Archive for September, 2008

Bike2Benefits Results

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 30th , 2008.

Bike2Benefits, a program sponsored by Twin Cities Metro Transit, has been promoting bicycle commuting in the Twin Cities Area by offering custom bike routes to work, maps, commuter accesories and prizes. Their initial goal was to support 500 riders in 2008. By the end of September they had 2,020 members. 701 of the members were given custom bike routes and 974 had successfully completed the program. Some other impressive stats: Bicyclists took 33,797 trips for a total of 267,045 miles. Had each of those bicyclists driven to work alone, they would have burned up 132 tons of CO2. Congratulations to Metro Transit, program director John Siqveland and all of the mappers who worked out the custom bike routes for new commuters. For more information about Bike2Benefits, click here.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Powderhorn Park Update

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 1st , 2008.

Joel Cahalan, of the Hub Bicycle Co-op, has been trying to get the necessary permit to run the Powderhorn Park Cyclocross race this fall. As previously reported here, the director of Powderhorn Park rejected the first application for a permit. At the time, Peter Yaeger, Powderhorn Park Director, gave no reason for his refusal. Since then, Cahalan has received a written statement outlining the Park Director’s reasons for refusing the permit. Below is Cahalan’s point by point response. He addresed his response to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board of Directors.

Park Commissioners,

I have read Peter Jaeger’s statement regarding the Powderhorn bike race and I feel it full of distortions and misstatements. I would appreciate the opportunity to rebut his views in the hopes that you will reconsider his denial of our permit this year. I would like to state that seeing his letter yesterday was the first that many of these concerns have been presented to me. To me, Peter Jaeger’s procedure for dealing with this issue has not been one in which he openly communicated his concerns and allowed us the opportunity to address them. Instead there has been a complete lack of dialogue. I have lived in South Minneapolis for 13 years and have many friends who live within blocks of Powderhorn Park. We are your constituents and we are park users. I urge you give us the courtesy of seriously considering our viewpoints before reaching a decision on this important issue.

Following is a point by point rebuttal of Peter Jaeger’s stated reasons for denying our permit:

Extensive damage to the grounds that is still evident
We are more than willing to have a rain date or call off the event if the park is too wet. We had no prior experience with the effect our event would have on the park last year due to the record rain fall. As Peter states in his letter he did not either and we relied on park officials to make this judgment.
Drought resistant ground cover in effected areas that is a darker shade of green does not seem to me to be ‘extensive damage’. We have held the event three years running and have always had the course in a slightly different spot. There are no visible marks on the park from the first two years. This leads me to believe that last year was an exceptional year due to record rain preceding the event.
The arts fair and other large events have a much larger impact on the park.
Numerous complaints from neighborhood residents
I have had numerous complements about bringing a positive event to the park and neighborhood.
Mud pit was never graded
We did in fact have one of our club member’s rake out some of the ruts after the race.
We offered to do more in a phone conversation with Dave Garmany in October 23, 2007, two days after the race. We were told this was not possible due to union concerns and were told we should pay an additional $500 for grass reseeding. We immediately agreed to this and I have bank statements to verify that indeed $505 was charged to our account on behalf of Minneapolis Parks on October 23, 2007
Concerns organizers will not take environmental factors into account and call the event off.
As stated above we relied of park officials last year and had no prior experience with what effect the event would have. There is no evidence to support the idea that we would proceed with the event without park official’s approval.
Participants continued to use the course after the event
It is more probable that area residents who ride bikes enjoyed using the path post event.
In the event that there were any race participants using the course in the weeks after the race the promoters could have been contacted by park officials and we would have been happy to spread the word within the racing community that it was not okay to ride on the course post race. In the past when these type of concerns have been raised the bike racing community has been very responsive to requests.
Failure to provide youth programming as agreed upon
I personally suggested that The Hub Bike Co-op partner with the park to do some youth programming and got the distinct impression from park staff that this would be a waste of time as area youth would not be interested in attending. To now hear park officials assert that this is something we agreed to do and did not follow through on is personally insulting and I feel another example of poor communication.
I believe that this type of program could still be organized if the will was there on the part of park staff.
Permit fee was set too low and organizers complained that it was too high.
Regardless of whether this is true this is not a reason to deny a permit. We have paid every fee that park staff requested.
Livability factor for neighbors to Powderhorn Park
Livability to me means having local events such as ours that are inspirational and exciting to watch.
Many event participants arrive by bike for our event thus reducing environmental impact and increasing livability.
Overall safety to park users; high speed of biker’s through the park.
The course is clearly marked with caution tape and or flagging.
We had volunteers at critical spots throughout the park monitoring pedestrian crossing.
There were no incidents that would justify this concern that were ever brought to my attention.
The average speed in a race such as this is about 15 mph.

In closing it seems that there are many issues that could be resolved simply by better communication between park staff and our club. I do not believe any of these issues are insurmountable but I have felt a lack of willingness to have an open dialogue about how we can work together. Please consider our request to have park staff work in partnership instead of adversarially.


Joel Cahalan
Development Coordinator
The Hub Bike Co-op
Minneapolis MN

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Planning for Bike Routes through NE Minneapolis

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 1st , 2008.

Mike Rainville of the Northeast Bicycle Task Force is looking for interested neighbors to be part of the final planning of the Northeast bicycle boulevards, bike lanes, and bicycle-trail planning initiatives. The Northeast Bicycle Task Force, the City of Minneapolis and the TLC have been working together for a long time on planning, and also to secure the funds to finally bring bicycle commuter routes to Northeast. They are especially interested in participation from Audubon Park residents who are avid recreational bicyclists, commuters, and also residents on both Fillmore and Polk Streets.

The meetings of this group have yet to be determined and will run from this fall through the spring. If you would like to participate in the final planning: please contact Laura at the ANA Office, or leave her a phone message 612-788-8790, including your email address and we’ll make sure you receive upcoming meeting information.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Minneapolis Bike Tour Goes Under I-35W Bridge

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 1st , 2008.

If you are looking to be one of the first to use West River Road under the I-35W bridge, you would do well to sign up for the Minneapolis Bike Tour. The tour, schedued for September 14, has special permission to direct its riders under the new bridge. Spectators, motorists and other bike riders will be stopped before getting to the closed area, so the only way to get an early start to riding this section of road is to sign up for the tour.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Minneapolis Bike Count Volunteers Needed

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 1st , 2008.

Minneapolis is looking for volunteers to help with its second annual bike count on September 9 and 10. These counts will establish trend lines to asses the number of bicyclists on the streets of the city and the imapct of lane and bike trail improvements. Volunteers will work 2 hour shifts. The city has a particular need for volunteers during the afternoon rush hour, from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, or to volunteer, contact Shaun Murphy at shaun.murphy@ci.minneapolis.mn.us or 612.275.5128. Please leave your e-mail address, phone number, a preferred day and time slot, and if desired, a neighborhood where you would like to volunteer.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News