BikeMN Annual Meeting Recap: By Nicole

We are working on getting a little bit caught up after a hectic week last week.  With apologies to Nicole for a late posting, here is her write-up from the BikeMN annual Meeting.

The annual Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) meeting was held last Saturday night (04/30) which was the last night of the Bike Expo at the State Fairgrounds. The overall message was quite positive and focused on the accomplishments made in the organization’s core areas of education and advocacy. A larger crowd was in attendance than the previous year which may or may not have been aided by the generous sponsorship from New Belgium Brewery.

Education: Demand is far exceeding supply, particularly in the area of cycling courses for kids. Efforts will continue in trying to reach areas outside of the Twin Cities. Mankato and Rochester are two great examples of the progress being made in a short amount of time due to the commitment of dedicated city staff, corporations, volunteers and health organizations.

Advocacy: Great turnout for the first year of the Bike Summit event (~175 particpants). Accomplishments include the state-wide Complete Streets policy and the Red Light Exemption law (Statute 169.06). A busy year is in sight for the 2011 BikeMN legislative agenda which includes supporting bills for increased penalties for careless driving, authorization of the state’s first bikeway, the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), and reauthorization of the Statewide Health Improvement Plan (SHIP).

If you are interested in letting your legislators know that you support these measures, the bill information is as follows:
• Careless driving: House File 68 & Senate File 201
• MRT: Senate File 1077 & House File 1367

Bicycle Friendly America program: The big news had been released earlier in the day with Minneapolis being promoted to the Gold level of Bicycle Friendly Community. We received a very nice booklet from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) that detailed the progress that is being made throughout the country. The booklet showcases some interesting ideas from the different approaches being taken across the US in a variety of areas, from enforcement to engineering. In addition to the Bicycle Friendly Community, Business and State rankings, LAB will now be tracking Universities. There is also an article that highlights Minneapolis, specifically on the work being done on the Minneapolis Bike Master Plan. St Paul is nowhere to be found….

Mn/DOT Update: Sounds like it will be quite a busy and ambitious summer for the bike folks.

160.265 – Bikeway designation
MN has had a bikeway designation on the books but there are no state designated bikeways in the state, despite Mn/DOT’s recommendation of a state scenic bikeway in their 2005 plan. (What is a bikeway? – a bicycle lane, bicycle path or bicycle route, regardless of whether it is designed for the exclusive use of bicycles or is to be shared with other transportation modes.) Mn/DOT is supporting this initiative to authorize the MRT and hoping to have signage by 2012. Most of the trail has been mapped out but there are still a few short sections that need some potential re-routing.

An idea I found particularly interesting was that they were planning on speaking with the communities that will border/house the MRT and provide information on how they could better accommodate bicycles (working with the definitions of the Bicycle Friendly Communities).

Other brief items of note:

MN contribution to USA Bike Map
Started reviewing what would be included in a country-wide cycling map.

Updating state wide map
This hasn’t been updated since 2001

R & D
Developing a better method for bike/ped counts. Having a better idea of the numbers will make it easier to demonstrate need for the funding of cycling/ped projects. They will also be partnering with Cyclopath to expand it state-wide and add what sounded like additional functionality (perhaps including planning ideas for people to view).

Updating engineering standards
I also found it encouraging that there was talk of how engineering works well for traffic but does not always work well for safety (e.g. trail crossings). There seems to be interest in updating standards that have not been looked at in over 30 years.

Clarifications and comments are always welcome!

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