Report shows Minneapolis has become an even better city for bicycling
Already one of the top cities in the country for bicycling, Minneapolis improved even more over the past year. In 2011, bike traffic numbers increased, the bicycle crash rate decreased and the number of bikeways doubled, according to the City of Minneapolis Bicycling Account: a recently released account on the progress made in Minneapolis’ bicycle program.
Some of the findings in the report:
· Bikeway network expanded - 37 miles of bikeways were added in Minneapolis in 2011. There are now 167 miles of bikeways: just 11 miles from the City goal of having 178 miles of bikeways by 2015.
· Ridership increased - From 2010-2011 the number of bicyclists increased 25 percent, and from 2007-2011 the number of bicyclists jumped 47 percent.
· Bike-vehicle collision rate decreased - Over the past 18 years, the annual bicyclist-motorist crash rate decreased from 10 percent to 4 percent of all bicycle commuters. This drop comes at a time when bicycling has increased dramatically.
The Bicycling Account summarizes the recent progress made in all areas of the City’s bicycle program. The document is also intended to serve as a benchmarking tool to help City staff meet bicycle transportation goals.
Other highlights in the Bicycling Account include the expansion of the Nice Ride bike share program, the City’s adoption of a Bicycle Master Plan, the opening of two new bike centers in town and having Minneapolis recognized as a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
A total of 35 miles of on-street bikeways were added, including 3.1 miles on repaved and restriped streets downtown Minneapolis. There are now 80 miles of on-street bikeways in Minneapolis: an 80 percent increase over last year. Improvements in 2011 included the completion of some major bike thoroughfares:
· Cedar Lake Trail – The final leg of the nation’s first bike freeway was completed in 2011, making it possible for bicyclists to travel from western suburbs to Downtown and beyond without riding along streets with motor vehicle traffic.
· RiverLake Greenway – Existing streets were enhanced for bike traffic, creating a bicycle boulevard that extends from the Chain of Lakes to the Mississippi River.
· The Hiawatha LRT Trail connection – This link will help bicyclist get to and from Downtown from the trail along the Hiawatha light-rail line.
· Bryant Avenue Bikeway – This bicycle boulevard connects downtown to south Minneapolis, providing a safer alternative to traveling down the busy nearby arterial, Lyndale Avenue.
Many people already use bikes for transportation in Minneapolis, and the City strives to make bicycling an even more attractive option for others. By choosing to bike instead of drive, residents help keep down traffic congestion, improve our air quality and reduce our dependence on oil. Plus, biking is a healthy way to get around; it boosts physical fitness and lowers health care costs. Minneapolis is among the top cities in the country for bicycle community, according to a U.S. Census comparison of the nation’s 50 biggest cities.
To read the City of Minneapolis Bicycling Account, go to www.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles.
Published Jan. 18, 2012