All across America, there is a growing effort to encourage bicycling and walking. Government, the private sector, non-profit organizations, and residents are working together to make communities safer, more convenient, and more appealing places to walk and ride a bike. They are motivated by rising energy costs, traffic congestion, public health concerns, the threat of climate change and a desire for better neighborhoods. Snapshot Minneapolis is part of that effort.
Transit for Livable Communities wrote the report to develop a baseline of information for the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative. Bike Walk Twin Cities is a federally-funded initiative to increase bicycling and walking, and reduce driving in Minneapolis and its 13 neighboring communities. Working with local governments, businesses, organizations, and residents, the initiative provides public education and allocates funds for safer crosswalks, bike lanes, and other improvements to increase bicycling and walking. Transit for Livable Communities is designated by federal law to administer the $21.5 million Bike Walk Twin Cities program.
This report pulls together information about bicycling and walking from numerous local and national sources. That information, combined with other counts and surveys, will provide a baseline of data from which changes can be measured over the program’s four-year timeframe. Information shows that residents ofMinneapolis already walk and bicycle in far greater numbers (17 percent of trips) than do other residents of the region (9 percent of trips). Those non-motorized trips are short – on average two miles for bicycling and one mile for walking. The longest trip people make is the work trip, and the shortest trip is a trip to school or a trip to shopping.
While Minneapolis is recognized for its infrastructure for walking and bicycling – its off road trails, its bicycle parking, its nearly complete sidewalk system – much can still be done to make the city and its adjoining communities safer, more convenient, and more appealing for bicycling and walking. When surveyed, people say they would bicycle and walk more often if they had: more destinations close to home; less concern about traffic and crime; and better facilities including bicycle lanes, paths, bike parking, lighting, benches, and other amenities. Focus groups with residents of color living in Minneapolis indicate that they have some unique needs and concerns regarding non-motorized travel.
Transit for Livable Communities believes that Bike Walk Twin Cities will have the greatest impact with:
- A focus on short trips, especially trips to shopping and services.
- Additional research to understand behavior change, especially barriers for populations with the greatest potential to bicycle and walk for transportation.
- Identification of a regional network and local priority corridors, with special focus on high crash locations.
- Continued efforts to fill gaps in on-road and off-road bicycle system and continued expansion of bicycle parking.
- Greater attention to amenities related to walking (lighting, shade trees, and zoning).
- Greatly expanded education programs, including a safety and awareness campaign, ambassador program, and personal travel planning.
- Revision by MnDOT and the Metropolitan Council of roadway design standards and classifications to make bicycle and pedestrian design less costly, safer, and more appealing.
If you would like to read the full report, you can access it here.