Study says Twin Cities biking up 52% in five years

Biking in the Twin Cities has increased 52 percent over the past five years, and walking is up 18 percent, says a report out today from Bike Walk Twin Cities.

The group attributes the biking rise to new Twin Cities bikeways, fluctuating gas prices and heightened awareness of the health and social benefits of bicycling.

Among the groups statistics:

From 2007 to 2011, annual bicycle trips on the Lake Street Bridge (between Minneapolis and Saint Paul) increased by approximately 200,000 to nearly 900,000. Based on 44 percent of these bicyclists reporting that they’d be driving if not bicycling, the 200,000 increase in bicycling translates to 96,000 fewer car trips across the Lake Street Bridge.

“Over the past year, many people have told us it seems like more Twin Cities residents are bicycling; the count report data attest to a significant increase in Twin Cities bicycling,” said Joan Pasiuk, director of Bike Walk Twin Cities. “Recreational bicycling alone does not account for this increase. Increasingly, Twin Cities residents are choosing to ride a bike — or walk — to and from work, to run errands or make short trips. Sibley Bike Library clients alone logged more than 30,000 miles in 2011, and, there were more than 200,000 trips in the second year of Nice Ride Minnesota bike sharing.”

Bike Walk Twin Cities  is the federal non-motorized transportation pilot program administered by Transit for Livable Communities. It has received $28 million for Twin Cities programs that increase biking and walking.

The group’s statistics are based on a count of bicyclists and pedestrians passing 42 designated locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul on weekdays in September 2011, and comparing this data with identical counts conducted each September since 2007. The counts were conducted by trained volunteers, based on a federal protocol, the group said.

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