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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see so much complaining about bike trails. How they don't go anywhere anybody wants to go, they don't connect to each other, they have too many dangerous crossings and they are stuffed with so many different kinds of users that they don't serve any of them well. It makes me appreciate what I we have in Minneapolis, so I took a ride out to show them off and enjoy what we have here.

The City of Minneapolis started building bike infrastructure in the 1880's, the 100 year head start shows. In places where other municipalities have built over any available green space and abandoned transportation corridors, Minneapolis has managed in many places to hold off the development and (evenually) build some pretty good stuff. The adjacent communities have not managed the same task so well. Things are improving, but compared to Minneapolis proper (and most the rest of the country) they are playing catch up. I happen to live outside of Minneapolis and use some of this sub optimum bike infrastructure to get into town.

I start off by cutting through a Regional Park near my home. The trails are fine, but they are typically eight feet wide (4 foot lanes) and are "multi use", all types of users are in the same traffic lanes, and they don't have very good connectivity beyond tha park itself. I think this is pretty typical trail infrastructure that you find all over the country.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have to take roads to connect to the next set of trails. Many of the suburban communities do not even attempt to build and maintain any trail infrastructure with their own money, engineers, and crews, instead they rely on our regional park authority to do it for them. Three Rivers Park District do some great work, but when it comes to bike infrastructure they don't try to "keep up" with the City of Minneapolis and just build the typical MUT. As I bike up I run into a Three Rivers Park trail. It starts off as crushed limestone and changes over to a paved surface as it approches Minneapolis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As soon as I hit the City of Minneapolis limit line the trail transforms. Below is the Minneapolis portion of the Cedar Lake Trail. Along much of it's course there are dedicated segregated bike lanes for East/West travel. A seperate, often segregated pedestrian lane is provided as well. This leads to very little opposite direction conflict, and seperates the peds (and their dogs) from the folks on bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Next I'm going to go bike the Midtown Greenway. Between the Cedar Lake Trail that I just showed and the Midtown Greenway is a connector trail called the Kennilworth Trail. It has similiar treatments as the Cedar Lake Trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
From the Kennilworth Trail I turn onto the Midtown Greenway (also called the 29th Street Greenway). There use to be a rail line one level below street grade at what would have been 29th street in the grid. It has been converted to a bike freeway and room still remains to run some sort of rail transit solution on the south half the of the trench. Why do I call it a bike freeway? Because it's in a trench, there are very few at grade street crossings and there are on and off ramps at major roads to gain access to the Greeway. It's the closest thing to a bike freeway I've ever seen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Greenway has some good amenities. A bike shop and bike commuter transit center and signage. Also, so you know it's not all sugar and sweetness. There are 3 or 4 (not sure?) choke points where the trail gets narrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Along the Greenway the Martin Olav Sabo bridge was built to facilitate bike travel over a busy highway. This may become a signature piece of archetechture for Minneapolis, sort of the like th Cherry on the Spoon is for sculpture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's the Cedar Lake Trail, the Kennilworth Trail and the Midtown Greenway. The next time your town starts a trail project, challenge them that trails can be more than a 8 foot swath that all users share and use in the same manner. There are other ways to build these things.

Scot
 

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Wow, that is really cool! Making separate paths for pedestrians and bicycles really makes a statement about providing a compelling alternative to driving with your infrastructure.

I'm starting to relish the overcast and drizzly days we have left in Portland, as I can still use the MUPs pretty efficiently. We had a few days of gorgeous weather last weekend and the MUPs were packed beyond belief.

Scott
 

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I see nothing to complain about. We'd be happy to have any trails here.
 

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Nice and flat looks like a good place for a SS. I think your town is one of the friendliest in the States..........MTT :thumbsup:
 

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That looks like a great system- good planning and good execution are both evident. I wonder how well it`s being maintained these days when budgets for everything from schools to emergency services are being slashed. Any problems keeping the trails in reasonable working order?
 

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rodar y rodar said:
That looks like a great system- good planning and good execution are both evident. I wonder how well it`s being maintained these days when budgets for everything from schools to emergency services are being slashed. Any problems keeping the trails in reasonable working order?
Good question. In my experience the trails are pretty well maintained, although there are places where they could always be better.

And in an article in yesterday's Minneapolis Star Tribune, they stated that there are plans for an additional 700 miles in trails to be added in the next 20 years. Here is a link:

http://www.startribune.com/local/42855737.html?elr=KArksUUUU

Later,

Jay B.
 

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Woot, I was just on the Greenway on Thursday and will probably be taking a ride westward on the Cedar Lake Trail today! Good to see other MPLS members here!

Asad
 

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I remember the trails around the lakes from my time in Minneapolis in the mid-80s. That really is a pretty nice commute, Scot! For me, the closest comparable car-free commuting options are some 50-60 miles out of the way in Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

In a town of 50,000, there are no MUTs. But once you hit the farm roads, neither are cars.
 

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I use the trails in Minneapolis and St. Paul 4-5 times a week for commuting and recreational riding. After just returning from a month long visit to Austria, Bavaria, and Italy I would say we are extremely fortunate to have the system in the Twin Cities, and they compare quite well. That bike shop you referred to on the Greenway is excellent. My wife's Centurion had a problem develop last weekend on our ride. We stopped and they had the issue taken care of in fifteen minutes and we were able to continue the route. Great job on the bike repair and great job on the trail system. Oh, a single speed is perfect for this system, as it is as flat as a pancake. We did 57 miles last Saturday, all on the trails! Thanks Scot for the pics.
 
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