City of Minneapolis Approves 30 Miles of Protected Bikeways as Part of Climate Action Plan

For Immediate Release

Contact: 
Ethan Fawley, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition President, 612-964-8902, ethan@mplsbike.org
Joshua Houdek, Sierra Club North Star Chapter, 612-207-2295, joshua.houdek@sierraclub.org

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a new Climate Action Plan Friday, June 28. One of the key strategies of the plan is to construct 30 miles of new protected bicycle facilities – Bikeways for Everyone – by 2020. This is a big step toward making bicycling more accessible to everyone in Minneapolis. Until now, the City has had no formal goals for building protected bikeways.

Studies have shown that protected bikeways increase comfort for riders, as well as safety, when designed properly. By including plans for protected bikeways in the Climate Action Plan, the Minneapolis City Council has shown a serious commitment to making Minneapolis a safer and even more inviting city for everyone riding a bike.

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, the Sierra Club, and many others will be working with the City and the community to meet this goal. Minneapolis and Hennepin County will need to update their bike master plans to include this new network of protected bikeways and fund their implementation. Immediate opportunities exist for building protected bikeways on Washington Avenue and Minnehaha Avenue, and decisions on designs for those streets will be made in the coming months.
Building 30 miles of protected bikeways and implementing the other strategies in the plan will help Minneapolis achieve a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 and a 30 percent reduction by 2025.

“Setting a clear goal for protected bikeways in Minneapolis is a critical step towards reducing the carbon footprint of our transportation system, and complements the Climate Action Plan’s recommendations to accelerate transition from dirty coal to clean, renewable energy,” said Joshua Houdek, land use and transportation program manager at the Sierra Club.  “Better access to safer bikeways can help more people take advantage of the significant health, economic and community benefits of bicycling, while at the same time reducing the city’s climate impact.”

“We applaud the City Council for this important first step toward a network of protected bikeways that improves quality of life in Minneapolis while helping the city play its part in the global problem of climate change,” said Ethan Fawley, president of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. “We look forward to an exciting community conversation about how to improve connections and neighborhoods all around the city with new protected bikeways.”

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