Walk the Talk: Bike Plan and I-94 Advocacy, Plus Our Award-winning Bridge

Editor’s noteWalk the Talk is Streets.mn’s carefully curated, highly partisan collection of both serious and fun-loving events, community meetings and opportunities for engagement that we think will interest our readers. Email your ideas to Hawken Habig, one of our daily editors, at hawkenhabig@gmail.com.

Sign Making for Twin Cities Boulevard — Tuesday, February 13, 5–7 p.m.

The Rethinking I-94 saga continues: In the latest step of the process, the House Transportation Committee will conduct a legislative hearing concerning the status of the project on Thursday, February 22. Public participation is welcome. Our Streets Minneapolis is organizing a group to attend in support of the Twin Cities Boulevard concept, which would convert the auto-exclusive interstate to an at-grade, multimodal thoroughfare. Our Streets — which has spearheaded a number of impactful transportation-related initiatives across the Twin Cities — will be presenting the results of an independent study of the boulevard concept to the committee.

In preparation for the hearing, to be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on February 22, Our Streets is hosting a sign-making session on Tuesday, February 13, at 5 p.m.

Webinar: How to Plan Multimodal Trips in the Twin Cities — Tuesday, February 13, Noon–1 p.m.

Need help understanding the multitude of multimodal transportation options in the Twin Cities? Move Minneapolis has you covered: In the latest event for their ongoing series of webinars, Move Minneapolis and its panel of experienced transit users, pedestrians and cyclists will cover topics such as trip planning tools and transferring and connecting to other modes of transport. For more information on the event and the organization, click here. (Note: The recording will be made available to anyone who registers, even if you can’t make it there live.)

Keep an Eye on the New State Rail Plan

Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago route, expected to begin service later this year. Graphic courtesy of MnDOT.

Minnesota’s last statewide rail plan was adopted in 2015. The all-encompassing document laid out a vision for everything rail-related in the North Star state, from freight infrastructure improvements to potential new passenger routes. Since then, that vision has been partly realized: The state is anticipating the implementation of the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago Intercity Rail Line later this year, and the outlook for the Northern Lights Express appears optimistic. Now, MnDOT is in the thick of preliminary work for a new State Rail Plan that will create a framework for the next 20 years, and the agency is expected to release more information on it within the next couple of months.

This is a reminder to review our existing plan and sign up for email updates in the meantime. And I will provide updates opportunities for engagement in later editions of “Walk the Talk”!

Site Tours for Potential Mississippi Trail Bridge — Saturday, February 3, 10 and 11 a.m.

Cross section of the Mississippi and the existing BNSF bridge, courtesy of MPRB.

Minneapolis may soon receive an upgrade to its city-wide bike and pedestrian network. Situated between the Broadway and Lowry Avenue bridges exists an old, little-used BNSF rail crossing over the Mississippi River. On one side, North Minneapolis and Ole Olson Park; on the other, Northeast Minneapolis and an existing bike trail, which terminates near the bridge. Minneapolis and its Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) recently evaluated the feasibility of implementing a bike/ped crossing where the bridge is situated; the MPRB is now in the process of conducting various community engagement efforts.

Two site tours are planned for this Saturday, February 3: one at 10 a.m. on the west side and another at 11 a.m. on the east. These will provide an opportunity to get a hands-on look at the project and give your thoughts to the Park Board. Comprehensive information on the project and upcoming events may be found here!

Bridgehunter Awards: Update

In the last edition of our “Walk the Talk” series, we reported on an opportunity to represent Minnesota in the 2023 Bridgehunter Award. Now, the results are in: We won! Or, at least, we did well in a couple of categories.

The recently renovated Third Avenue Bridge won first place for the Best Bridge Photo and finished second for Best Restored Historic Bridges by vote tally. It also received the coveted Author’s Choice Award for the Best Restored Historic Bridge. Many thanks to all who participated in the voting; Now, truly, no one can deny the award-winning status of that robust, majestic bridge.

St. Paul Bicycle Plan Public Hearing — Friday, February 2, 8:30 a.m.

Image courtesy of the City of St. Paul

St. Paul is close to adopting the final version of its new and improved city-wide Bicycle Plan — but not before one more round of public commenting! The St. Paul Planning Commission will host a public hearing this Friday, February 2, at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall in downtown St. Paul and will accept comments via email (bikes@stpaul.gov) and post mail until Monday, February 5 at 4:30 p.m.

After considering any last-minute comments and updating the plan accordingly, the team will send off the final draft to be reviewed by the St. Paul City Council. The plan, which focuses on protected bikeways, is being finalized after several contentious debates around bicycle infrastructure, including the recently approved Summit Avenue Trail, covered extensively on Streets.mn. Available here in full, the latest draft of the Bicycle Plan commits to an expanded and improved bicycle network. Show up in support of the plan on February 2, or send in a comment, including any constructive critique! More information on the plan and the process may be found here.

About Hawken Habig

Hawken is a student of Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a copy editor at Streets.mn. He also composes Streets.mn's bi-weekly event listing "Walk the Talk;" email any ideas for events or opportunities to hawkenhabig@gmail.com!