Edina Gets A Clue

That’s to Rich for flagging this one.

For cyclists, mean streets of Edina may soon change

By Mary Jane Smetanka, Star Tribune

As a city that developed largely during the age of America’s romance with the car, Edina has no signed or striped bike routes. That’s an amazing fact when biking is booming in the Twin Cities and Minneapolis is ranked second in the country in the proportion of people who bike to work.

A new report from Edina’s bike task force has an aggressive plan to change that. If its recommendations become reality, Edina will be crisscrossed with streets that have marked bike lanes, Southdale mall will have bike storage space, and the city will have at least a part-time “bicycle coordinator” to smooth the way for bike-friendly policies. Two major bike trails, one along a railroad line and the other along Nine Mile Creek, would provide north-south and east-west passages across the city and links to regional bike trails.

Heavy reliance on cars “affects the quality of life and livability of the city, not to mention the environment,” said Kirk Johnson, a task force member. Bicycling, he said, “is a good way to get active and get fit. And it brings people out of their automobiles.”

The 121-page report looks to Portland, Ore., and Minneapolis for examples of good biking policies. It suggests that Edina could copy Portland by adding sensors that allow bicyclists to trip traffic lights at intersections, just as cars do. And it recommends painting “blue lanes” that alert drivers to yield to bicyclists when they’re turning across bike lanes. But most of the report’s suggestions to make Edina more bike-friendly involve simple measures that work with existing streets, such as adding striped bike lanes to road shoulders.

Less than 1 percent of Edina residents bike to work, the report estimates. Among them is Johnson, who two years ago sold his car and began biking the 18 miles back and forth to his job as a software projects manager in downtown Minneapolis. He did it for environmental, money and health reasons, and he said he hasn’t been sorry.

Rain or snow or stifling heat, he rides to work. In two years he has lost 25 pounds, and the 43-year-old said his doctor reports that his blood pressure is that of a high-school athlete.

“It’s fun,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know I would like it more every day.

 

I really like that last quote. It is so true. riding just gets better everyday. It’s like going to the gym. Somedays you really don’t want to do it, perhaps for a number of good reasons, but once you mount the bike and start pedaling, all those apprehensions just melt away.

 

As far as one of the Twin Cities most conspicuously wealthy suburbs getting with the program, all I can say is; It’s about time.

 

Getting anywhere SW of France and Excelsior has always been like taking your life into your own hands. Even side streets are crowded with oversized SUV and rather unforgiving drivers who see anyone on a bike over the age of twelve as a target for ridicule.

 

I’m particularly impressed by the acknowledgment that the city was largely created with the needs of a burgeoning car reliant culture in mind.

Perhaps someday soon we’ll see communities created to meet the needs of those of us who choose a safer, sustainable method of transit that connects people with their surroundings rather then insulating them.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

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