With Better Infrastructure, the Twin Cities Gets Biking
Biking is a fun, affordable, and sustainable way to get around the Twin Cities. Warmer weather and longer nights coupled with increased bike infrastructure mean more people will be opting to bike or walk to their local destinations. If this is your first time pedaling or if it’s been a while since you’ve biked, we’ve got you covered with good news about bike improvements, destinations for you to explore, and bike resources to get you feeling confident and prepared for your next ride.
From Bike Lanes to Bike Racks, Your Biking Options Have Gotten Better
It is getting easier to pedal all over the Twin Cities with increased bicycle infrastructure and a focus on active transportation. In Saint Paul, Mayor Carter has once again temporarily closed four streets so that residents can stay active and socially distant. Meanwhile, it’s the first spring season with a new bike and pedestrian trail along Ayd Mill Road and the protected off-street route is proving to be great for both bike commuting and for recreation. Move Minnesota chatted with Saint Paul bike commuter, Pat, who said, “The Ayd Mill Trail is a game changer in my neighborhood. Not only does it cut out half of the Jefferson hill, it created a much needed north/south transitway for non-car transportation. And, of course, you can still drive on Ayd Mill. Love seeing all the new ‘regulars’ on the trail in the morning.” Ayd Mill Trail is among the more than 20 miles of new bikeways that Saint Paul opened last just fall! Many of these exciting new bikeways come from years of planning and advocacy to expand Saint Paul bicycle infrastructure. Soon enough you’ll see them on the growing Saint Paul Cycling Map.
Bike parking is also increasing across the Twin Cities with projects in Saint Paul and Minneapolis to add more bike parking in public streets, sidewalks, alleys, and other spaces dedicated to public use. This year, the City of Saint Paul will be installing bike racks in east side neighborhoods. These new bike racks will provide community members a place to securely and conveniently park their bikes as they work, shop, and visit the east side of the city. Look for new bike racks popping up near your favorite business or organization this season! Move Minnesota is supporting these efforts by helping Saint Paul businesses and organizations through our Bike Parking Cost-Share program for private properties.
Minnesota has seen a whopping 51 percent increase in biking and walking over this past year. As the Twin Cities metro continues to transform public spaces to make biking even easier and more enjoyable, developers, business owners and property managers will also need to adapt and think critically about how to incorporate the growing demand from people asking for more bike infrastructure in their apartments and workplaces. Property decision makers can support biking by incorporating incentive-based benefit credits or discounts for renters or employees who choose biking or other sustainable ways of getting around. They can also unbundle rent and parking space costs to offer a rent discount while encouraging more tenants to bike and ride transit. If you’d like to bike more, and these incentives aren’t available at your building yet, you may want to ask!
May is Bike Month! Get Out and Enjoy the Ride
This month is a great time to get biking with beautiful spring weather, community activities, and lots of bike-friendly destinations to explore. To help you along your way, we’ve put together a few ideas and suggested places to visit by bike. For family trips, we encourage you to plan your trip ahead of time and have fun!
Saint Paul’s Grand Round is a great way to get started. The south side of the route follows the Mississippi River on a trail from Indian Mound Park to the western border of the city. Part of this route overlaps the Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail. The north side follows parkways and includes on-street routes on Como Avenue, Wheelock Parkway, and Johnson Parkway. Parts of the Grand Round are still developing with some routes under construction. TrailLink is an online map that shows the finished trails on the Grand Round. Use online maps that are updated regularly to make sure you have the latest information on finished trails. Destinations along the Grand Round include:
- Hidden Falls Regional Park
- Mississippi River Gorge Regional Park
- Como Regional Park
- Como Zoo
- Phalen Regional Park
If you’re wanting to visit the Saint Paul Farmers’ Market in Lowertown, hop on the Bruce Vento Trail along Phalen Parkway, travel through Swede Hollow and wind around behind the Saints Stadium. From the Lowertown farmers’ market, you can explore downtown with the developing Capital City Bikeway on Jackson St., 10th St. and soon Wabasha Ave.
Activities led by local organizations and groups of all levels are always popping up around the Twin Cities. Get connected with other locals who love to bike and learn more about biking in the Twin Cities by following groups like the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition, Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, Major Taylor Bicycling Club, and Grease Rag Ride and Wrench. Get inspired at this upcoming virtual bicycle film festival!
We asked Mary of Saint Paul: “What would you say to someone who is new to biking and just thinking about starting to ride?” She answered, “I have talked to people who seem intimidated about that aspect of how they do it ‘right’ . . . and I would say it is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, so just do what feels right to you and if you are enjoying it, you are doing it right!” We agree! Good luck and happy trails this season as you bike around the Twin Cities. Stay connected with us for more information about biking resources, and share photos of your bike rides around the Twin Cities to @MoveMinnesota on social media!
Blog cover photo provided by Becke Lor.