What would it take to get you out of your car?

It’s Bike Walk Week in Minneapolis and St. Paul, both of which draw high marks as cities that are considered bike-friendly. Today’s Question: What would it take to get you out of your car?

  • Al

    Twin Cities residents would have to figure out how to build a rail SYSTEM that works well with the buses, rather than a single rail line at a time. But this takes vision and a stable public funding system, something state and local officials seem to reserve for sports stadiums.

    MetroTransit would also need to listen to what their potential customers have been telling them for years: Not everyone goes into a downtown for their commute. I am very willing to ride a bus, but not if it means 4 hours of commute time each day. My commute with MetroTransit would be 2 hours each way because they seem to think that Minneapolis and St. Paul are the only places that a bus rider might want to go.

  • Andy

    I wonder if more people would get out of their car if we felt the true cost of gas at the pump. Gas should be taxed to pay for its environmental impacts and our military ventures in the mid-east.

  • Katie

    The only reason I don’t bike to work is that it feel unsafe. Cars don’t look out for bikes. I would bike to work if all the cars went away and bikes had control over the roads. Imagine i-94 filled with bicycles!!

  • melissa carraher

    State and city government need to treat bicycles and riders just like motor vehicles and drivers. Putting bicycles on public roads means MNDOT and the DMV need to re-develop roads and laws to accommodate both types of vehicles, as well as regulating bicycles with state required rider’s licenses, bike plates and registration, and mandatory liability insurance and safety equipment. These measures would generate funds for needed road development and increase safety for all vehicles on public roads. Share the road and the responsibility.

  • sybil in bloomington

    I did a trial run on my bike to work last year from my house in west bloomington to my job by Southdale; it was really scary and i’ll not try again soon

    drivers don’t see bike riders, they turn into us and honk at us and don’t respect the bike lanes

    it was fun and i’d love to leave my car at home but it’s NOT worth getting seriously injured or worse

  • Jena

    I would need to feel a sense of personal safety. I don’t live in the best part of the Twin Cities, and biking through my neighborhood or waiting for a bus introduces opportunities that can be avoided in the relative safety of my vehicle, especially before dawn or after dusk. However, I do carpool 80-90% of the time.

  • Eric from Minneapolis

    I biked 10 miles each way to work in Portland OR. I gave up biking when I moved to Minneapolis. If there were showers at work I’d probably bike part of the year though.

    I heard the story on reducing sweat when biking, but I doubt it would work for me, I’m soaked just walking from my parking garage to the office in summer.

  • David

    I commute from Inver Grove Heights to Apple Valley on Hwy 3 & CR 38, about 12 miles each way which would be a nice ride each day. However, both of these roads have heavy automobile traffic each morning and afternoon. Even though both have been recently resurface no bike lines were added or marked on the side of the roads. Given these factors I think it would be very dangerous to try and bike those routes and unfortunately there are no bike trails of any length in these areas. So for me, safer routes for bikes would be needed to consider commuting my daily route.

  • Paul

    I would love to bike or take a bus to work. When I bought my house four years ago, one of the perks was being within bike/walking distance to work. Then my employer closed their doors. Now it’s a 70 mile (round trip) commute to work each day. There is no bus service or train service (or any other type of mass transit) on the range.

  • bsimon

    “What would it take to get you out of your car?”

    Take my kids.

  • Sue de Nim

    It’s impractical, not to mention unsafe, to bike on the 2-lane roads between small towns I need to travel on a daily basis. If I lived where there was good transit, I’d be inclined to use it.

  • Amy

    It would take a new career for me to give up my car unfortunately. I am a social worker and a main portion of my job is doing home visits with clients, so while it would be nice to bike to work, I couldn’t do my job.

  • Rita

    This winter I drove the five miles to my new office near downtown Mpls, but as soon as the ice melted I decided to try biking. It didn’t take long to realize that I can bike door to door about as fast as I can drive it because on my bike I can avoid sitting at stop lights, being stuck in traffic (especially during rush hour or Twins games), looking for a parking space, and walking 2-3 blocks to the office – not to mention I’m saving a TON of money on parking and not having to go to the gym as often! I now find driving my car to work a big hassle and stressful. I take a change of clothing in my bike bag and pull my hair back in a ponytail or headband if I’m sweaty. My advice to women: wear a loose-fitting, breathable top over a sports bra (if you sweat it’s wicked away and evaporates) and get a cute and casual summer hair cut that doesn’t require a lot of fuss or hairspray. Pull it back, pin it, or run your fingers through it for a sexy messy look.

  • Dana

    There seems to be this assumption that biking, walking, or using public transportation has to be an all-or-nothing proposition. If you cannot bike or bus to work, could you bike or walk on errands or on social outings? Just think how many trips could be reduced by biking or walking on every trip within a two-mile radius of our homes.

    I drive less than 300 miles a month and combine biking, walking, and public transportation for most trips. Someone asked me the other day if I missed driving to work. Seriously? What is there to miss about sitting in traffic in a coffin-like box? My life is immeasurably better in more than a thousand ways because I am outside enjoying my community, exercise, and fresh air. I am also a mom and bike my child to day care and on errands.

  • Matt Berres

    It would take a mass transit system in the metro area that could get me to my place of employment. Right now my only option is my car and with all the road construction going on right now, I wish I had other options. I have to get up at 5:30 to leave by 6 to avoid rush hour (sitting in traffic) to get to work on time. It takes me any where from 45 minutes to an hour to get home because of road construction. Give me another option. A bike would not work (too far). I go from Shoreview to Cottage Grove and back.

  • Max

    When it comes to commuting to work, it would take some changes in the workplace. Friends in Australia have bragged about the facilities tailored for bikers. Your bike is left in a secured area and each worker is given a locker and access to showers and changing rooms. Until then, I have no will to find a safe place for my bike and spend a full work day in a sweated out suit.

  • Gary F

    Take away my kid, and his baseball/football equipment.

    Take my laptop and job files, no more working at home, couldn’t lug the stuff on a bike.

    No more going grocery shopping. A couple gallons of juice, milk, cereal, bread, frozen foods, the apples would get damaged.

    I’d have to eat more if I biked that much, so more groceries and trips.

    So much for trips to Menards or the garden center.

    So much for makeing sales calls, literature, catalogs, and samples.

    I guess I’d have little time for anything else seeing I’d have to take more time biking.

    As Chevy used to say, it’s not just your car it’s your freedom.

  • Ron

    A reasonable, comprehensive mass transit plan and safe bike lanes.

    I live in the ‘burbs and would love to let someone else do the driving, but to take buses in and out of Minneapolis adds 25 minutes each day to my commute – I cannot lose *another* hour each day to the commute (don’t get me started on how shabby, poorly designed and out-of-date the metro road system is when compared to any other large metro I have lived and worked in). And the LRT is not ready for my commute (yet).

    Luckily, the central corridor LRT will soon be available for my commute, so I can use that for part of it. Ideally, they would look at extending that line further east toward the Wisconsin border if the ridership numbers compare to the success of the Hiawatha line – the number of cars every morning from western Wisconsin and Minnesota cities east of St. Paul heading into the Twin Cities daily on I-94 is staggering. I’d guess that if ten percent were to take the LRT, that would reduce congestion and create substantial ridership.

    Build the LRT and we will use it.

  • Chad

    Working closer to home.

  • Andrew

    Bike trails! I already bike to work twice a week (17 miles one way, from NE Mpls. to Eden Prairie). The gorgeous Cedar Lake Trail and the Southwest LRT trail get me almost all the way there. Since I work in a school, there’s a faculty locker room where I can take showers and keep a locker full of work clothes. If it weren’t for the trail, I wouldn’t feel safe and wouldn’t enjoy the ride nearly as much, so I probably wouldn’t be doing it.

    Biking isn’t all-or-nothing…I still have a car. The question was how to get you OUT of your car, not how to get rid of it.

    Also, Metro Transit does a terrible job of serving urban residents who work in suburbs. If I were to take a bus, I’d have to pay an exorbitant fare, sit for 2 hours, and finally walk a mile to work at the end. If I lived in a suburb, on the other hand, I’d have an expansive park-and-ride with express service. Likewise with train service–the Northstar is useless for us city dwellers who might want to go to Anoka or Elk River.

  • Shane

    I can’t believe this is even a question we are discussing. Considering all the real problems we face today and in the future we are asking a question any 3rd grader could tell you is ridiculous. Then again, everybody who pushes issues like this because of some trumped up imaginary enviromental concerns has the intellect of a 3rd grader so I guess it makes sense. I’ll make a deal with everybody, when every member of the Sierra Club gets rid of their car I will too.

  • Lawrence

    My wife and I are already down to one car because of the economy. Taking the bus hasn’t been bad, but it is slow, and the bus doesn’t go everywhere. I have lost weight since riding the bus, which is an added benefit.

    The other notable problem is that so many rural and suburban people drive into work from Wisconsin, and north, west, east, and south of the Twin Cities. Moreover, there are only about 5 legitimate metro areas in the entire state (Rochester, Mankato, Twin Cities, Dultuh, St Cloud, possibly Moorhead). The remainding state is farm fields, for miles around, and these Minnesotans drive several miles for groceries and social functions.

  • Paul

    Showers at the office would be all I need. I already ride 100+ miles a week recreationally and would love to ride to work, but I can’t spend all day in the sweaty funkiness that would inevitably result if I biked to work, no matter how slowly I tried to go.

  • http://www.glasstowerstudios.com/~scottj Scott J

    Probably it would take a reliable form of speedy mass transport. Like a teleporter that ran on high energy solar panels that I could step into and would automatically transport me to work in seconds (non kinetically, of course – I don’t want to be thrown through the air by a catapult). Also, it would probably be good if the teleporter would run on non-fossil fuels, so maybe something that ran by eating styrofoam and producing zero carbon output, or maybe solar panels would be good, too. Oh! Also it would be good if it gave me an ice cream cone as I stepped through it. Yeah. That would definitely get me to give up my car.

  • Pamela Nielsen

    I live in Woodbury, a suburb with no adequate public transportation, so in order to get me to give up the car, it would take a major commitment by public officials of all kinds to allocate monies to build a transportation system of buses and trains going to places and areas where people need to go….both downtowns, surrounding suburbs, and within the city of Woodbury on all days, including weekends and evenings. Wishful thinking no doubt, but that’s what it would take and not only for me, but everyone.

  • Amber

    Already am! Just participated in the Bike Walk Week Womens’ Wednesday ride this morning and am excited for the evening ride starting at 6pm at Freewheel Bike Shop on the Midtown Greenway

  • Samantha

    I don’t own a car and I bike over 30 miles round trip for work from the city to the suburbs. There are many trails and routes that I’m sure a lot of people just aren’t aware of.

    Try cyclopath.org if you need help planning a route.

    I think you’d be surprised how not awful it is to change into clothes without showering when you get to work. Sweat dries. No one notices or cares.

    It is not scary if you are following traffic laws and biking confidently. It becomes easier the more you do it. If you would like help, there are often courses led by cycling instructors that can teach you how to bike properly in traffic. They have them occasionally at REI or try bikemn.org.

  • Joey

    I’ve been living car free for over a year now, and I couldn’t be happier with that decision. When I need to get somewhere, I hop on my bicycle and go. No parking concerns, no traffic jams, no expensive repair bills, no car insurance, no gas to buy, no conscience bothering me about my mode of transportation. Just an awesome time riding my bicycle. When I need groceries, I attach a trailer. When I need to leave town, I take the bus. When it rains, I get a little wet. (Or else I take metro transit.) This may be easier for me than it would be for the average suburbanite, but that’s why I choose to live in the city.

    An automobile is a luxury, not a necessity. But the allure of cheap oil has led many of us to build our lives around automobile infrastructure in ways that make it extremely inconvenient to back out. Unfortunately, the convenience of maintaining the status quo carries an extravagant cost, only part of which we’re seeing in the gulf today.

  • Steve D

    I do not bike to work, but I believe my solution works as well here in NW MN. I drive my car to a parking lot in Crookston (10Miles), get on the Tri Valley Bus to Grand Forks transit site (27Miles), I take a City Bus to a stop 1/2 block from my work place(2Miles). It took Tri Valley starting a rural busing program to get me out of my car. I have ridden since 1 month after they started the service over an year ago. It saves me over $100.00 per month based on gas, oil changes, and tires. So it takes about $100.00 a month and a bus service to get me out of my car.

  • Steve

    Public transportation that covers more than just downtown.

  • Elliot Murray

    An FM radio and some speakers, LOL!

    In all seriousness though, between mid-December and late March there’s usually too much ice, snow and slush on the ground to bike safely to where I work. Winter makes a car necessary, I think.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I agree with Shane. We should all follow the wisdom of 3rd graders. In fact, I’m going to quit believing in anything a 3rd grader doesn’t believe in. Environmental damage from automobiles? No such thing! I might as well quit washing my hands, too, because there’s no such thing as germs. I think I’ll eat nothing but candy from now on, because good nutrition isn’t important, either. The only thing that’s really important is the immediate gratification of my every whim. I’m going to start throwing tantrums if I don’t get my way.

  • Dianne

    I would need a faster bus/rail/train ride from my home to work and from work to home for my work hours.

  • T N

    Ask not what would it take to give up our cars, rather, what would it look like if everybody did? Answer: Communist China 1960’s.

  • Fringe element

    I like Scott J.’s idea. Depending, of course, on the flavor of the ice cream cone received at the end of the journey.

  • Nicole

    What would it take to get me out of my car and on a bike? Safe drivers on the roads who don’t run red lights.. I live in downtown St. Paul and fear for my safety daily in my SUV with cars constantly running red lights and making poor decisions. I would never ride my bike around in those conditions. I just have to point out that if the lights were more like Milwaukee, WI where there is a few second delay between the lights turning red to green, it would help this problem greatly. But yes, it would take some changes in the way people drive in this state to ever make me feel remotely safe going a few blocks on my bike.

  • Glenn Farwell

    What woult it take????

    12 months of summer!!

  • DNA

    Barefoot walking shoes and enough time to walk wherever I need to go.

  • Amanda

    I agree 100% with Al’s statement.

    I live in the city but work in a suburb, and I would use public transit every day for my commute if it didn’t eat up the time I currently use to cook, exercise, and spend time with famliy and friends. I don’t live an extravagant life… and I hate commuting by car. But it’s my best option if I want to use my free time for something other than riding public transit.

    I biked all throughout college (in Colorado) and I think I will be able to arrange my life to do it again someday soon.

    On another note: we would all spend less money on gas if we had a network of roads to adequately support the traffic around here (because we could go a consistent speed; braking and idling waste gas). One of my friends told me the Twin Cities was not designed to move traffic efficiently because they didn’t want a lot of people to live here. Is that true? If so, that’s really passive-aggressive, and obviously ineffective. And it gets to another point – we need to change our cultural attitudes about transportation!