I just received a response to my two earlier blog posts from Jennifer Ringold at the Park Board. Jennifer is a cyclist, and represented the Park Board on the BAC for several years. Thanks for the thoughtful response!
Thank you for your message and your enthusiasm for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s (MRPB’s) trail system. Over the years, the popularity of this system continues to grow. We know from citywide phone surveys that the trail system is one of the most important amenities that the MPRB provides. Below I have addressed several of your questions and provided some clarifications. I will also forward your concerns to Park Commissioners who may want to provide additional responses to topics that are policy related. I hope that you will be willing to post the information below as a follow-up to your blog posts.
Reporting Comments and Concerns
We encourage trail users to submit concerns by calling 612-230-6400 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reporting your morning experience with the trail closure last week. Our forestry crews regret any inconvenience experienced by trail users that morning. It is my understanding that after several cyclists were not able to navigate around the closure, the forestry crews decided to stop operations and resume their work at a later time. Overall, the MPRB works with contractors and crews to mark trail closure with specific focus on the points of the trail where users can choose an alternative route. The goal is to help prevent a situation where trail users need to turn around and double back to a different route to avoid a closed area.
We have recently launched gov delivery. Through gov delivery, individuals can subscribe to electronic updates regarding trails and parkways. We plan to enhance this to include information about trail closures, including opportunities for subscribers to request information updates about the entire system or specific trail segments.
Over the next year, we plan to reinvigorate our efforts to develop a trail plan for the Minneapolis Park system. It is our hope that the newly restructured Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will be actively involved this work. This will build on work we initiated a few years ago that included community surveys and meetings to better understand the needs of trail users.
As you mention in your post, there are many agencies involved in providing trails in Minneapolis. In addition to owning and maintaining the Grand Rounds trail system, the MPRB is responsible for maintaining several other trails, including:
Cedar Lake Regional Trail (West River Parkway to approximately Hwy 100)
Kenilworth Regional Trail
Northeast Diagonal Regional Trail
Luce Line Regional Trail (Minneapolis section)
10 mph Speed Limit
In your post, you inquire about the 10 mph speed limit. This tends to be a hot topic. Since MPRB trails run through parks that are used by trail and non-trail users, the primary importance of the speed limit is to reduce user conflicts. This is especially true where there is a high volume of visitors enjoying a variety of activities. This is certain to be a topic of a future trail plan.
You have raised several questions regarding design standards such as striping, bike racks and curb cuts. Since we have 50+ miles of trail and most of our projects occur in 1-5 mile segments, we are not able to upgrade the whole system at one time. As design guidelines change or new information about design is received, we work to make improvements with each new section. In the future trail plan, we intended to adopt a unified standard that addresses concerns we have heard from users regarding curb cuts, pavement markings and site furniture as well as provides a distinctive look to park trails that will help users with wayfinding.
Trails are one of the highest priorities for winter snow plowing in the park system. We plow the bicycle path throughout much of the trail system in the winter. The intent is for pedestrians and cyclists to share the path during that time. The path is typically plowed with the same priority as our recreation facilities that serve schools or daycare. Trail users are encouraged to call 612-230-6400 or email email@example.com with specific areas of concern. I will pass the concern you have raised regarding Loring and the gravel build up along Hennepin to our maintenance staff.
Nice Ride/Wheel Fun Rentals
The MPRB has approved the placement of Nice Ride kiosks in several parks. The federal funding used for the Nice Ride project includes a historic review process. It is our understanding that since the Grand Rounds has been nominated for the National Historic Register and is considered eligible, concerns have been raised for some locations during this review process. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board does not administer this process, it is conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and/or the State Historic Preservation Office.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has a contract with Wheel Fun Rentals to provide bicycle rentals, this is not funded through Federal funding.
Manager of Public Engagement and Citywide Planning
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board