Minn. bike trails, present & future
The last mile of the Cedar Lake Regional Trail linking Minneapolis to its western suburbs was completed in May - 20 years after planning construction of the bicycle trail began, according to The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, said the trail's last segment will be "worth every penny" of the $1 million to $2 million cost to connect the trail to the West River Parkway, several of the state's major trails and to the river.
Target Field, the Minnesota Twins' new stadium, was constructed in 2007 in the path of the Cedar Lake Regional Trail. According to the newspaper, the Target Field is now most biked-to ballpark in the country, attracting 300 bicyclists on average per game.
"Although the project faced opposition and roadblocks at several stages, it has enjoyed the support of many city council members and county commissioners who hope to maintain Minneapolis' reputation as one of the top bicycling cities in the country," the Star Tribune reported.
Interest in developing trails is also apparent in more rural west-central Minnesota. Nonmotorized trails were expected to be a hot topic at a series of meetings set around the state by transportation officials, according to Willmar-based West Central Tribune.
For example, the Glacial Lakes State Trail, a rail-trail between Willmar and Paynesville, is in need of resurfacing work and a spur to Sibley State Park is deemed desirable. And Appleton residents want to build a bike trail to Marsh Lake Dam as incorporated in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plans for modifying the dam there.
"There is continued interest in seeing the Minnesota River Trail developed as well," the newspaper reported. "Redwood Falls has developed trails within the community and could become the linchpin someday to connect the Chief Sleepy Eye and Minnesota River trails."
Grilley cited surveys by the Minnesota Department of Transportation that show 1 percent of the population prefer bicycling to other modes of transportation, regardless of the weather; another 7 to 8 percent are regular recreational cyclists and bike commuters; and 60 percent of Minnesotans would bicycle more often if there were safer and more accessible routes.
Grilley told the Tribune safe bicycling and pedestrian routes consistently ranks in the top five preferences of prospective home buyers.
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