Build more bike lanes

The city of Minneapolis’ commitment to biking has fueled our appetite for more.

by Daily Editorial Board

The city of Minneapolis deserves praise for its commitment to making the city more bike-friendly. This has been brought to mind by the ongoing âÄî and recently completed âÄî road reconstruction efforts on Franklin and Riverside avenues, which have produced clearly designated bike lanes.
These new bike lanes are welcome developments, and thankfully they are not isolated occurrences. ThereâÄôs ample evidence of this across the city. From 2001 to 2009, the number of miles of on-street bike lanes rose from 25 to 40 and off-street bike path miles rose from 68 to 84. And the more than 45 miles of bike lane construction funded for 2009 and 2010 represented a 37 percent increase in total miles. No doubt the cityâÄôs emphasis on bike lanes played a large part in Bicycling magazine naming Minneapolis as the most bike-friendly city in the country.
The underlying logic of this effort is simple: Make it easy and safe for people to bike and they will. ItâÄôs no surprise that as miles of bike lanes rose, so did the number of bicyclists on our city streets. The number of commuters biking to work also increased, and Minneapolis inched closer to beating Portland, Ore., for the greatest percentage of biking commuters in the country.
We applaud Minneapolis for leading the nation in all things biking. Biking is healthier than driving, itâÄôs better for the environment, and it creates less wear and tear on city roads and streets, saving money.
Around this time in 2001, a gallon of gas in Minnesota cost $1.55. Today, itâÄôs more than twice that, with prices only expected to rise. ItâÄôs likely that biking wonâÄôt just be an option, but a necessity for some. We are pleased to see that Minneapolis is preparing for this, and it has only stoked our appetite for more.