More Mpls. residents commute by bike, on foot

A bicyclist rides on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis in a 2010 file photo. (MPR Photo/Madeleine Baran)

The number of people biking and walking to work in Minneapolis continued its steady increase again in 2012, according to a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey that was released this week.

The number of people biking and walking in Minneapolis has remained steady or increased in recent years. (MPR/Jon Collins)

Biking continues to grow in popularity, with 4.5 percent of Minneapolis residents saying they regularly bike to work, according to the survey. That number hasn’t been higher since the Census started conducting the yearly survey on that topic in 2005, when just 2.4 percent of city residents commuted by bike.

About 6.9 percent of people in Minneapolis walked to work in 2012. That’s the highest number since 2006.

Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator Shaun Murphy said the city has made a concerted effort to be more bike and pedestrian friendly.

“We have a lot more bicycle paths, places where you don’t even need to encounter cars,” Murphy said. “There’s all sorts of things happening in Minneapolis that make it easier for people to get out and bike.”

Murphy said the street system for bikes is still improving. Construction starts Monday on two new bike boulevards designed to lure recreational bikers onto city streets.

“There are a lot of people who will go for a bike ride around the lakes but wouldn’t get onto our streets,” Murphy said. “As our streets get better for bicycling we’ll see more of those people who are only on our trail system doing recreational riding, going out there and running to the grocery store or running to work.”

The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey provides yearly updates on the social and economic lives of Americans.