Burnsville- Not so Bike Friendly

Posted by Doug Shidell, March 31st, 2010

Just spent an afternoon researching the northern parts of Savage and Burnsville. For me this is “ugly” research.  It’s necessary, but not that much fun. A comprehensive bike map has to be more than a collection of pretty rides. In some areas a good map can only strive to get cyclists through an ugly area as painlessly as possible. Burnsville and parts of Savage fall into that category.  They aren’t wastelands by any means. In fact, many neighborhoods and parks are quite nice. The challenge is getting around town by bike, and that often means wandering through a maze of twisting streets or hugging the curb on a feeder street while cars whiz by at 40 to 50 miles per hour. My goals were modest: Reduce the number of miles that cyclists have to ride on McColl Drive and Burnsville Parkway, two connectors with lots of traffic and not much in the way of alternate routes. A bike path through Neil Park cut out half a mile of riding on Burnsville Parkway and lead to Upton Ave. From there I went north and mapped out a couple of side streets that were straight and ran parallel to McColl Dr. The streets ran through pleasant suburban neighborhoods with few stop signs and low traffic.  I managed to eliminate another mile of McColl Dr. If you have revision 8.2 of the map, you will also find a decent alternate to McColl in Savage.  The part that will still be on the map is served by a bike path on the south side, but at the time I rode it, the path had remnant snow piles and plenty of sand and gravel.

Other research in the area: The Frontage road from the Bloomington/Ferry bike path to I-35w got better. Current versions of the Twin Cities Bike Map direct riders to a private gravel road that connects the Frontage Rd to Quentin Ave.  That is no longer necessary. The Frontage road now connects directly to Quentin and continues nearly to the interstate. It isn’t a destination route, but it does work as a reasonable east/west connector with low traffic. I’ve ridden this stretch a number of times over the years and find it enjoyable in a twisted sort of way. Maybe it’s just that being on a bike is fun, even when riding in marginal areas.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News