Nov 8, 2010

We Are So Special!

The City sent a self-congratulatory message to subscribers of the "Bicycle Update" list today. It points out the highlights of the 2010 season, and reads as follows:
Bicycling Update Subscribers,
2010 has been a year of accomplishments for bicycling in Minneapolis. The Cedar Lake Trail, one of the few remaining gaps in the off-street bike path system, is nearing completion. Construction began on Minneapolis’ first bicycle boulevard. Nice Ride Minnesota launched bike sharing with 700 bicycles at 65 locations. And ten miles of street were improved for bicycling.
To learn more view an interactive map of new and improved 2010 bikeways (pdf).You can also visit our new projects website and track the growth of bikeways over the past decade.
Also, Nice Ride Minnesota is beginning a planning process to expand bike sharing.Two workshops will be held for the public to share where they would like to see more bike sharing stations.The first meeting will be in Northeast Minneapolis on Tuesday, November 9th, from 6:30 to 8 pm in the Northrup King Building (1500 Jackson St NE, Suite 314). The second meeting will be held on Thursday, November 11th , from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center (2834 10th Avenue S).
Happy Riding,
City of Minneapolis Bicycle Program
I totally support these enhancements. The Cedar Lake Trail extension is a great upgrade, even if it is a little expensive. The 40th Street Bike Boulevard is a good test case of Bike Boulevards - I rode that project on Saturday between 28th to Chicago, and although I was skeptical of the project at some early planning meetings, I liked the enhancements and traffic calming amenities and think they will enhance east-west connectivity. Nice Ride was a success, despite my early skepticism there as well.

I caution Minneapolis against the sin of hubris, however. Shaun Murphy has done great work to help get these projects developed, and we appreciate his efforts. I think he was instrumental in getting a lot of this work done in 2010. Other projects, such as Marq2, Hennepin Ave., and First Avenue are bike-unfriendly and/or poorly executed. I appreciate that the city is trying to move in the right direction, and based on the PR pieces they are issuing, they view this as important, but a holistic and thoughtful approach and a master plan will be needed to arrive at a coherent and effective bike infrastructure.


  1. I agree that for the most part, Minneapolis is moving in the right direction. I don't always agree with the decisions made or the investment prioritization, but I think there are some folks in City Hall with whom I share a similar vision.

  2. I disagree with the priorities as well. I have learned that factors such as availability of non-motorized transportation funding can have a big impact on what gets done for bike infrastructure. What I may feel is a low-priority project can move forward becaues the funding is in place, and other higher priority projects either languish or never come together due to lack of funding. I think the priorities are getting better, however. Less emphasis on recreational use MUPs and more focus on bike lanes, bike boxes, and connecting routes (such as Southern Connector and the 40th Street Bike Blvd.) are examples of this. Other obvious improvements, like workable solutions downtown, are further down the road. The I-35W bridge street repair project added some bike lanes downtown, but that was a head's up play by Don Pflaum et al to get those added after the re-paving rather than part of a larger program to improve infrastructure. That tells me that the priorities are changing for the better.