Bike-friendly business districts: would you go?


Bike-friendly business districts



Last week, I sat in on the monthly meeting of the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee. While they covered a lot of important ground, a particularly exciting agenda item was a "show and tell" from the recent National Bike Summit held in D.C. We viewed a short clip about Long Beach's Bike-Friendly Business Districts and were left dreaming about many "what if's" for Minneapolis. Piloted in 2010, Long Beach Bike-Friendly Business Districts encourage customers and merchants to replace their cars with bikes, and offer many benefits. Here are some of the perks (source: www.bikelongbeach.org):




  • Creation of the Bike Saturdays discount program, which offers bicyclists a discount or deal every Saturday at more than 145 businesses


  • Cross-promotion with the nationwide Small Business Saturday shop local event


  • Free bike tune-ups of more than 195 bikes at 19 clinics


  • Free bike racks and corrals


  • Free bike valets at events


  • 'Walk Your Bike’ sidewalk stencils to reduce bike-pedestrian accidents and educate bicyclists about the illegality of riding on Long Beach business district sidewalks


  • Community rides in the districts and to neighborhood events, like Park(ing) Day Long Beach and the DENGUE FEVER ride in Cambodia Town


  • Free pedicab rides at neighborhood events


  • Special bike events with famous bike advocacy speakers, kids' bike rodeos, BMX rideable art installations, and more


  •  Free bike portraits



So far, Long Beach has piloted 4 Bike-Friendly Business Districts.



Would you spend time in these districts if they existed in Minneapolis? Where is the ideal district location?



Other Bicycle Advisory Committee news



In other news, the  Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) passed several resolutions in support of the following bike-friendly street improvements and policies. Many of these projects are initiatives of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. To get involved, contact volunteer@mplsbike.org.




  • Park and Portland Avenues (reconstruction scheduled for 2012): The BAC supports right-side bike lanes on both streets and encourages Hennepin County to install the widest bike lanes possible, explore a painted buffer or protected bike lane, and consider signal timing changes to reduce overall traffic speeds.


  • Penn Avenue South (reconstruction scheduled for 2013): The BAC supports the following bike-related improvements as part of the Penn Avenue South reconstruction project: way-finding signs to connect Lake Harriet and Richfield using a side street along Morgan and Newton Avenues; street name signs with bicycle symbols along the new bike route; a curb cut at the intersection of 52nd Street and Morgan Avenue so that bicyclists can access the pedestrian bridge connection between Newton and Morgan Avenues; widening of the sidewalk between Penn and Oliver Avenues to at least 6 feet; and improvement of curb ramp and sidewalk at NE corner of Penn Avenue and Highway 62 to that bicyclists can make a northbound to eastbound turn without riding through the yard of the property at 6137 Penn Avenue.


  • Bike-friendly policies: The BAC supports prioritizing implementation of the following bike-friendly policies in 2012: Open Streets event permitting; low-volume street to greenway conversion; and Complete Streets policy development.


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