Archive for September, 2012

Stillwater Map Changes

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 25th , 2012.

I just got back from researching Stillwater and roads south. The trip generated several changes: Two roads were misnamed. Coming into Stillwater from the south, Beach Rd turns into 4th Av. The current map lists it as Paris Av. Going north on 4th, turn left on Orleans St, not 66th St as shown on the map.

A little further north, 2nd St drops down the infamous Chilcote Hill, well known to anyone who has watched the Stillwater stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. I considered taking it off the map and finding a less demanding route, but the hill is a well known challenge and many cyclists would like to know if they, too, could climb it.

I added Nelson St, near the bottom of the hill, as a good route to get down to the riverfront without going on the high traffic Main or Chestnut Streets.

I also extended the 2nd St bike route north to Laurel St and went west on Laurel to Owens. The additions create a nice access to downtown and the riverfront if coming into Stillwater from the north or west. I will consider removing Myrtle St as a bike route into Stillwater from the west end once the connector trail is complete between the Gateway Trail and downtown Stillwater. For now, however, Myrtle St is the most direct connection between Stillwater and the Gateway Trail.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Cedar Ave Bridge- Some Progress

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 24th , 2012. One response

There’s reason for cautious optimism that the deadlock over the Cedar Ave bike bridge may have been broken. According to Dorian Grilley of the Minnesota Bicycle Alliance, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, owners of the land surrounding the bridge, received a federal grant for promoting active living in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. That money could be used to not only refurbish the bridge, but also take it off the hands of the City of Bloomington. As with any grant, there are a couple of political hurdles to overcome, but Dorian is confident that they are manageable.

This is a multi-step process, but the broad outline is that the Fish and Wildlife Service will give Bloomington enough money to conduct an engineering study of the bridge. The goal is to determine what has to be done to make it safe for bikes, pedestrians and service vehicles. When the engineering study is complete, the Fish and Wildlife Service will agree to do the necessary work if the City of Bloomington gives them ownership of the bridge. Usually this is done with a $1 “sale.” Bloomington has never been an enthusiastic owner of the Cedar Ave bridge and is likely to sign off on the agreement. The first step in that process will occur this evening at the Bloomington City Council meeting.

One possible hurdle is a potential funding gap between what the Feds can afford and the actual cost of repairing the bridge. Governor Dayton, who spoke at a rally for the bridge on Saturday morning, pledged that he would sign any state legislation to make up the funding difference. The Governor is on board, but the measure would first have to pass through both houses of the state legislature. There lies the potential hurdle.

If everything falls in place, don’t expect to ride on the rebuilt bridge soon. The state legislature doesn’t meet again until next year, budgets don’t make money instantly available and the process for soliciting bids, hiring a contractor and scheduling construction all take time. Nevertheless, this is as close as we’ve been to getting the bridge replaced since it closed ten years ago.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Sabo Bridge Closed until December

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 21st , 2012.

The Sabo Bridge will be closed again starting Monday, September 24 and will remain closed until December. The closure is for final repairs on the bridge. Cables and retrofitted diaphragm plates will be installed on the on the bridge. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic will be detoured to the intersection of East 28th Street and Hiawatha Avenue.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Cedar Ave Bridge

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 21st , 2012.

There will be a rally to support funding for refurbishing the Old Cedar Ave Bridge on Saturday morning. Governor Dayton will be there and a good turnout of bicyclists and other lovers of this historic bridge will help make the case for investing in the missing link to bike routes south of the Minnesota River.

Here are the details:

Date: September 22

Time 11:00 AM

Location: Old Cedar Ave Bridge;

Bike directions: The bridge is south of Old Shakopee Rd just west of Cedar Ave (Hwy 77) at the Minnesota River. It’s about 1.5 miles southwest of the Mall of America. Ride south on 12th Ave through Richfield and Bloomington or take the LRT to Mall of America station, then ride southwest on Old Shakopee Rd. Check the Twin Cities Bike Map for more details.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Bikeverywhere Digital Maps and a Survey

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 10th , 2012.

Bikeverywhere sells a number of digital bike maps.The goal of the maps is to zoom in on a couple of bike rides or trails that stand out.

We’d like to expand the selection of digital bike routes, but first we want to know what you think about the routes we already have. If you have already downloaded one of our maps, please click on the survey link below.

If you haven’t downloaded a map, we’ve got an incentive for you to try one out. All of our digital maps have been reduced to just $2.00. If you want to try just one of the maps, these are our suggestions for each of the three cities:

Twin Cities:

For a ride that is a little more off the beaten path, try the Scandia ride, in the northeast metro area. It’s a beautiful rolling ride through a semi-rural landscape of farms, ex-urban homes, wooded lots and small lakes.

Madison, Wisconsin:

Consider a weekend overnight ride from Madison to Devil’s Lake State Park. Midway through the ride you hop on the free Merrimac Ferry for a seven minute crossing of the Wisconsin River. The route goes slightly beyond the state park to Baraboo, the home of the Wringling Brothers/ Barnum and Bailey Circus Museum.

Milwaukee:

The Milwaukee Lake and River ride follows an extensive network of bike paths and residential roads along the shores of Lake Michigan and the banks of the Milwaukee River.

We’ve made it easy to find the survey anytime you visit the site. Just look for this notice at the bottom of any of our digital map pages on the website.

Take our Survey!

Bikeverywhere is constantly striving to make our products better. Click here to take our survey about this downloadable file.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

The Best Research Year

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 2nd , 2012.

The Twin Cities Bike Map is officially updated every three years, but research is an ongoing job and it follows a pattern. In 2011 revision 10.0 was released. Despite my best efforts, the latest edition always has some minor flaws and astute map owners will tell me about them. The changes, no more than a half dozen per revision, are researched when necessary and added to the map file on my computer. That’s usually the extent of research during the first year. It’s also a time for me to catch up on house projects that were put off during the more intense research years. Last year that included spending evenings and weekends painting the trim on the house.

The second year is the best year, and this has been an exceptionally good second year. This is the year that I take long, looping tours through the metro area. I’ve ridden to Stillwater to see the Nature Valley Grand Prix bike race, ridden an ad hoc century ride that crossed the Minnesota River at I-494, wandered through Eagan, Burnsville, Savage and Shakopee, then crossed the river again into Chaska. From there I worked my way to Excelsior and back to Minneapolis.

I’ve done 50 mile rides to the north, 40 miles to the west, short errand loops in every direction and, with each ride,  I’ve adjusted my route to give me a look at existing and potential bike routes.  The rides are always fun. They reassure me that routes are still good for cycling or they expose a route as unsuitable for future bike traffic.

They also give me a better feel for the interconnectedness of the routes. To me, a good bike map is one that allows cyclists to get from one place to another with a minimum of hassles. Turns should be intuitive from either direction, routes should flow from one to the next in a logical fashion and routes should be good in both directions. Year two allows me to test the map to see if the routes meet those criteria

It also takes some pressure off year three. The third year is the mop up year. I grid off the map and research each grid until all the roads have been reviewed.  I get to know the area in detail, but I’m so deep into the weeds that it is hard to see how the various routes combine to form good loops or direct routes to destinations. I’m on and off the bike frequently during year three as I stop to study the map and plot routes. I backtrack often to pick up a spur that shoots off into a new direction and I hit a lot of dead ends as I follow routes that don’t work out.

I still have a couple of good months left in year two and plan to take advantage of them. If you see me passing through your neighborhood, say Hi, and if you have suggestions for new routes or changes to existing routes, let me know. Many of the best routes on the Twin Cities Bike Map come from cyclists who know their area of the Twin Cities better than I can hope to know.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News