklin Avenue, just west of Nicollet Avenue, according to the 2011 Bike Walk Twin Cities Count Report.
- Decreased vehicle traffic – Each bicyclist (or pedestrian) you see potentially means one less person travelling by motor vehicle. This frees up roadway capacity for motor vehicle users.
- Economic development benefits – Areas that add designated bike lanes often enjoy an economic renaissance. For instance, when Orlando, Fla., converted a four-lane undivided roadway into a three-lane road with bike lanes and on-street parking, city officials noted that pedestrian traffic increased, and several new businesses opened on the street.
Types of Bike Lanes
While Minneapolis has nine distinct types of bike lanes/markings, they basically fall into one of three categories:
- Traditional bike lanes – These are the most common of bike lanes. They are typically at least 5 feet wide, and marked by solid bike lanes with a white bicycle symbol in each block.
A variant of this type is a green bike lane – these are pavement markings used to highlight locations where motorists merge across or turn across a bike lane. The green paint is to alert motorists they must yield to thru bicyclists.
Another close cousin of the traditional bike lane is a bike boulevard. Designated with a painted bike symbol and “BLVD” marking, bike boulevards are found on lower-volume, lower-speed streets.
- Buffered bike lanes – These are bike lanes which are buffered from immediately adjacent vehicle traffic through either a painted buffer (marked with white chevrons), or with parked vehicles, which is a special type of configuration called a cycle track. When riding on a cycle track, bicyclists pass parked vehicles on the left, with the curb on the right. Motor vehicles may not drive on top of buffered bike lanes.
- Shared bike lanes – These are bike lanes that are shared by both bicyclists and motor vehicles. They are typically installed on roadways which are too narrow to accommodate traditional or buffered bike lanes. Shared bike lanes may take the form of an advisory bike lane, marked with a dashed white line, or shared lane markings, marked with a symbol of a bike and “sharrows” (derived from “shared” and “arrows”). A motor vehicle must yield to a bicyclist in a shared bike lane, and may pass the bicyclist only when it is safe to do so.
Learning these types of bike lane configurations may take some time, practice and patience, but the reward is a likely much safer, free-flowing and effective traffic community. To learn more about all of the new lane markings in Minneapolis, go to the city’s Web site at: www.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles/understanding-bicycle-markings.
Tags: Minneapolis bike infrastructure, Minneapolis bike lanes, Minnesota bike infrastructure, Minnesota bike lanes, types of bike lanes, types of bike lanes Minneapolis, types of bike lanes Minnesota
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Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Nice Ride officially closed its operations for the season on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 with almost 275,000 rentals for the year. So, in honor of another fantastic year of “Nice Riding”, we thought we’d share a little poem from all of us at Bike Walk Move (with apologies to the late, great Margaret Wise Brown).
Goodnight Nice Ride,
Goodnight trusty green bike,
Goodnight fun rides,
To the places I like.
Goodnight docking stations,
Goodnight Nice Ride key,
Goodnight bike-share system,
Helping me be where I should be.
Goodnight immediate chances,
To traverse our city’s sharrows.
Goodnight teeming streets,
Goodnight gentle parks,
Goodnight to the neighbor’s schnauzer,
Who greets me with his barks.
Goodnight towering trees,
Goodnight wood thrush,
And goodnight to Mother Nature,
Goodnight hours of sun,
Goodnight balmy air,
Goodnight Nice Ride friends, everywhere.
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
The following post is an excerpt from a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal.
Just as fall’s arrival catches many with coats and hats still in storage, so too does it hinder bicyclists’ ability to see and be seen during key dawn and dusk hours.
Between now and winter solstice (Dec. 22) we lose about two minutes of sunlight each day. Bicyclists who think they can continue to safely ride at this time without being properly illuminated and reflected are putting themselves and others at serious risk.
“More light!” — the famous final words of German poet and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1832 — could just as easily describe many bicyclists along the city’s most popular bikeways. But it doesn’t need to be this way. For little more than the cost of a half-dozen Starbucks’ Frappuccinos (about $5.50 apiece) you can get a high-quality set of front and rear bike lights from a local bicycle shop or mass merchandise store.
Just keep in mind: not all lights are created (or priced) equal. When purchasing bike lights, it pays to ask for expert guidance, and it’s smart to test the lights yourself. Here are four key tips to consider when purchasing bike lights and becoming more illuminated:
- Match your lights to your riding needs. If you’re a regular bike commuter, you should purchase a heavy-duty, high-quality light, which will likely cost several Frappuccinos more than a simple bike light. While bike lights typically range from $15 to $300, you should be able to find a good light with rechargeable batteries for about $50.
- Buy lights as a set. Riding with only a front (white) light is a recipe for disaster. Add in a steady/flashing red rear light for optimal safety. They’re very effective in allowing cars approaching you from behind see you. While Minnesota does not legally require you to ride with a rear light, it’s still smart to do so.
- Carry extra batteries and bulbs. If you purchase a bike light that does not come with rechargeable batteries and/or a halogen bulb, know that sooner rather than later, you’ll be replacing both batteries and bulbs. If so, don’t be caught short in the dark of night. Consider carrying replacement batteries and bulbs with you at all times when bike-riding.
- Wear reflective clothing at night. If you don’t own any reflective clothing, at least invest in a few inexpensive reflective arm and leg bands; they’re easily attachable/detachable. Consider also adding additional reflectors or reflective tape to your bike. Life’s a parade, as they say — you may as well ride around like you’re in one!
Friday, October 26th, 2012
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal.
Is walking your thing? We take it for granted, but walking is far more popular as a commuting mode than bicycling. Nearly twice as many people in Minneapolis walk to work (6.7 percent) as ride bikes (3.5 percent).
Among Midwestern cities, Minneapolis ranks first for pedestrian commuters, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey. And according to Walk Score, a web site that measures the walkability of the nation’s 50 largest communities, Minneapolis ranks ninth (New York City is first). The survey also notes Minneapolis’ most walkable neighborhoods; the top three are Downtown West, Loring Park and Lowry Hill East.
I have friends who regularly walk to work in downtown Minneapolis or at the University of Minnesota – prime walking destinations. I recently met a man who takes long, cross-city walks just for recreation and to see the world up close. He takes Marshall Ave. across the Lake Street Bridge.
I used to myself walk from my job near the Metrodome to meet friends at Loring Park and it was a great after-work walk. At that old job, I walked just over a mile to and from work each day, in all seasons. I especially remember the night that the snow sparkled as I left work and the sky sparkled with stars. I hope that you have had similarly sublime walking experiences.
That said, walking has lately become far more hazardous for some pedestrians. So far this year, 23 pedestrians have been killed by vehicles in Minnesota, compared with 14 at this time a year ago. This includes the high-profile death of a 19-year-old Macalester College transfer student from France, who had been in the United States for one day, killed while attempting to cross Hamline Ave. at Grand Ave. in St. Paul.
Senseless deaths such as these helped spark the state’s first pedestrian campaign in nearly 15 years. The “Share the Road” campaign from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), now featured on billboards, bus signs and radio ads, reminds drivers to stop at crosswalks – even those which are unmarked – and look both ways before turning corners. It also reminds walkers and runners to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road, and clearly show your intention to cross the road. Other guidelines for drivers and pedestrians include:
- Watch for pedestrians at all times; make yourself visible to drivers – Drivers need to continuously scan for pedestrians, especially when backing up and driving through parking lots. Pedestrians need to make themselves visible at all times, and stand clear of any obstacles (parked cars, buses, hedges, etc.) that impede their visibility. Cross only in well-lit areas, and wear bright and/or reflective clothing if walking at twilight or night.
- Avoid distracted and dangerous behaviors – Motorists need to put away all distractions (cell phones, make-up, food, etc.) when driving and always stop for pedestrians – even when they’re in the wrong or crossing mid-block. Similarly, pedestrians and runners need to cross only at crosswalks or intersections, always obey traffic signals, and remove headphones and stay off cell phones while crossing the road. Pedestrians who are intoxicated should exercise particular care while walking – or be escorted home by a sober companion.
You might think that motorists cause the majority of pedestrian/vehicle crashes, but according to MnDOT, the ratio is approximately 50/50. Motorists cause about half of pedestrian collisions due to failure to yield, distracted driving and inattention. Pedestrians are the cause due to ignoring signs or signals, inattention and crossing streets mid-block.
We believe many roadways themselves are becoming more pedestrian-friendly. Since 2007, through a federal grant, Bike Walk Twin Cities has been helping local cities improve their sidewalk and roadway infrastructure to provide safer and more accessible routes for pedestrians and bicyclists.
For example, road diets – the conversion of four-lane roads to three lanes, with a left-turn lane in the middle – make streets easier for pedestrians to cross. Such crossings are enhanced further when the road diet also includes curb extensions, in which the sidewalk is expanded further into the intersection. An example in Minneapolis is along 10th Ave. S.E.
Bicycle boulevards are another key safety/access improvement. These offer priority to bicyclists and walkers, as well as local motorists, on certain streets by diverting through-traffic to busier nearby arterial streets. Minneapolis examples include 40th St., Bryant Ave. S., 22nd Ave. N.E.,, and 5th St. N.E.
To learn more about the MnDOT “Share the Road” campaign, visit www.sharetheroadmn.org.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
The list of Twin Cities’ bike routes we’ve featured continues to grow. We’ve already put the spotlight on the bike lanes along Blaisdell and 1st Avenues, the bicycle boulevards along 5th St. and 22nd Ave. in Northeast Minneapolis, the bicycle lanes on Emerson and Freemont Avenues in North Minneapolis and the bike lanes along Como Avenue. Today, we’d like to highlight a brand-new route connecting Roseville, Falcon Heights, and Lauderdale with the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
But before we dive into the details about this new route, we want to invite you to a celebration and group ride. On Nov. 1, join us for a ceremony, activities and food – Mim’s Café falafel sandwiches, Saint Paul Classic Cookie Co. cookies and coffee donated by Peace Coffee – from noon to 1 p.m. on the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus at the Department of Horticultural Science Display and Trial Garden (corner of Gortner and Folwell Avenues). Then, hop on your bike and follow along on a group ride from 1 to 2:30 p.m. There’s even a free Bike Walk Move bag for the first 20 people who arrive for the ride. We encourage RSVPs for the group ride so we can plan accordingly. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-789-1403 to reserve your spot!
These new routes along Fairview, Larpenteur, and Gortner make it easier and safer than ever before to access the University of Minnesota-St. Paul Campus (and from there routes to Minneapolis and St. Paul), local shopping centers, transit hubs, schools, and other trail systems.
The southern end of the route begins on West Dan Patch Avenue, just west of the University of Minnesota Transitway. After going west for one block, the route turns north onto Gortner Avenue for ¾ of a mile through the University of Minnesota-St. Paul Campus. From there, the route intersects a west-east bike lane on Larpenteur Avenue, which runs from Coffman Street to Fairview Avenue. The final leg of the route runs along Fairview Avenue for 1.5 miles, from Larpenteur Avenue to County Road B2 in Roseville.
This new route features bicycle and pedestrian facilities for all levels of users, including commuter and recreational bicyclists and walkers (access to local businesses, dining, and retail), and those trying to improve their health.
- On-street bike lanes. The new lanes on Gortner Avenue (between Dan Patch and Larpenteur), Larpenteur Avenue (between Coffman and Larpenteur) and Fairview Avenue (between County Road B and Larpenteur) make it quick and easy for cyclists to get around.
- New sidewalks. New sidewalks near Rosedale Center, the Gibbs Museum and on the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus will make it easier for people to reach all kinds of destinations more easily.
- New signal systems. Along the entire route, signal systems have been retrofitted with countdown timers allowing safe pedestrian and bicycle movement.
- Nice Ride stations. There is one Nice Ride station on the route: The University of Minnesota-St. Paul Campus Station, which is near Dan Patch Avenue and Gortner Avenue. The University of Minnesota Student Center Nice Ride Station, near Buford Avenue and Buford Circle, is also a nearby option.
The new route connects with a number of bike trails, namely those on the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus and the State Fairgrounds, as well as those along County Road B and County Road B2 in Roseville. The route also intersects with the dedicated bike lanes on Roselawn Avenue and the bike-friendly Cleveland Avenue.
Specifically, new on-street bike lanes on Fairview (between County Road B and Larpenteur Ave.) link to existing bike routes north along Fairview and east-west along County Road B2. The route passes Evergreen Park and Corpus Christi Catholic Church, and provides easy access to nearby destinations such as Brimhall Elementary, Fairview Community Center, Ramsey County Library, Erik’s Bike Shop, and Har-Mar Mall.
The most northern tip of the route, in Roseville, features new and wider sidewalks on both sides of Fairview (between County Road B2 and County Road B) and a shared-path for bicycling and walking under Highway 36. These new features will make it easier to walk or bike to numerous businesses at and near Rosedale Center and to connect to the Metro Transit Center, which serves both regular and commuter/express bus routes (32, 65, 84, 87, 223, 225, 227, 260, 264, 801).
Landmarks and notable businesses around the route
The new route isn’t just a great connector between Roseville and the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus; there are also lots of sights and stops along the way. A few highlights include:
We hope to see you at the celebration and group ride Nov. 1!
Monday, October 15th, 2012
Good news for bicyclists in Edina and anyone who would like to see less traffic congestion in the area: The city is expanding its biking capacity with the addition of 48 bike racks and bike-friendly improvements to key roads. These improvement include the addition of a bicycle boulevard, advisory bicycle lanes, green lanes and bicycle detectors at traffic signals – all factors that help contribute to safe on-street biking.
Several of the changes will also make it easier for bicyclists to travel north-south within Edina and west-east between Edina and Minneapolis. These key roadways include 54th Street, Wooddale Avenue and Valley View Road and are already popular routes. The first advisory bicycle lanes in Edina will appear on Wooddale Avenue and on parts of 54th Street. Advisory bike lanes look like dedicated bike lanes, except a dashed line is used in place of a solid bike lane stripe. A dashed line signals to drivers that they may drive in the bike lane space when a bicyclist is not present:
Many of the new bike racks will be installed downtown Edina at 50th and France. Those twenty-nine racks will help ease traffic congestion and free up space in parking ramps. The racks will be on France outside Cocina del Barrio and Walgreens and on 50th outside College Nannies & Tutors, D’Amico & Sons, Edina Liquor, Lunds and Lush Cosmetics. They are three feet tall, match the décor of the area and standard U-style bike locks can be used on them.
The 14-member Bike Edina Task Force led the project, which is funded in part by Bike Walk Twin Cities, a program of Transit for Livable Communities. The improvements are considered the first phase in a larger bikeway system outlined in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
Have you seen the new lanes and racks yet? Will you take advantage of these changes and consider biking next time you go shopping at 50th and France? Would you like to see more suburbs embrace bike-friendly infrastructure?
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when