MSNBC gives Minneapolis bicycling a B?
MSNBC took a break from Keith Olbermann diatribes to provide a story on the most bicycle friendly cities in the USA. And of course, the fair Minneapolis gets plenty of shout-outs. But within the article is a cause for concern. They provide a link to a Forbes travel slideshow listing the top ten bicycle cities. And while we beat out Mayor Daley and Chicago, the slideshow has Minneapolis listed at number 9. If there is credence to the rating, it might indicate the city is resting on its laurels.
Within the MSNBC article, Stephan Shier, owner of a Seattle’s Dutch Bicycle Company admits that, “Portland is at least ten years ahead of all other large American cities.”
This sort of talk could be a wake up call to the cyclists who believe that Minneapolis will somehow overtake top spot from the indie-drenched city in the Northwest. It highlights a problem: while MPLS has the greatest trail system of any other city around, it needs to improve upon micro-level bicycle access ie. a safe way to pedal a few blocks to the grocery store or the school.
City bicycle coordinator, Donald Pflaum is doing his best to address this issue by implementing bicycle boulevards into the new bicycle master plan. But even that plan was disappointment to some; who thought it wasn’t as grand as possible.
What it comes down to is organization. Portland is ahead of the curve because they tend to work in unison with a variety of bicycle advocacy groups, from local shops to the mayoral office. Many hands make great bicycle infrastructure... or something like that?
One thing that no one disagrees about is that this city has the potential to crush. Minneapolis is flat, making it perfect for cycling. There is already some cooperation happening... but a with a little more effort, the land of the lakes could go berserk over bikes.