Saint Paul just committed to becoming a better place for people to bike and walk. Its 2019 citywide budget passed unanimously last week. The new budget includes the City’s first-ever dedicated funding for bikeways, plus $1 million to improve and maintain safe sidewalks!
The history-making bikeways funding amounts to $500,000 in ongoing investment. These new resources will support implementation of the Capital City Bikeway bike plan for downtown, and will also be used to help fill network gaps and improve maintenance.
This is an exciting next step for Saint Paul. The City passed its first-ever bike plan in 2015, and has been working to implement it ever since. Move Minnesota’s network of Women on Bikes advocates has been instrumental in successfully advocating for that progress. Dedicated funding will now help make our vision for a bike-friendly city a reality.
The investment in biking and walking was first proposed by Mayor Melvin Carter earlier this year. In introducing his draft budget, Carter emphasized, “To ensure that our city truly works for all of us, we need a city budget that reflects and invests in our values. Investing in our values means building a city that not only meets our needs today, but helps us build a city that our children, and grandchildren, will want to live in. To realize this vision, we need to invest in a future for all of us. That is why our city budget invests in the people and things that matter most to us.”
Move Minnesota’s Executive Director Jessica Treat lives and bikes in Saint Paul with her family. In a recent interview before the budget passed, she shared the views of many fellow residents when she told KSTP News, “We want to bike more, but we don’t feel safe. Sometimes just a stripe of paint isn’t necessarily enough—and we don’t even have striped lanes in a lot of places in Saint Paul. So we need to do some catching up, and to have this dedicated money to be able to invest in bikeways is really important.”
According to the budget draft, the new bikeways funding will enable the City to make improvements such as the installation of painted buffers or physical protection where appropriate, loops to detect bikes at signalized intersections, green conflict zone markings across intersections, and bike facilities striped with more durable materials.
Thanks to Move Minnesota supporters and community members who voiced their support before the vote. And thanks to the mayor and city councilmembers who have committed these resources to make Saint Paul a safer, easier place for all of us to get around.