On the horizon: Multi-modal access to metro area parksOn the horizon: Multi-modal access to metro area parks

By Joan Pasiuk, director, Bike Walk Twin Cities

Awesome news from US DOT! Two Twin Cities metro park areas received funds for sustainable transportation projects through the Federal Transit Administration's Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks program. Transit in parks – not just for Denali and the Grand Canyon anymore!! You can be delighted by the 58 projects funded and dream of improvements in store for Minnesota.

1) The Minnesota River crossing at the Old Cedar Ave bridge in Bloomington will re-establish a bike/ped connection to trail networks in Hennepin and Dakota counties. This gap closure, after a long and contentious struggle, has a resolution underway.

I'm more familiar with the second project, which lies largely within the BWTC grant area.


2) The Multi-Modal Alternative Transportation Project along the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is a partnership between the National Park Service and such agencies as Metro Transit and the Met Council, MnDOT, and MnDNR. What we get is a showstopper plan for using the river corridor for recreation and transportation. Organizing a picnic with the family along the riverbank? New route finding signs and transit information will make it easy to jump on light rail or the numerous connecting bus routes. Planning a cheap date to explore the quiet parts of the city? Jump on a Nice Ride bicycle at the river and enjoy. There were19 new Nice Ride stations funded. Commuting from northern or southeastern suburbs to a job in the central city? On and off-road facilities along the river are at your disposal. Enjoying the park with someone using a wheelchair? Improved transit stops (ADA pads) and sidewalk connections make the river more accessible for all.

More details to come. This is a long-overdue investment in sustainability – creating greater and more environmentally benign access to recreational areas and corridors. In a metro area these improvements are much more than recreational; they are important network connectors that improve access to jobs, education and everyday destinations. These projects will be well used and much loved. Congratulations to all involved in bringing these projects to our communities.

List (PDF) of all projects awarded funds through the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program (TRIP) http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/TransitInParks2011POST.pdf