Minneapolis’s Midtown Greenway: Good for Bikes, Good for Business
In the increasingly heated competition to see who deserves the title of America's most bike-friendly city, Minneapolis has plenty going for it. Last year Bicycling magazine anointed the city tops in the nation, knocking Portland off its long-held perch.
The Twin Cities are undergoing a steady transformation into a more bike-oriented region thanks to nearly 100 miles of greenways and off-street paths, giving residents safe and quick travel options. By far the best-known of those paths is the 5.7 mile long Midtown Greenway, which connects cyclists to destinations through the heart of Minneapolis, from east to west. As you'll see, the path isn't just giving people a great place to bike, walk, and run -- it's attracting development and new businesses as well.
R T Rybak: [00:15] Well biking is a huge part of what we are in Minneapolis and, you know, I think that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some it means it’s a very economical way to get around, for some it’s really about health and fitness, for some it’s time, that it’s actually quicker.
Jay Walljasper: [00:34] Minneapolis is a good place to bike I think because (a) there’s a strong biking culture. People are passionate about biking here and it’s something, you go to a party and people talk about where they’re going to bike the next day, so it’s become a part of our DNA.
Shaun Murray: [00:47] You don’t really need to be on the street with cars if you don’t want to. If you stick to our off street path system, which is about 100 miles and in a city that’s about six miles wide by 10 miles tall, that’s quite a few miles of paths.
Shaun Murray: [01:08] They go around all the lakes, they go along the Mississippi River, they go along our creek, they go along our parkways and then they also cut through our old railroad corridors.
S Scott Dibble: [01:18] So one of the exciting developments in Minneapolis of course is the Midtown Greenway corridor, which is an old industrial railroad trench that was cut straight, right through the centre of Minneapolis on east/west access and the industrial use became obsolete in the last couple of decades.
Louis Moore: [01:36] Which a train came down maybe every two or three weeks just to pick up grain, and it wasn’t really used for anything else. And then there was a determination that the grain elevator needed to come down so that’s when the negotiations started happening to build a bike/walk corridor through there.
Ben Cherland: [01:52] It’s 20 feet below the city grade, so that means it passes underneath all the north/south avenues, which makes it the fastest way to get across town, I mean including public transportation or driving.
Louis Moore: [02:04] The numbers of people who have ridden on it and who walk on it and rollerblade on it has just grown steadily for the many years it’s been open. So it’s just been a real asset to the city.
Joan Pasiuk: [02:14] You will see families on the trail, you will see grandparents on the trail, you will see kind of lots of urban hipsters on the trail, everyone in between, commuters. It’s for everyone.
Jay Walljasper: [02:27] You see I think nearly as many women as men. That’s a big difference. When biking began to take off in the city you began to see just a lot more females out on bikes and I think just simply because they feel safer, there’s a lot of bikers on the street.
Ben Cherland: [02:44] Some of the results from studying the census last year revealed that a lot of people are moving into these neighbourhoods along the Greenway. And the Greenway’s a big draw for those people. There’s a lot of development going on in terms of like apartment buildings and new businesses in the uptown area.
Jay Walljasper: [02:59] When you have a bike trail that the community embraces, then suddenly there’s a lot of development along there, it becomes a desirable place for people to live, you start to see property values go up, what was maybe once an old abandoned warehouse now suddenly becomes a young graphic design firms, you have all sorts of cutting edge businesses going in.
Mario Macaruso: [03:16] People that take the Greenway come in here to, you know, if they have a flat tyre or they want some nourishment, some food. And then along the Greenway there’s all these ramps and the ramps provide people opportunities to tee off of the streets on top and also to go and use businesses and uptown along the corridor. There’s been a resurgence in the quality of life for these neighbourhoods and I think it directly related to the creation of the Greenway.
Kate Wolford: [03:41] This is a city where people want to get out, you want to take advantage of the seasons and we have great bike paths throughout, so people are out but our leaders are out too. I see Mayor Rybak, the Mayor of Minneapolis, on his bike cruising down the city, Mayor Coleman as well, and we have legislative leaders who are also real champions for the whole idea that you need to have city streets that’ll allow pedestrians, bikes, as well as other forms of transportation.
S Scott Dibble:
[04:07] I have to say in the last few years it has been just a transformative
and to be able to get around on your bike gives you a connection to
the place where you live that’s very different than moving around
in your car. You can see the people along the streets, other bicyclists,
you can see all the shops, all the houses, all the activity that’s
going on in a much more connected fashion.
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