Have you explored the expanding bike network?
By Hilary Reeves, Communications Director
When the Bike Walk Twin Cities (BWTC) federal nonmotorized transportation pilot began seven years ago, the Minneapolis-area was nationally known for its great system of off-street trails. These include trails along the river, around the lakes, and the Midtown Greenway, as well as trails radiating outward from the core cities (think Luce Line, Cedar Lake, Shingle Creek, Gateway, Bruce Vento, Samuel Morgan, and more).
One major goal of the BWTC pilot was to create an on-street network of routes to connect the trails. A cyclist needed ways to get from the trails to key destinations (downtowns, campuses) and to or from other areas of the cities, such as south Minneapolis, north Minneapolis, Northeast, Saint Paul, Roseville, Edina, and more. Another goal was to fix key gaps in the trail network, such as the gap between the end of the Hiawatha LRT trail and downtown Minneapolis or the gap between the end of the U of M Transitway near TCF Bank Stadium and Bridge 9 and trails along the Mississippi River.
As the BWTC pilot comes to the end of its last year, the new network has taken shape. By the end of this year's construction season, more than 75 miles of new bikeways and sidewalks will be complete, with just a few projects yet to be implemented in 2014. For a recap of 2013 BWTC-funded projects, click here.
To celebrate and encourage exploration of the new network, staff at BWTC have created a few self-guided tours:
Joan's Route. Located in Saint Paul, this route features walking, a bus ride, and Nice Ride bike-sharing. It follows part of the new bicycle boulevard due to be installed this year along Charles Avenue and highlights the Historic Rondo and Little Mekong areas of the city.
Steve's Route. This route focuses on ten features that make Minneapolis a great place to ride your bicycle, including some infrastructure "firsts" for Minnesota, such as advisory bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, and bicycle traffic signals.
Prescott's Route. Starting at Tower Hill Park along University Avenue, this route takes in a number of cultural attractions (from the Guthrie's Endless Bridge to the modernist landscape architecture of Peavey Park) as well as signature new routes, such as the Bryant Avenue Bicycle Boulevard.
These are just a few options featuring new routes and upgrades funded through the BWTC pilot. Over the past few years, several events and group rides have featured new routes as they've opened. See, for instance, the map of Como Avenue created by St. Paul Smart-Trips.
While the intent of the pilot has been to increase use of bicycling and walking for transportation, the new network also can stoke the desires of recreational cyclists. A fifty-mile ride on the new network could be just the thing for a fall weekend. Whether for trips long or short, we hope you enjoy plenty of bicycling and walking this season! The new network makes it safer and easier than ever.
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