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Update on Twin Cities Bike-Sharing Program

Posted by deborahmclaren on March 1, 2011

Minneapolis bike-sharing program prepares to expand into St. Paul
By Frederick Melo
fmelo@pioneerpress.com
Updated: 03/01/2011 09:32:01 AM CST

Minneapolis resident Claire Bootsma sat on a ‘Nice Ride’ bike as it was parked at the rack on Nicollet Ave. at Grant Street in Minneapolis July 1, 2010. (Pioneer Press, file)

The Nice Ride Minnesota bicycle-sharing program has moved a step closer to expanding from Minneapolis into St. Paul. Although specific rental locations haven’t been identified, nearly $2 million in new federal funding and foundation support will allow the program to grow from 65 sites to more than 100 this spring.

“I think in total we’ll probably add 50 more stations this year,” said Bill Dossett, executive director of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit. “You will see stations in St. Paul, but I don’t know how many yet, and I don’t know where.”

He said an official decision is about two weeks away. Eight of the stations will be in North Minneapolis.

As for the potential location of the St. Paul sites, here’s a clue: A chunk of the new funding has come from Macalester College and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, a coalition of foundations that aims to protect the University Avenue neighborhoods around the future light-rail route being built from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis.

A series of public meetings hosted by Nice Ride Minnesota last fall generated more than 800 suggested sites.

Nice Ride, which is based out of the Midtown Bike Center along the Midtown Greenway in South Minneapolis, currently maintains 65 bicycle stations where commuters can rent bikes for short trips, mostly.

Organizers say surveys show 20 percent of the 100,000 trips taken between the program’s launch last June and November would otherwise have been taken by car.”We’re excited to see the success of the first year,” said Hilary Reeves, a spokeswoman for Transit for Livable Communities.

On Monday, Transit for Livable Communities, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization, announced Nice Ride will receive $1 million from the Federal Highway Administration to fund the program’s expansion. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota will add $500,000 as part of a challenge pledge, and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative will put in $250,000.

Macalester College is contributing $30,000 through its High Winds Fund, which aims to improve aesthetics and security on its campus.

In total, Transit for Livable Communities announced it will award federal highway funding of $1.17 million to three capital projects. The city of Fridley will receive $110,000 to add sidewalks and bike lanes from the Northstar commuter rail station and communities to the south.

The city of Minneapolis will receive $62,000 to improve pedestrian safety on Franklin Avenue in the Seward neighborhood.

Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172.

ONLINE

More information about Nice Ride Minnesota is available at its website: NiceRideMN.org.

Posted in alternative transportation, climate solutions, green travel, Minnesota, Saint Paul, sustainable travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bikes on Ice? Ice Biking? Tell me your story or send me a link

Posted by deborahmclaren on February 9, 2011

ice biker dude

I want to write an upcoming post on my blog about ice biking… that’s the term for people who like to ride year round, even in the snow and ice. I live in Minnesota where there are plenty of ice bikers. I use to think they were all crazy, but I’m beginning to wonder why our bicycle accident rates are going DOWN while more riders are going up. Let me know what you think, especially if you are an ice biker.

Posted in alternative transportation, climate solutions, Minnesota, sustainable travel | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Biking through the Twin Cities…

Posted by deborahmclaren on July 6, 2010

Alternative, human-powered transportation is fun, healthy, helps Minnesotans reduce our carbon footprint, and provides a totally different way to experience our cities

Minneapolis is the bike-friendliest city in the country!

The April ’10 issue of Bicycling magazine ranks Minneapolis ahead of 49 other large and medium-size cities in accessibility to bicyclists. Portland has long ranked first, both in the magazine’s rankings and other surveys. “Despite the cold wintertime climate, Minneapolis has a thriving bike community. It has 120 miles of on- and off-street bicycle facilities, plus indoor bike parking and other cycling-friendly facilities.”

It’s pretty good when you live in this climate but can still bike to work and play six months out of the year. The Twin Cities have excellent bike lanes, plenty of bike racks, great trails, a bicycle “Midtown Greenway,” and some new free and fair priced rental bike programs. Check out the Minneapolis bike website for maps, trails, detours, and cool things like the new bike sharing program.

What could be cooler than this happy rider?

Bike sharing allows individuals to check out bicycles for short trips. The local non-profit Nice Ride Minnesota operates Minneapolis’ bike sharing system. Individuals must purchase subscriptions to check out bicycles – these are offered at daily, monthly, and yearly rates. Approximately 700 bicycles are located at 65 kiosks in Downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, and nearby commercial areas. View the real-time map to see bicycle availability. I’ve noticed that they are not just available along riding paths – you can easily find them in front of Minnesota’s beloved food co-ops, restaurants, museums and even City Hall. There are over 60 kiosks to choose from.

The “other” Twin (of the Twin Cities) is St. Paul – the most livable city in the US and my town!

Sibley Bike Depot
is a not-for-profit community bike shop and volunteer run organization. It grew out of the Yellow bike Coalition (YBC) and The Minnesota Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance (MNBPA). The Depot has Free Open Shop hours every week, even during the winter! This means that anyone can come in during their open hours, work on their bike, use the Depot’s tools, and talk to mechanics free of charge. The Earn a Bike program is an innovative program to provide bikes to people who could not normally afford them. By working in the shop, people can earn-a-bike. The Depot organizes group rides that focus on teaching safe riding techniques and the skills needed to utilize bicycles as a form of transportation. The Sibley Bike Depot is a collective that relies on volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, Email Volunteer Coordinator Jason@sibleybikedepot.org

Sibley Bike Depot's motto

Saint Paul’s Smart-Trips helps visitors and locals find alternative travel and commuter options. Their website provides info about
· Bike locker information & locations
· Metro Transit’s Bike and Ride program
* Biking and walking maps
· Midway Biking and Walking Maps
· Downtown Bike Parking & Lockers Map
Online Bicycle Route Finder:
· cyclopath.org

Luckily the bike-friendly cities are easy for families to bike on. We started out with our little one in a Burly. By the time he was 5 he graduated to a half-bike and now that he’s 9 he rides his own bike. I’ve blogged about Twin Cities bike-a-thons, festivals, and other events in the past. Let me give a shout out for the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour coming up on Sunday, Sept 12, 2010.
Sign up as an individual, family or group for traffic-free glee, five options from 15 to 54 miles long, music at every stop, and beautiful tree-lined streets and bridges over the Mississippi River.

I love my city!

Posted in alternative transportation, Minnesota, Saint Paul, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Future of Travel and Tourism by Glen Hiemstra

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 7, 2010

Future of Travel and Tourism

by Glen Hiemstra on 01/07/09 at 1:24 pm |

Last week I spoke to the Travel and Tourism Research Association on alternative futures for travel and tourism. It was the 40th Annual Conference of the association, held in Honolulu, and my appearance was coordinated by Goldstar Speakers. The key slides from my brief program are available for download via Slideshare.

I asked where the future of travel and tourism lies, between the vision of a Virgin Galactic for space adventureVirgin-Galactic Space Port, and that of the creators of the Null Stern Hotel in Switzerland, meaning the “zero star” hotel in recognition of the current and future austerity of travel?Null-Stern Hotel

The heart of the program focused on 4 converging forces driving the future, and 4 emerging trends in travel and tourism. As a futurist speaker who tries always to see the 360-degree view of future forces, I began with a run-down on the primary forces shaping our time and which I see converging into one grand pattern – economic disparity and frugality, expensive energy, demographic destiny related to aging, young and diverse populations, and environmental imperatives with associated changes in life styles.

In the travel and tourism industry these forces are leading to 4 emerging trends:

1. Keeping it local. If trends in energy, economy, and environment continue, then traveling long distances for recreation will become more rare. In order for the resort community to maintain a market, they will need to cater more to a local clientele. This is captured in the concept of the 10-kilometer hotel, one whose prime customers come from the local area for a respite.

2. Alternative transport. Today the local paper in Seattle featured a photo of a local organic farmer delivering his wares via sailboat to the docks in Seattle. He calls it the no-oil food. In the travel and tourism industry this kind of move will be and is being mirrored as people seek out non-motorized experiences like biking through France, or taking trips by sail. Over the longer term, again depending on how energy, environment, and economic trends play out, it is likely that tourists will seek out slower, less energy intensive, even zero-fossile fuel energy experiences.

3. Destination evolution. This trend is underway, as destination resorts focus on becoming greener and more sustainable, more local in their attraction, more astute in their use of information technology for advertising and for management, and more knowledgeable of market trends via research.

4. New whys of travel. It is said that there is graffiti from ancient tourists on the monuments in Egypt. People have always and will always travel to see new places and people, even if they have to walk or ride an animal to do so. That is not going to change. But, one more time depending on how the converging trends play out, we may see a return to the why of travel being for two primary purposes – to visit family, and to seek new adventure. Business travel may decline as 3D-net technologies become robust, and distance travel may decline as economic and environmental imperatives demand. Local travel may fill the need for reconnecting with yourself and recharging the batteries. In fact making that a focus of what you offer in the travel and tourism industry may be one key to the future.

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, consultant, blogger, internet video host and founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech contact Futurist.com.

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Posted in alternative transportation, Buy-local, entreprenuers, travel | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

 
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