One of the most beautiful place to cycle around the Twin Cities is just south in Hastings, Minnesota. Challenging hills to be found, scenic rides near the Mississippi, what more could you ask for?
Well, nicer bike infrastructure for one.
The main entrance to Downtown Hastings takes you on Highway 61, over the Iconic Hastings Bridge. This narrow bridge with 30,000 car-a-day traffic and skinny crumbling side-walk, makes it undesirable as a bike path (see the picture below). The good news is that the bridge is currently undergoing a $121 million re-design, which will include a 12 foot wide multi-use path.
The bridge was originally built-in 1950 when Hastings was a small farming town and not a suburb of the Twin Cities like it is today. It looks like it may have been constructed using an erector set, and based on the traffic load, it could use more than one lane in each direction.
It is not set to be completed until May 2013, and until then it will remain on the avoid at all costs list for cyclists, however, it will become part of a very nice ride.
This is a good example of being able to add cycling and walking considerations to a auto-specific project, that once in place, will no doubt bring more multi-use paths to the area. For you designers out there check out the plans here, or read more about it on the DOT website for the project.