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Minnesota Bicycle System Plan

Jim Bollmann, PE | with 0 Comments

Minnesota Bicycle System Plan

Minnesota is at the top of the curve for cycling as a form of transportation, rated as the second most bicycle friendly state in America by the League of American Bicyclists. Unfortunately, Minnesota also is one of the lowest funded states for infrastructure according to WDAZ Television, creating a distinct challenge for civil engineers as they plan further development across the state.
The challenge comes as engineers determine how to balance automobile traffic patterns with roads accessible to cyclists. Situations vary; in some places it’s safer to ride on the road with traffic, while other circumstances require separate bicycle lanes to allow vehicle traffic to proceed unimpeded by the slower speed of cyclists. Other areas are simply not great for cyclists and are better served with separate trails whether paved or not.
Community Planning in Minnesota
With these considerations in mind, civil engineers need to plan for safe and functional cycling paths that make it a feasible prospect to ride a bike for work, pleasure and daily chores. A path that doesn’t reach the destination may be great for exercise purposes but is ineffective for the avid cyclist who rides for daily transportation.
The idea of ending a trail in such a way as to force a cyclist to cross a busy road full of high speed traffic is neither safe nor practical, and this concept has to be addressed to continue to incorporate bicycles as an eco-friendly form of valid transportation.

Strategic Development Solutions
The ultimate solution depends on rebuilding the existing infrastructure, which largely requires repairs, and building dedicated paths or at the very least paving shoulders to accommodate cycling traffic. Along with adding extensions and connectors with existing bicycle paths, bicycles can be accommodated without slowing car traffic. There are plenty of proven civil engineers ready to address the topic, and new ones entering the field every year with creative ideas and solutions to these types of problems.

As Minnesota rebuilds the infrastructure of their roads, the rest of the country is watching to see how they solve the problems and incorporate a smooth and friendly system in which cars and cyclists share the road.
For more information on planning a bicycle path in your community, contact Jim Bollmann.

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