I just got back from a mind-altering trip to Minneapolis. I went with biking friends, Jeff Stephens (ED of Consider Biking), Greg Bachman (Pickerington City Engineer and MORPC Board member), Alan McKnight (Head of Columbus Recreation and Parks) and Nick Poppa (Columbus City Transportation Engineer) to study the state of the art bikeway system and programs in the "bicycle capital of the US" according to Bicycle Magazine. The trip was organized and sponsored by Bikes Belong from Boulder, Colorado--they do a great job spreading the twowheel gospel around the country. For this trip, they invited delegations from Columbus and Pittsburgh. We were there for 2 1/2 days and met with the Mayor, who is a huge biking advocate and heard presentations on the Alternate Transportation Pilot Project (the $25 million 5 year federally funded transportation project that seeks to create significant mode shift in Minneapolis/St Paul--to date they've achieved 4% mode shift in the region), the "NiceRide" bike share program (launched with 700 bikes at 65 stations and adding another 250 bikes this year), winter biking (Minneapolis has 1% mode shift in the winter--the same mode shift Columbus has in the summer!) and other cutting edge ideas. We used the NiceRide bikes to bike approx 20 miles around Minneapolis to experience their amazing trail and on-road systems. We gathered lots of great ideas to bring back to CBus--look for some of these ideas to be implemented in the near future. Now for the photos.............
Here's our CBus delegation....
Our meeting with Minneapolis Mayor JT Rybak who is a big twowheel advocate and raised $3 million to implement the city's bike share program.
Here's a NiceRide bike share docking station. They have 65 stations with 700 bikes located all over Minneapolis. Annual memberships cost $50 and this entitles you to unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes. The system was rolled out in June last year and had 100,000 rides during the short season. They take the bikes in for the winter although lots of folks bike through the winter in Minneapolis--as many people as bike in the warm weather months in CBus. Go figure.
Here are some shots of our merry band as we biked around Minneapolis.
They separate the bike trail from the pedestrian trail in Minneapolis--a great idea if you have the money and enough right-of-way to build two paths.
They have a couple great bike stations along the bikeway that house shower/changing facilities, a wonderful cafe, a bike repair shop and storage for the NiceRides.
Here's an innovative way to put a protected bike lane onto a busy street--it's called a "buffered" bike lane or a "cycle track"--the cars to the left of the bike lane are parked, not moving.
We stayed at a hotel on the U of M campus (Minnesota, not Michigan) and look what we came across on one of our bike rides.....
I was wearing my usual OSU ball cap and when they saw it they went nuts and began to give me the one-finger welcome. I responded with a rousing round of "O-H".......................no reply.
They modified their one-finger welcome when I raised my camera to snap this photo--all in good fun.
The bottom line is Minneapolis is the leader in bikeway infrastructure and programing in the US. They have enlightened leadership and passionate grassroots support for the twowheeling revolution in their community. It has become very much a part of Minneapolis' "brand." And they have been able to achieve a 4% mode shift in the "coldest big city in the world." They have a saying in Minneapolis..........."What doesn't freeze you, makes you stronger."
We were greatly inspired by our friends up north and hope to follow their lead here in CBus. Power to the Pedal!!