Advocates tout increase in Twin Cities cyclists

Bike route
A cyclist rides along the Jefferson Avenue bike route in St. Paul, Minn. in October 2011. Advocates say more Twin Citians are biking in recent years.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Organizers of Bike Walk Twin Cities say efforts to get Twin Cities residents out of their cars are paying off.

Bike traffic was up 22 percent this year and 52 percent in the past five years. Walking was up 9 percent this year.

"There's a growing sense of bicycles on the street and it creates a better sense of overall comfort and safety," said Tony Hull of Transit for Liveable Communities. "It also changes the motorists' expectations. I anticipate seeing bicyclists when I'm driving down the street and I understand that they actually need to be there."

The Twin Cities received nearly $28 million in federal funding to increase non-motorized transit.

Hull said a four-year federally-funded pilot program added 75 miles of new bike routes and sidewalks to make cycling more appealing.

"I think there's just a growing awareness and desire for options in the community," he said. "Folks do understand that driving has costs and energy consumption and there's also the health impacts of being able to be active."

The study found bicyclists replaced 96,000 car trips across the Lake Street Bridge between St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2011.

Bike Walk Twin Cities encourages people to try biking or walking instead of driving for short trips. The U.S. Department of Transportation says half of all car trips are less than 3 miles.

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