I made a few business trips to the Twin Cities to visit the corporate headquarters of my then employer way out in Minnetonka in the mid to late 1990s. I’d arrive in the middle of the night on the Empire Builder from Chicago at MSP Amtrak, then wait an hour for a cab to finally arrive. Today, I see Hertz has a “Local Edition” office next to the Amtrak station. They close at 6 PM. The daily train from Chicago arrives at 10:30 PM.
My business trip jaunts mostly whisked from Amtrak straight to the suburban office parks, so I missed most of the character of Minneapolis. I’m happy to see some of what I missed in Streetfilms’ latest video featuring the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis, MN.
The music evokes “Epic Adventure Movie” but I’m loving the cycling I see in the Mill City.
Minneapolis’s Midtown Greenway rail trail runs 5.7 miles through the city. Minneapolis has three automatic counters to continuously collect data on bicycle use. During warm summer months, over 4,000 cyclists use the Greenway, while the number drops down to the hundreds during winter months.
Most cities with a web presence have only minimal information about biking. It usually consists of a “Obey the Law, Wear a Helmet” reminder, soem bragging about the 20 miles of bike lanes they painted, and maybe a link to a bike map that was last updated five years ago. Minneapolis probably has the most comprehensive municipal bike information web site I’ve seen of any U.S. city. They even keep it updated with fresh and relevant content. (The city of Portland, OR “Bicycling In Portland” page, by comparison, says, “A new bicycle-only traffic signal was turned on April 8, 2004.”). Minneapolis even has a decent page on winter cycling.
The cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul have a 50% worker capture rate. That means half of people live in the same town they work in. 60% of the 160,000 people who work downtown get there by means other than single occupant vehicle. According to the League of American Bicyclists, 3.5% of Minneapolis commuters commuteted by bike in 2010. That’s nearly 7,000 people riding their bikes from their homes in Minneapolis.