Spring is in full swing, which means it’s now safe for Minnesotans to emerge from our winter bunkers and start to enjoy the outdoors again.
Minnesota 2020 has noted in previous articles that Minneapolis ranks as the second best American city for bicycle travel. Well, that was before. This year, Minneapolis cruises to the front of the pack, reigning over notable bike towns such as Portland (#2) and Austin (#11).
The news comes from a recent issue of Bicycling Magazine (via City Pages). The magazine says that “[d]espite the cold wintertime climate, Minneapolis has a thriving bike community. It has 120 miles of on- and off-street bicycle facilities, plus indoor bike parking and other cycling-friendly facilities.”
Minnesota now stands to build on this strong base if Congress passes the Active Community Transportation (ACT) Act. The bill would further integrate active transportation options with public transportation networks. It notes that “90% of public transportation trips are accessed by walking or bicycling” and that “[n]early half of the trips taken in the United States are within a 20-minute bicycle ride.” And so, the act would upgrade existing bike lanes, trails, and sidewalks and provide funding for new projects “that connect people with public transportation, workplaces, schools, residences, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers” including areas within a half-mile radius for pedestrians and three miles to provide for bike transport.
If passed, the ACT Act will further enhance the Central Corridor, making a complete system based on active transport cutting through a main artery of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It will be a boon to both the residential areas and businesses along the corridor. However, the Central Corridor path is already pedestrian and bicycle friendly, and many people already navigate the route without cars. The true test of the ACT Act’s effectiveness will be determined by the proposed SW Corridor line. The SW Corridor will cut a path into the suburbs, less friendly territory for bikers and pedestrians.
Minneapolitans, and all Minnesotans for that matter, have reason to take pride in our love of active transport. From leisurely rides along the Willard Munger or Lanesboro bike trails to the urban Twin Cities commute, the state is at the vanguard of adopting healthier, greener methods of travel.
Minnesota’s citizens have made it clear we favor strong transportation options. The crowning of Minneapolis by Bicycling Magazine as best bike city should be celebrated, but why stop there? If Minneapolis wants to remain on top, we must continue to maintain, grow and improve cycling and transit options around the city and the state.
Bicycling Magazine’s findings can be found here