St. Paul bike plan calls for 214 more miles of trails

A proposed  long-term plan to add 214 miles of bike trails and lanes in St. Paul will be officially released today. It’s already online here.

The plan will designate areas throughout the city for future development for cyclists. The first of four open houses will take place Feb. 11. Public comment is open through April 30.

The plan includes:

  • A downtown bike loop that includes on-street and off-street trails at an estimated cost of $18 million: The loop trail will follow an alignment on St. Peter Street, Kellogg Boulevard, Jackson Street, and 10th Street, placing a majority of downtown within two or three blocks of the trail
  •  Enhancement and additions to the existing 27 miles of Grand Round bike trails
  •  Freight rail crossings around the city

The plan also proposes a nearly two mile bicycle loop in downtown St. Paul, running alongside Kellogg, Jackson, St. Peter and 10th Streets, which would cost $18 million dollars. Overall, the proposal would expand the city’s bike trails to more than 350 miles. 

A major goal is to encourage more city residents to ride bikes, city planner Reuben Collins told MPR News’ Daily Circuit.

“I think one thing that this plan really strives to do is recognize that the existing bikeway network may only appeal to a small portion of the residents in the city,” Collins said. “If we had a better network, we might be able to expand that appeal and capture some people who would really like to ride a bike, but don’t currently because they don’t feel safe doing so.”

Biking becomes safer when more cyclists are on the road,  Reuben said. A final version of the plan, expected in June, will include possible funding sources for expanding the city’s bike network.

The project to add bike pathways in the city stems from a 2008 comprehensive plan that includes a vision to add more bicycle trips in the city, including more commuters biking to work. Project organizers also cite U.S. Census American Community Survey data showing roughly 15 percent of St. Paul residents do not have vehicles available for daily use.

MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert contributed to this story.