The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

Seeing the city on two wheels

The great bike trails around the Twin Cities
Thomas Kovarik
MAKING USE OF DEAD SPACE. The Greenway in Minneapolis runs on an old train track. Opened in the year 2000, the path is now a bike highway for thousands of commuters each day.

The Twin Cities are home to a combined 427 miles of bikeable paths. As both a commuting option and a recreational activity, biking curbs carbon emissions and offers a scenic way to exercise. Bike paths weave through many parts of the Twin Cities, bringing cyclists to lakes, rivers, downtowns, and residential neighborhoods.

According to the latest ratings by the nonprofit PeopleForBikes, Minneapolis ranks as the best large city for biking in the country, with Saint Paul close behind in 7th.

But why?

For starters, one must understand that the Twin Cities have always had a high potential for bikeability. According to a terrain analysis of the 50 largest cities in the USA, Minneapolis has the 10th lowest standard deviation of elevation of these cities. In simpler terms, the different elevations across Minneapolis are very close compared to other large cities. A similar story applies to the greater metro area as well. This flat terrain allows for safe and enjoyable biking, so long as there’s the infrastructure to support it.

However, the city hasn’t always been the bikers’ paradise that is now. In PeopleForBikes ratings, scored out of 100, Minneapolis has risen from below 30 in 2018 to 68 in 2023.

So what changed?

According to Luke Hanson, who has worked as a senior transportation planner for Minneapolis and Saint Paul, much success can be attributed to policy changes. One such example is the 2020 Transportation Action Plan, which outlined an aggressive goal to create “141 miles of new or upgraded bikeways.”

That same year, Minneapolis and Saint Paul lowered their default speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph, continuing efforts to increase safety for bikers.

Another noteworthy reason for success was the “Nice Ride” Bikeshare System, used by both Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Owned and operated by rideshare giant Lyft, this implementation was one of the first in the US and helped contribute to a biking boom in the Twin Cities. However, as Minneapolis announced in March, followed by Saint Paul in April, Nice Ride is shutting down after losing a $3 million sponsorship from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Shortly after, Minneapolis found new partners, and bike-share companies Lime, Spin, and Veo have replaced Nice Ride. Many believe this to be for the better, as Nice Ride had monopolized Twin Cities bike-share, discouraging other companies from bringing their business.

The last reason for biking success is a growing biking culture for commuting and recreation.

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About the Contributors
Siri Pattison, Opinions editor
My name is Siri Pattison (she/her). I’m the Opinions editor for The Rubicon Online. At school, I’m involved in the Antiracist Group, Student Activities Committee, and running sports. I love to camp and spend time in the natural world. I can be reached at [email protected].
Greyson Sale, News editor
Hi, I’m Greyson Sale (he/him). I work as a News Editor for the Rubicon Online. At school, I play soccer and run track, am a member of SoCLC, and am a member of the People for Environmental Protection Club. Outside of school, I love rock climbing and get to compete all over the country. I can be reached at [email protected].
Thomas Kovarik, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Thomas Kovarik (He/Him). I am a Staff Writer or The Rubicon and RubicOnline. This is my first year on staff (Spring 2022). I am a sophomore and I am currently learning how to write for publication. In my free time, I like to mountain bike, ski XC, and downhill. I enjoy exploring the cities, hanging out with friends, watching horror movies, and listening to good music. One fun fact about me is that I was born in New York City. Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]

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