Green digest // Bicycle master plan

City Council adopts bicycle master plan

A new Minneapolis Bicycle Master Plan that sets a goal of adding 183 miles of bikeways over the next 30 years was adopted July 22 by the City Council.

The 226-page document outlines steps the city will take to reduce bicycle thefts and cycling injuries while at the same time expanding the bicycling infrastructure with new facilities and parking and increasing the proportion of city residents who travel by bicycle. Other goals include doubling the number of Nice Ride bicycle-sharing locations by 2015 and ensuring every Minneapolis resident lives within 1 mile of a bicycle trail by 2020.

It took several years to develop the plan, beginning with a June 2008 community meeting attended by about 150 people. Additional community meetings were held two years later, in August and September 2010, to review a draft of the plan, which was then opened to a 45-day public comment period.

The document identifies a number of potential future on-street and bicycle-only paths. It would cost an estimated $270 million over the next three decades to complete all the projects, including $134 million to construct the final link of the Grand Rounds.

The plan also includes a 19-page chapter on the history of bicycling in Minneapolis that notes the first dedicated bicycling trails were built by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in 1895.

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Green jobs program claims success

Mayor R.T. Rybak claimed success for a federally funded green jobs training program that enrolled more than 580 Twin Cities residents in a July 27 event at Dunwoody College of Technology.

That was just one of the locations where the RENEW (Renewable Energy Networks Empowering Workers) enrollees trained for jobs in emerging green industries, including green construction and manufacturing and solar power. Administered by the city and Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, it was funded by a $4-million federal stimulus grant through the U.S. Department of Labor.

The city reported the program exceeded its goal of training 500 workers. Of those enrolled, 350 earned industry credentials and 240 found employment in living wage jobs in fields related to their training.

Southwest-based ReGo Electric Conversions, a business that converts hybrid vehicles to plug-in electric hybrids, was one of the area businesses that worked with RENEW trainees.

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Tour de Fat raised $16,000 for cycling nonprofits

New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat bicycle celebration held July 23 in Loring Park raised more than $16,000 for four local cycling nonprofits.

The Midtown Greenway Coalition, Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, Minneapolis Off-Road Cycling Advocates and Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota split the proceeds from the event, which the Fort Collins, Colo.-based brewer estimated attracted 2,000 people to Loring Park. It was the fourth year the national tour stopped in Minneapolis.

As is tradition for the event, one person agreed to swap his vehicle for a new, hand-built commuter bicycle from Black Sheep Bikes. This time, it was Mark Schanzenbach, 26, who committed to a year of non-motorized commuting.

The $16,218 raised at the Minneapolis event in 2011 was up almost $5,000 from 2010, New Belgium reported.

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Registration open for Greenway Challenge

Registration opened in July for the second-annual Greenway Challenge bike-a-thon benefiting the Midtown Greenway Coalition.

Participants agree to collect at least $250 in pledges by Sept. 24, when riders will complete six full lengths of the 5.5-mile transit corridor, riding a total of 33 miles. The ride isn’t a race, although costumed riders will be competing for special prizes.

The individual who collects the most pledges wins a one-week summer cycling trip to Vail, Colo., and the top-earning team wins a stay at the Scandinavian Inn bed and breakfast in Lanesboro on the Root River Trail.

Other prizes include gift certificates to local restaurants and theater tickets for the riders sporting the best costumes during the event.

Eric Mueller, last year’s grand-prize winner, was scheduled to share fundraising strategies for participants at two summer workshops. Proceeds from the event benefit the coalition, a non-profit organization that advocates for greenway improvements.

Participants can register online at midtowngreenway.org. Registration is $20 before Aug. 15 and $25 after that date.

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Creek cleanup trashes goal

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District estimated more than 600 volunteers showed up at the annual Minnehaha Creek Clean-Up event held July 10.

Those volunteers exceeded the day’s goal, collecting more than 4,000 pounds — or two tons — of trash from parkland near Minnehaha Creek. Last year, a similar number of volunteers managed to collect about 2,280 pounds of trash.

For the second year in a row, Sen. Amy Klobuchar served as grand marshal. The “Weigh’d in Against Pollution” cleanup event is sponsored by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company.

Reach Dylan Thomas at [email protected]