COMMUNITY VOICES | Open Saint Paul: Citywide Bikeways Plan recommendations

The plan recommends 358 miles of bikeways throughout the city. Do you agree with the recommended placement of these bikeways? Do you have other ideas to improve the bikeway network? If so, please tell us those ideas.

Open Saint Paul is an online forum for civic engagement. Read what others are saying about important Saint Paul topics, then post your own statement. City staff and officials will read the statements and incorporate them into their decision-making process. Click here for more information on Open Saint Paul.

Introduction

The City of Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan establishes a goal to increase the number of people using bicycles to travel around the city. To help accomplish this goal, the City has developed a draft of a Bikeways Plan, a document which is intended to guide the development of Saint Paul bicycling infrastructure into the future.

The bikeway plan identifies corridors and assigns specific bicycle facilities (i.e. off-street paths, bike boulevards, enhanced shared lanes and in-street seperated lanes) to them.

Please review the draft of the plan at stpaul.gov/bikeplan and let us know what you think of the plan recommendations.


From David Baker inside Ward 2:

As a long-time bike commuter from near St. Clair and W 7th to downtown Minneapolis in the months without snow on the roads, I support development of better bike lanes and trails. I will say however that this investment will be totally wasted unless the education piece is implemented and embraced by both cyclists and folks in cars. Basic sensibility and respect are the most important factors. I'm frequently frustrated by cyclists with ear-buds who are completely oblivious to their surroundings, or night riders without lights or flashers. I'm also frustrated by drivers who choose to either ignore bike riders or even go out of their way to impede their progress. We all need to pracitce respect for those around us.

The other thing that appears to be missing if we want to increase the use of bikes in commercial zones like downtown is bike parking facilities. That needs to be factored into the plan. I personally would support some sort of licensing or tax on bikes to help fund this project. I appreciate being able to essentially commute for free, but I also know that the trails are expensive to build and maintain and I feel a responsibility to contribute.

From Peter Breyfogle outside Saint Paul:

What is the difference between a Bike Boulevard and enhanced shared lanes. Other then the paint they look the same to me. What difference in behaviour is expected from biker and car drivers? It seems like too fine a difference to me for the potential confusion.

From Eric Saathoff inside Ward 6:

I love that this plan has been made and is a priority for the city of St. Paul. I am a year-round bike commuter. To get to work by car it would be nearly a straight shot along Maryland Ave, which is not safe by bicycle.

I currently use Brainerd Ave for part of the route, which would be a nice connection between Edgerton and the Maryland Ave bridge. It is very wide with only a couple of stop signs. Please consider making this a shared lane or bike lane route.

Even more helpful, however, would be to slow traffic along the full length of Maryland avenue. It is conspicuous that this was left out on the bicycle grid, and it is an absolutely critical corridor for all modes of transportation (why isn't there a Maryland bus that actually goes from east to west across the city, connecting the lakes?).

If Jessamine is the replacement for Maryland, it is too far away. I understand that Rose is out because of the Arlington Hills project (Geranium, too?). Maryland is such an obvious choice for getting across the northern span of the city - it needs to be accessible by all modes.

Please consider BRAINERD and, more importantly, MARYLAND AVE.

From Diane Weise inside Ward 2:

How will this be paid for? No matter what, it's a waste of money. We have plenty of bike paths. The city streets and plowing need to be addressed first before any bike paths are built.

From Kimberly Feilmeyer inside Ward 2:

As we improve the biking infrastructure in Saint Paul, I would like to see some of the new bikeways run very near to our public schools, so that more students could safely ride to and from school. Currently, and in the draft plan (http://www.stpaul.gov/DocumentCenter/View/70499), there are hardly any N/S kid friendly (e.g., off-street, bike paths, shoulders, or enhanced shared lanes) options available to large sections of the SPPS's E & F zones (http://www.spps.org/map_of_school_locations). This prevents many families from biking, yet there are many students and families in these areas that are strong bike advocates.

I would also like to see better bike links to the coming green line and the new bus routes. Better and bigger bike "parking" at these main intersections would also better support bikers year-round.

If you build it, we will use it.

From Erik Riesenberg inside Ward 3:

I am glad to see the city coming out with a plan for new biking infrastructure, but I can't say I'm pleased with the results. Some aspects are satisfactory, but by and large it seems a very timid approach. For instance, the "shared lane" and "enhanced shared lane" concepts are essentially no different either from each other or what we have now. both of these approaches are a incredibly weak response and in many cases, don't even seem worth wasting the money on. they would do little to nothing to help create a space for cyclists on the roads. Also, the proposed downtown bikeway on the sidewalks is also a joke. there is very little to distinguish the bikeway from the sidewalk and no barriers to keep pedestrians of the path. it's ridiculous to think that walkers will not use the bikeway when convenient and thus defeats the entire purpose of installing a bikeway. the biggest problem with this plan is that it doesn't address the underlying problem. bikers need dedicated infrastructure to be equal participants on the roads. up until now, bikers have been pushed into the margins. the roads are for cars, and the sidewalks are for walkers, but bikers have to make do. we have always been asked to deal with less. this plan doesn't address that at all. we need bold action toward bicycle dedicated infrastructure and this is not that.

From Carole Anderson inside Ward 3:

I strongly support any increase in bikeways. I am especially interested in ensuring that Ayd Mill road has bike lanes and does not have 4 lanes that are dedicated to cars. I think this road is could be an important north south link for bikers and should not be used for 4 lanes of cars. I would be very interested in any plans to connect this road to the gateway.

From Alex Cecchini outside Saint Paul:

Only 3 major comments on the study:

- Use as much political and financial capital as possible on the major bikeways to be physically segregated bike lanes or cycle tracks. This is important for user comfort, safety, and speed - all of which have the highest impacts in attracting riders.

- 20-30 years is a long time-frame to complete this network. I understand that many of the facilities will simply wait for street re-construction to reduce direct cost burdens on the network. Why not implement temporary/short-term facilities in the meantime? Planters/paint for the separated lanes with full concrete barriers come full reconstruction.

- What changes will this network force on land-use/zoning and other transportation options? Will a high-amenity and highly connected bike system allow the reduction in parking minimums for neighborhoods? Can higher densities and intensity of land-use be achieved without significant auto congestion thanks to safe alternative modes? Can potential mode-shifts allow the implementation of other network effects, like dedicated transit lanes? In total, what does this study recommend St Paul change to allow/encourage more businesses and residents?

Overall, the network looks great, can't wait to use it!

There are 25 comments on this question as of January 30, 2014. Read the rest here.

Related: COMMUNITY VOICES | Open Saint Paul: Prioritizing the Citywide Bikeways Plan