Thursday, July 10, 2008

Too many bikes in Minneapolis?

This Star Tribune article discusses the increase of ridership in Minneapolis. Is bike congestion on the greenway really a bad thing?
When Marian Hayes took an evening bicycle ride along the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis last year, she felt as if she had the trail to herself. Now the greenway is a freeway. Fast cyclists pass slower ones on the left. Commuters get on and off via exit ramps. Traffic moves along at 15 miles per hour. "You feel like you're in rush hour," said Hayes, who commutes 25 miles roundtrip from Mendota Heights to downtown Minneapolis.

Between May 2007 and May 2008, the number of cyclists on the Lake Street Bridge jumped 50 percent, said Steve Clark, the walking and bicycling program manager for Transit for Livable Communities. "That one is pretty representative of the overall city," Clark said. "We've seen some gradual increases, but this is really the first big jump."

I really liked this article because these new crop of commuters aren't concerned about the environment, roadies, or their waste lines; they are concerned about their pocketbook. For those of you who don't know about the strong bike community in the Twin Cities read the comments and check out MPLS Bike Love. For all the naysayers who think winter time puts a stop to this, Minneapolis has the highest ridership per capita in the country during the winter time.

UPDATE: Good article and video here.


Tom said...

Hey thanks for the post. This is an encouraging read. I am in bike commuter desert. For the most part biking is a recreational activity. I'm all for bike recreation... (Yeah!!) but I have this strong pull to promote and encourage bike commuting. Its nice to see cold weather excuses fall by the wayside- after all Minneapolis bikes!

Snak Shak said...

Thanks for the plug! I definitely see an increase in riders commuting and running errands in MPLS. I expect some friction from those that view cycling on MUPs like Greenway as a quiet "alone time" activity, but I am all for boldly crossing that threshold.

- Joe

GhostRider said...

What I would do to be stuck in "bike commuter gridlock"...that would be a dream come true!

In my opinion, there is no such thing as "too many bikes". Glad to see that ridership is skyrocketing, even if those new commuters are only concerned with their wallets -- they'll soon discover many other benefits to setting the car keys down and swinging a leg over a bicycle.