Public Invited to Comment on St. Paul Bike Plan

Updated: 02/11/2014 7:57 AM By: Brandi Powell

There's a new push to make bicycling a lot safer in St. Paul; the city of St. Paul has a new plan to add more bicycle-friendly trails and paths.

The city's bicycle network would double over the next 20-30 years, if the proposal goes through. The city's initial proposal will be taken to St. Paul's communities over the next few months, in order for residents to weigh in.

St. Paul's Andy Singer bikes nearly everyday. "I'm a more functional cyclist in that I get groceries at the supermarket or I do all of my errands on my bike."

Singer said, it can be hard to get from point A to point B; particularly in downtown where, "You're either petering along slowly on the sidewalk on Kellogg or trying to find some other street; Cedar, something like that. So that's an issue that the bike plan has at least on paper addressed or is trying to address."

But now people who bike in and around St. Paul might have something to look forward to, such as more trails, more connections, and an easier route to work.

The City of Saint Paul's proposal includes creating a trail that circles around the city, adding two new miles of bicycle loop in downtown, and doubling the total number of bike-path-miles.

"They've been constructed in segments, so you have one little short segment that you've been riding on, and it'll be great, and then it will just end," Scott Ronkin said. He works at Omnium Bike Shop on Shelby Ave in St. Paul. Ronkin added, "Then it takes a while and a lot of effort on the cyclist's part to piece together their routes to be able to ride [comfortably]."

For solutions, St. Paul is looking in part to its "twin city" - Minneapolis.

Ruben Collins, St. Paul's Sustainable Transportation Planner said, "One part of creating this plan was looking at what Minneapolis already has in place, the existing facilities in Minneapolis as well as the other cities we share borders with and trying to make sure that the routes we are planning do connect seamlessly to those other cities."

Open house events on this biking plan begin next month. To go into effect, this plan would also have to be approved by the St. Paul Planning Commission, City Council and the Metropolitan Council.

The city says helping cyclists will also help giving each of them enough room on the road to safely get where they need to go.

As for paying for the new bike paths - the city says it's applying for both local and federal dollars.

The public will be able to offer feedback through April, and a final plan will be published sometime in June.

Various open houses have been scheduled to give the public an opportunity to respond:

Tuesday, Feb. 11
6-8 p.m.
El Rio Vista Recreation Center/Wellstone Community Center
179 Robie St E
Saint Paul, MN 55107

Thursday, Feb. 13
6-8 p.m.
Macalester College
Weyerhaueser Ballroom in Weyerhaueser Hall
(building is on the southeast corner of Grand Avenue and Macalester Street)

Tuesday, Feb. 18
6-8 p.m.
Duluth & Case Recreation Center
1020 Duluth St
Saint Paul, MN 55106

Thursday, Feb 20
6-8 p.m.
CapitolRiver Council Office (Adjacent Conference Room)
US Bank Center Building
101 East 5th Street
Suite 240
Saint Paul, MN 55101

To view the draft plan, visit our Links page.