02/24/10

Maintenance of Winter Streets Continues to be Popular IssueMaintenance of Winter Streets Continues to be Popular Issue

Maintenance of Winter Streets Continues to be Popular Issue

One thing I learned from our December Winter Streets Workshop (http://www.bikewalktwincities.org/winter-walking-biking-twin-cities) is that there sure are a lot of folks out there who care about the needs of walkers and bicyclists during these challenging winter months and want to see improvements.  That’s important, because one thing we’ve discovered with our monthly counts program (http://www.bikewalktwincities.org/bike-walk-twin-cities-2009-count-report-out) is that there are sure a lot of people who continue to walk and bike even under the harshest conditions.

38 attended the workshop with staff from four different cities, four counties, and the State of Minnesota, as well as nice mix of citizens and consultants.

The workshop, sponsored and hosted by Bike Walk Twin Cities and conducted by Antonio Rosell, principal of Community Design Group, focused not only on the need for better winter maintenance for non-motorists, but also on ways communities can redesign for pedestrians and bicyclists. There was a focus on ensuring that the growing number of “the interested” can be persuaded to be their own engine (http://www.bikewalktwincities.org/beyourownengine) and discover the many benefits (http://www.bikewalktwincities.org/benefits) (to the individual and society) of such a choice.

And in fact, we are the coldest metropolitan area in the World!

(Giving bragging rights to all of our hardy winter bicyclists!)  Yes, according to that ever so reliable source, Wikipedia, our average mean temperature in January is just 13 degrees F. The next coldest city is Montreal, at 14 degrees.  Plus, the Twin Cities gets an average of 45 inches of snow every year –  the most of any major metropolitan area in the United States (but not as much as Montreal). 

What this means is that if anyone should become a leader in the bike walk winter streets maintenance movement it’s our smart and resourceful, ice-savvy people right here in the Twin Cities.   Which is why we’re organizing a discussion group to make this goal a reality.  The first meeting (http://www.bikewalktwincities.org/news-events/events/winter-maintenance-panel)  of this group will take place March 16th at the Radisson at the UM campus led by a panel of experts that Antonio interviewed for his workshop.

 The panel experts will represent and speak about:

·       The University of Minnesota and their use of a brine solution and customized equipment to pre-treat bikeways and sidewalks to prevent icing and snow accumulation

·       The Minneapolis Parks Department with their proactive polices to prioritize all of the most heavily used trails and clear the snow as quickly as possible

·       The City of St. Paul with their new pilot project to provide regular plowing and treatment from curb to curb by instituting a one night a week parking ban on Marshall Ave (to help keep the bike lanes clear)

 

 Community Design Group (http://www.bikewalktwincities.org/winter-walking-biking-twin-cities/winter-streets-presentation-antonio-rosell-principle-community-des) has also developed a page on our website for all the current and best practices involved in winter maintenance.  This includes Antonio’s complete presentation and the great insights of the participants.

We’re quite excited about the March 16th event (http://www.bikewalktwincities.org/news-events/events/winter-maintenance-panel) to continue the sharing of information and its advancement– and to really become the leaders in this growing specialty that more and more cities and counties are beginning to prioritize.

Stay tune to improved winter conditions everywhere!