04/04/11

Biking, Walking & Blogging: Walking, Bicycling, Transit – Peas in the Sustainable Transportation Pod

 

From Joan Pasiuk, Director, Bike Walk Twin Cities

 bus with bike at Capitol

When you think about ways to get around the city without racking up mileage on your car's odometer, there are three key options-transit, bicycling, and walking. At the Minnesota legislature this session, transit has been targeted for funding cuts that, if enacted, would result in service reductions and fare increases. Bike Walk Twin Cities is charged with increasing walking and bicycling transportation, including connections to transit. So this threat to the accessibility and reliability of our transit system is about bicycling and walking as well as trains and buses. The last Metro Transit count recorded 10,461 bicycle loadings over a sixteen-day period in fall 2010 (13.7% of scheduled trips).This statistic is just one indication of the transit/walk/bike link.

 

There is not much research about the interrelatedness of transit service and walking/bicycling transportation in urban areas. (Please let us know if you are aware of such a study.)  At a gut level, you can imagine as well as I the effect on transportation choices if we see significant fare increases or service reductions. More tenuous bicyclists/walkers, without the support of transit for a return trip or weather refuge, could easily pull out car keys in the morning rather than bike or walk. Even more difficult to establish is the effect on transit-dependent residents. For those relying on bike/walk/transit to reach all destinations, restricting one facet of travel can be not just inconvenient but reduce access to jobs, classes, or appointments. To be more informed on the status of transit funding, please see the Transit for Livable Communities web site.

Discover Central Corridor logo

One more note on transit. The Central Corridor will be a transformative urban project here. BWTC has funded a study of bike/walk connections to the Central Corridor, and will continue to explore funding opportunities that improve access. During construction businesses -- especially independent restaurants and shops -- will be stressed. Consider patronizing these businesses over the next two years. One way is with the Discover Central Corridor program, which offers coupons for local merchants.