The Bike/Walk Twin Cities initiative unveiled the five projects it will fund out of the 2008 round of solicitations. Three bike/walk streets and two livable streets were selected, and there was a lot of media coverage! Stories about bike/walk streets appeared on the Minnesota 2020 website, in the Star Tribune/Roadguy Blog, MinnPost, KSTP, KMSP (notice TLC’s own Jaméz Smith!), and KARE. You can also view a slide show of all our photos from the event.
Richfield (July 10, 2008) – Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians prepare for a new way to share your turf. Twin Cities cyclists and pedestrians will soon have priority on new bike walk streets to be built in the metropolitan area.
Bike walk streets for Richfield, Minneapolis and Saint Paul were announced today as part of $1.8 million in federal grants issued through Bike Walk Twin Cities. The goal of Bike Walk Twin Cities is to increase biking and walking as an alternative to driving.
“These designs will give a new face to urban streets, and convey a new message,” said Lea Schuster, executive director of Transit for Livable Communities, the nonprofit organization that administers Bike Walk Twin Cities, a $21.5 million federal program. “Bike walk streets accommodate auto travel but give priority to cyclists and pedestrians,” she explained. “This creates a new paradigm, and we’re excited to be working with cities that are moving in this exciting direction.”
“Bike walk streets, also known as bicycle boulevards or bike streets, are already popular around the world,” said Karen Nikolai, Bike Walk Twin Cities Advisory Committee. “Now the Twin Cities can join Portland, Oregon and other major bicycling cities by creating neighborhood-friendly bike walk streets to help people save money, get in shape and lower global warming pollution.”
In addition, two projects designed to make biking and walking safer on higher traffic streets were announced. One project will connect the cities of Roseville, Lauderdale and Falcon Heights to the University of Minnesota. The second will create a bike/pedestrian trail along Richfield Parkway in Richfield.
Among the Bike Walk Twin Cities projects announced today:
- Oliver Avenue Bicycle Street. This 1.85 mile bike walk street will offer an attractive alternative to driving for the 5,400 employees at the nearby Best Buy Headquarters; 800 students, who attend Richfield Middle School; and others who use the street to reach their destinations. It features a raised crosswalk over busy 66th Avenue, 10-foot wide lanes and no cross-vehicle traffic for one mile.
- Richfield Parkway. A pedestrian/bike trail will be included along Richfield Parkway, featuring 10-foot wide paths, a raised median and a public gathering place. This trail will connect cyclists and walkers to bus lines, Taft Park, Cedar Point shopping center and a proposed 200-unit elderly housing center.
“These projects will provide our residents and those commuting through our city with safe and scenic routes to jobs, schools, shops or other destinations,” said Richfield Mayor Debbie Goettel.
- Filmore and 6th Avenues Bike Walk Street. This 4.1 mile bike walk street will provide a direct route from Northeast Minneapolis to downtown and connects to the Stone Arch Bridge along the Mississippi River. An estimated 400 and 800 cyclists and pedestrians will use the street daily.
“Northeast Minneapolis will now have great bike and pedestrian access to the center city,” said Minneapolis City Council Member Robert Lilligren. “Adding this bike walk street is an important link in Minneapolis’ transportation system.”
- Highland Parkway Bicycle Boulevard. This 3.5 mile project will create a bike walk street connecting Saint Paul to Minneapolis via the Ford Bridge. The project will close a sidewalk gap along the route, implement a new specially marked shared street, and minimize cross-vehicle traffic for cyclists.
Speed limits for motorized traffic will be reduced to 25 mph.
“The Highland Parkway Bicycle Boulevard will be Saint Paul’s first bike walk street, accommodating those who cannot or choose not to drive and slowing drivers to keep cyclists and walkers safe,” said Anne Hunt, environmental policy director for Mayor Chris Coleman’s Office.
Roseville/Falcon Heights/University of Minnesota
- Northeast Suburban Campus Connector. This 3-mile project connects the three communities of Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and Roseville to the University of Minnesota. The construction of wider sidewalks, off-street bike trails, on-street bike lanes and landscaping and benches will create a pleasant, neighborhood-friendly street along Fairview Avenue.
“This project will provide an appealing option to driving for those commuting from the northeast suburbs,” said Roseville Mayor Craig Klausing. “We expect up to 2,000 people will use this new bike connection.”
“The rising cost of gasoline is encouraging more people to dust off their bikes and walking shoes and seek alternatives to driving,” Schuster said. “With these investments, which create safer, more pleasant places to walk and bike, we are well on our way to changing the way people think about how they get to work, run errands and visit their neighborhood stores.”
Today’s grants are the second series awarded by Bike Walk Twin Cities. In June 2007, $7 million was granted to 30 projects.
About Bike Walk Twin Cities
Bike Walk Twin Cities is a federally-funded initiative to increase biking and walking, and reduce driving in Minneapolis and neighboring communities. Working with local governments, businesses, organizations and residents, the initiative provides public education and allocates funds for safer crosswalks, bike lanes and other improvements. Transit for Livable Communities is designated by federal law to administer the $21.5 million Bike Walk Twin Cities program (www.bikewalktwincities.org).