Beginning next year, bike/walk streets will appear in Minneapolis. Federal dollars are being used to redesign some Twin Cities residential streets to favor bicyclists and walkers. While these streets will still accommodate auto travel, priority will be given to cyclists and pedestrians.
Bike/Walk Twin Cities, an initiative of Transit for Livable Communities, is part of a four-city (Columbia, Mo.; Marin County, Calif.; Minneapolis; Sheboygan County, Wis.), $21.5 million plan by the federal government to increase walking and bicycling and reduce driving nationwide.
Portland, Ore., for the past decade, has implemented a similar bike/walk street system to the one proposed in the Twin Cities with great success. The fact that Portland has one of the United States’ best transit and alternative transportation systems and that it is one of the country’s most prosperous cities is no coincidence.
As the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area expands its transit system in the coming decade, with light rail and more bus lines, it is promising that biking and walking – as yet another alternative means of transportation – are also being further developed and encouraged. An extensive and well-planned transit system has the potential to revitalize the region economically, environmentally and even socially.
The price of oil is well over $100 per barrel and the cost per gallon locally will most likely surpass $4 per gallon with no indication that the prices will fall or even stabilize anytime soon.
Though it is economic impact that will eventually force the United States to fully embrace alternative energies and transportation, the government – federal, state and local – needs to better anticipate this growing economic need for alternatives and act now. With Bike/Walk Twin Cities, Minnesota is certainly at the lead of this movement.
Bike/Walk Twin Cities is currently seeking public input for the project. There is a lecture tonight from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Radisson University Hotel about both Bike/Walk Twin Cities and the success of Portland’s bike/walk system.