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Posts tagged "Minneapolis"

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America’s Love Affair With Great City Streets

People crave interaction with other people. Given the choice, we'll gravitate to places where we can socialize or just be in the presence of our fellow humans.

It's not in our nature to spend hours each day isolated inside a car, but for much of the 20th century we shaped our streets and cities to make driving inescapable. In a few short decades we all but designed walking out of our lives. The good news is that by now, many cities have recognized that mistake and are working to fix it. We're falling in love with our streets again.

In this Streetfilm, four American mayors talk about why they're working to make their cities more walkable, bikeable, and sociable, and you'll hear from advocates and experts who are leading the movement to reclaim streets for people.

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The Power of Bicycling (Get Psyched)

Has winter fatigue set in yet? Time to get psyched about biking again!

This has been the worst winter of my adult life. And if you live most places in the United States you'd probably agree.  Between the extreme below-average temperatures and the constant barrage of snowstorms, it's made cycling outdoors a rough proposition - even for the intrepid.

To attempt to lift my spirits, I started browsing archived Streetfilms bike b-roll from all over the world, and I could feel my mood instantly change. We've certainly been lucky to shoot in great bicycle places in beautiful weather and that magic of bike love easily translates via the camera.  So I thought maybe I should share some of that joy and get some of you looking forward to the Spring with this hasty-assembled montage.  

Warmer days are coming my friends. Enjoy the bike porn.

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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.

Thanks to the Bikes Belong Foundation for funding this Streetfilm, our third in a series on innovations in Minneapolis. Check out the Nice Ride MN and Sabo Bridge Streetfilms if you haven't already!

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Breathtaking Bike Infrastructure: Minnesota’s Martin Olav Sabo Bridge

In 2007, in order to route cyclists away from a challenging 7-lane crossing on busy Hiawatha Avenue, Minneapolis built the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge.

The first cable-stayed bridge of any kind in the state, it’s breathtaking, even to the people who have been riding it for years. It provides a safe, continuous crossing and offers up a glorious view of the downtown skyline (especially at sunset!). The sleek Hiawatha light rail line runs beneath it, and there are benches to sit on and take everything in.

Used by an average of 2,500 riders a day, peak use can hit 5,000 to 6,000 per day on some gorgeous summer weekends, according to Shaun Murphy of the Minneapolis Department of Public Works.

The bridge was named in honor of Minneapolis' Martin Olav Sabo, a former U.S. Representative from the 5th District who helped secure much of the $5 million needed to build it. Thanks to the Bikes Belong Foundation for enabling us to feature this majestic piece of bike architecture and to show that investing in cycling and walking is well worth every penny for our communities.

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Nice Ride MN: Minnesota’s Bike Share Expands

Nice Ride MN is a hit. The Twin Cities bike share recently celebrated its one year anniversary in June.  And in July they started an expansion by adding more stations and bicycles to the network.

We talked with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak who told us about how they got Nice Ride MN off the ground:

"We were gonna have to build a really big system.  So I went to Blue Cross and I said we wanna do this. It's gonna be a major health initiative it's gonna cost $3 million dollars, we need you to put up a million dollars.  And they looked at it, and looked at it, and they said 'yes'....I was totally blown away.  And then we leveraged another million and a half from a federal grant - and again, this was Oberstar - so we got that $2.5 million."

"But then because it was such a huge success Blue Cross invested another million more and we got [other organizations contributing]."

Of course any public bike share system offers its own unique challenges and is gonna need support from the community to be a success.  Thanks to the Bikes Belong Foundation we're able to provide this short snapshot of the Nice Ride MN system, how it works, and where it's headed.

 

 

 

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The Case for Bike Racks on NYC Buses

Over the last ten years (or more) just about every major city in the U.S. has added bike-carrying capacity to their buses. While cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Francisco can boast 100% of their bus fleet sporting bike racks, NYC comes in at 0% - the only one in The Alliance for Biking & Walking's 2010 Benchmarking report.

This probably comes as no surprise to any cyclist from NYC who travels an ample amount, but what is shocking is this fact quietly goes unmentioned in NYC. We cannot recall a single news story or push to get bike racks anywhere in the last ten years.

Of course, there are reasonable assumptions one can make why NYC has not tried out some program. First and foremost: the NYC MTA subway system already allows bikes 24 hours a day.  It's an excellent benefit for sure, but there are many regions of the five boroughs that are not easily within reach of a train. If we want to encourage multi-modalism, we need seriously think about that.

Then there is a barrage of others: cyclists will be too slow to load, bikes might fall off the racks, cost, maintenance, etc, but after viewing our Streetfilm you'll see there really isn't a valid excuse not to.

So we think it's time that the MTA and the city to consider a few pilot programs to put some bike racks on some routes. Of course, we are not talking about places like Manhattan or most parts of Brooklyn but we feel there are some great candidates that would yield good results.  Look here:

  • Anywhere in Staten Island.
  • Eastern Queens.
  • Parts of The Bronx.
  • Any buses that cross bridges without cycle paths including the Verrazano-Narrows, The Whitestone and The Throggs Neck bridges.
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Major Bike Mojo in Minneapolis

In a surprising choice, the May edition of Bicycling Magazine named Minneapolis America’s best city for biking. The city still trails Portland, Oregon in the percentage of commuters who bike to work (4.3 percent to 5.9 percent, respectively, according to the most recent American Community Survey), but Minneapolis has been gaining momentum.

Next month, Minneapolis will launch the largest bike-share program in the country, building on a strong foundation of extensive bike trails and a thriving bicycling community.  They're also using federal funds to double the mileage of on-street bike lanes, build more road diets, introduce bicycle boulevards, and more. Have a look and see how Minneapolis has shot to the top of America's best bicycling cities.

[Editors Note: This film was produced in association with NACTO - the National Association for City Transportation Officials.]