Woodbury: Changes and Discoveries

Posted by Doug Shidell, June 10th, 2010

Woodbury, a suburb on the far eastern edge of the metro area, is a mixed bag for bicyclists. During a weekend research ride, riding buddy Dave Olson and I finally discovered the bike trails that run between suburban lots connecting many subdivisions with Carver Park. The trails are well maintained, about 10 feet wide and under used. To their credit, the city built the trail along the border between housing lots, making the it immediately accessible to thousands of residents. The residents, however, were not out in force despite a sunny and cool summer day.

My biggest complaint about the trail is that it has no signage. “You are Here” maps or other indications about where the trail goes would help trail users find their way around the system.  The problem is compounded in the parks by multiple intersecting trails, some merely connectors to a neighborhodd,  others major trails in their own right. We wandered around for several hours, enjoying the scenery for the most part and re-orienting ourselves when we reach major intersections, but I never got a real sense of where the trails went until the next morning when I downloaded my GPS track onto a map. The trail also has a few very steep exit/entrance connectors that will make most folks walk uphill and scare any mother who’s child wants to skate down the ramp on a scooter or skateboard.

Getting around Woodbury by road is more of a challenge.  Woodbury was built when cul de sacs and winding roads with no destination were considered the height of residential development. The net effect is a constant funneling of all vehicles, bikes included, into collector routes and major roads. Woodbury has done a credible job of building and maintaining bike trails in the right-of-way of the major roads, but like all bike trails along major roads, these are noisy, the scenery is minimal and crossroads are dangerous.

Despite the drawbacks, we found some beautiful roads, such as Pinehurst Rd north of the Tamarack Nature Preserve. The new routes will appear on the 2011 update.

One road that will disappear as a bike route is Lake Rd. When first built, a decade or more ago, it was a low traffic, free flowing road through the city. Traffic has increased dramatically ove the years and with new updates of the Twin Cities Bike Map it has gone from low traffic to high traffic.  Traffic is now high enough that it is no longer an acceptable bike route. Several alternates have been found and more research is needed to avoid the last mile or two of  Lake Rd. The changes will appear on the updated bike map.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News