City Council passes historic citywide bike plan, advancing Mayor Chris Coleman’s 8 to 80 vision
Bike blueprint will build on largest bike infrastructure investment in city history
SAINT PAUL – The City Council today adopted the Saint Paul Bicycle Plan that more than doubles bike pathways and connections throughout Saint Paul over the next several decades. In the City’s 2015 budget, Mayor Chris Coleman dedicated more than $27 million of the 8-80 Vitality Fund to road reconstruction, including the creation of bike pathways – the largest investment in bike infrastructure in Saint Paul’s history.
“Saint Paul needs to be a city that works for everyone, whether they are age eight or age 80 – and whether they are traveling by foot, car, transit or bicycle,” Mayor Coleman said. “This long-term, comprehensive bike plan will transform our neighborhoods over time by helping to ensure a balanced and equitable approach to transportation infrastructure, improved safety and quality of life, and new economic opportunities and access for people of all ages.”
Based on the work of internationally-renowned urban designer Gil Penalosa, the 8-80 Vitality vision aims to ensure infrastructure, streets and public spaces function for residents of all ages and abilities. The newly adopted Saint Paul Bicycle Plan is the first comprehensive strategy to advance this vision sinceMayor Coleman announced the 8-80 Vitality Fund as part of his 2015 budget.
The comprehensive bike plan is also the first to address policies and infrastructure for bicycles on a citywide basis. It includes a forward-looking blueprint for bike routes, prioritizing the initial completion of the Grand Round – a 27-mile, scenic parkway for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists that circles the city – as well as an innovative network of off-street paths throughout downtown. The approved plan calls for the total construction of 197 additional miles of bicycle facilities, bringing the total bicycle network to 350 miles within Saint Paul when complete.
“This plan is a key step forward to building a network of connected bikeways across St. Paul, making it easier to get around the city by bike for people of all ages and in all neighborhoods,” said Council President Russ Stark. “This is another important milestone toward making St. Paul a more livable, equitable, and sustainable city.”
Additional bike routes will be incorporated into previously scheduled infrastructure investments planned as part of the Saint Paul Street Vitality Program, and as part of other routine maintenance such as street repaving projects. The plan identifies opportunities to expand and improve connectivity among and access to the city’s many regional trails, including the Samuel Morgan Regional Trail, Bruce Vento Regional Trail, Trout Brook Regional Trail and Gateway State Trail.
A public process
Since city planners first began developing the bike plan in 2011, resident feedback has been an integral part of the process and has been incorporated into the final, adopted plan. These efforts build on existing policy established by the city, as well as work completed by agency partners, including Ramsey County, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Council.
The Metropolitan Council must also review and approve the Saint Paul Bicycle Plan before it is considered an addendum to the Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan.
A balanced bicycle network downtown
A network of off-street paths in the downtown core will connect popular attractions, spur economic development, and position Saint Paul at the forefront of bicycling in the United States.
The first phase of the downtown bike loop will be developed on Jackson Street coinciding with planned road reconstruction in 2016. Subsequent work along Jackson Street will establish a critical connection between the Samuel Morgan Regional Trail along the Mississippi River and the Gateway State Trail, which extends northeast out of Saint Paul with connections to Stillwater and beyond.
An additional study to determine the final alignment of off-street paths throughout downtown – including considerations related to parking and other transportation needs, as well as connections to existing bikeways– will be completed in 2015. The city is in the process of establishing a Community Advisory Committee to help advise city staff throughout the planning process.