Bike/walk streets coming to Minneapolis

The city is poised to get a new network of bike/walk streets — streets that allow car traffic, but are designed to give priority to pedestrians and bikers.

The Bike/Walk Twin Cities plan is an initiative of Transit for Livable Communities, which is administering a $21.5 million federal grant to increase the rates of bicycling and walking in the Twin Cities.

The nonprofit is soliciting proposals for bike/walk street locations in Minneapolis. Some streets have already received funding to become part of the bike/walk network, including a roughly three-mile stretch along Bryant Avenue South between Lake and 50th streets and two other streets in Northeast. Those streets will be ready by summer of 2009.

Bike/walk streets are outfitted with traffic calming techniques, signage and lighting, among other things, to make it safer for walkers and cyclists to travel along side other vehicles.

“Bike/walk streets will change how people get around the Twin Cities area,” said Joan Pasiuk, program director of the Bike/Walk Twin Cities initiative, in a prepared statement. “Many people already bicycle and walk to reach their destinations, but these bike/walk streets will be welcome mats for cyclists and pedestrians.”

The streets, also known as “bike boulevards,” are common in Portland, Ore. Riders have 30-miles of dedicated bike/walk streets in that city.

To shed more light on the initiative, Portland native Mia Birk, a principal with Alta Planning and Design, will be speaking at the Radisson University Hotel, 615 Washington Ave. SE, on Monday, April 7. The event is from 6:30–8 p.m. To see a video of Birk talking about the streets, click here.