The Metropolitan Council and MnDOT are conducting a series of public meetings requesting public input to an ongoing regional Bicycle System Master Study. Their goal is to improve the region’s network of on-road and off-road facilities, particularly working to link regional destinations and urban and suburban work centers.
One of the purposes of the study is to define a regional plan of bikeways, and piece together the current mish-mash of city, county and park trails. As such, they’re seeking the following inputs from users:
- What are some important bicycle trip origins and destinations?
- Where are there gaps and barriers to bicycle travel?
- What routes do people use today?
- What trips would people like to be able to make by bicycle, but cannot due to system gaps?
There are multiple listening sessions planned in the coming weeks:
Apple Valley: April 15, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Apple Valley Community Center
14603 Hayes Road, Apple Valley
White Bear Lake: April 17, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
White Bear Lake Library
4698 Clark Avenue, White Bear Lake
Plymouth: April 24, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
15700 36th Avenue N, Plymouth
Chanhassen: April 25th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Chanhassen Recreation Center
32310 Coulter Blvd, Chanhassen
As you can see, the scheduled sessions are focused to outer ring suburbs with various connectivity issues to the central metro, such as missing river crossings or oddly configured transit. If you have experience or thoughts about the connection of these places to the greater metro via bicycle, consider attending one of these meetings!
Here’s an example: Riding from my home to the NSC Velodrome – a bike-centric destination that is surprisingly difficult to arrive at by bicycle. I’ve taken this route before and saying it’s circuitous is an understatement. I haven’t tried this option, but it looks much better on paper.
Barriers include: MN-65, County-10, US-10, The Blaine Airport, and the Sport Center itself. Contrast it with a very convenient auto route: http://goo.gl/maps/Gioad
I’ll try to make it to one of these meetings, most likely the White Bear Lake one.
Crossing MN-65 through most of the Anoka County corridor is a freak show. I live near the Velo, and to go there, I usually go via the trailer park to cross at 105th in order to preserve my flesh over the 99th option.
Similarly, going south, I usually end up crossing at Osborne, because it’s the least-worst pedestrian timing of any of the Spring Lake Park options.
Why aren’t they having any meetings in Minneapolis and Saint Paul? …the two cities with the largest number of bike riders in the state? I’ve seen the MET Council maps of “existing” and “planned” bike routes in Saint Paul and they’re at least 75% inaccurate and need correcting.
From the post: “As you can see, the scheduled sessions are focused to outer ring suburbs with various connectivity issues to the central metro, such as missing river crossings or oddly configured transit.”
Minneapolis and St Paul receive (comparatively) a LOT of attention when it comes to bicycles. While there is certainly more demand there, it’s the outer-ring suburbs that have the most severe problems.
Don’t believe it? Try biking from a destination in Burnsville to South Bloomington. I picked two random, but not inconceivable ones — a hotel and a church 3 miles apart. 3 miles by car, that is. It’s at least 16.7 miles to legally bike there, and 19.6 if you need to do it during the winter.
Connecting Minneapolis to St. Paul, or even most of the interior-ring suburbs to one of the two, isn’t that tough.
Once you throw in crossing the Minnesota River to the south, or the horrific freak show that is represented by trying to escape Anoka County… the contrast is extreme.
I say this as an East Sider (St. Paul) now living in the wilds of MN-6.