Bike trails in Minnesota: New ideas and continued development

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by Minnesota 2020 staff • Yesterday, the Mankato Free Press published a story about a tri-county and tri-city effort to receive funding from the state legislature for a study to examine the construction of a bike trail between Mankato and St. Peter.

Local lawmakers say they hope to have the study included in the 2010 state bonding bill. Even if that effort fails, part of the revenue from the new Legacy Amendment’s sales tax increase will support state trails and could possibly be used for the project. Estimates put the portion of revenue for trails at $5 million by 2011.

This promising project would add to the continually growing number of bike trails in Minnesota. the newest section of the Paul Bunyan Trail between Bemidji and Brainerd was completed. In fact, all but four of the trails run by the Minnesota DNR cater to cyclists.

Bike trail connectivity in the Twin Cities and the greater state is something of which Minnesotans should be proud. Last month, Travel and Leisure magazine included Minneapolis, one of just there U. S. cities, as one of the ten best biking cites in the world.

Most notable, however, is what state legislators can take away from the distinction. The magazine called Minneapolis a “case study in policy promoting cycling as a viable means of getting around”.

Certainly, urban bike transportation may differ from what is available in more rural areas. However, from providing safe alternatives to automobiles, to promoting recreational activities which bring people into unique communities and encourage healthy exercise, bike trail development is important throughout Minnesota.