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#54 Minnesota’s Mississippi River Trail: Bringing Bicyclists to America’s River, One Partnership at a Time - Walton, Grilley, Overson
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#54 Minnesota’s Mississippi River Trail: Bringing Bicyclists to America’s River, One Partnership at a Time - Walton, Grilley, Overson



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  • 1. The Mississippi River Trail: Bringing bicyclists to America’s river one partnership at a time2012 Pro Walk Pro Bike Conference Liz Walton , Dorian Grilley, and Susan Overson
  • 2. Agenda:• Minnesota Department of Transportation: MRT planning Liz Walton• Bicycle Alliance of MN: bicycle-friendly communities Dorian Grilley• National Park Service: Alternative Transportation Plan Susan Overson
  • 3. Challenge• Attract new visitors to Minnesota, MRT communities, and the MNRRA (Mississippi National River and Recreation Area)• Create a bikeway by “rebranding” existing roads/trails• Acquire no additional land/no expensive development• Do so in collaborative and efficient manner
  • 4. Attract visitors to MN & MNRRA Simultaneously improve/provide: • Local recreation and transportation opportunities • Access to river and its natural/cultural resources • Economic benefit for host communities • Public health
  • 5. The Basics: Minnesota’s MRT• Borrows routing from Great River Road• Safest route with highest quality river experience• 10 states; over 800 miles in MN• Called “trail” – but really a bikeway• Largely on roads outside of Twin Cities
  • 6. BikewayMn Statute 169.011 – DEFINITIONS Subd. 9.Bikeway. "Bikeway" means a bicycle lane, bicycle path, or bicycle route, regardless of whether it is designed for the exclusive use of bicycles or is to be shared with other transportation modes
  • 7. 2012 Conference Theme: Placemaking• Connect people to great destinations and places • Mississippi River - world icon • National parks - U.S. treasures• Public is welcomed and engaged to walk, bike, mingle, dance, dine, shop, and play • MRT connects 800+ miles of MN river communities • MRT communities becoming more bike-friendly
  • 8. • Uses Great River Road’s “Destination Areas”• Adds 1 area
  • 9. Begins at Itasca State Park Photo credit to Scott Schroeder
  • 10. Mississippi Headwaters - Itasca State Park to Bemidji
  • 11. Mississippi Northwoods - Bemidji to Grand Rapids Forest History Center Photo credit to Mn Historical Society
  • 12. Paul Bunyan/Heartland State TrailsBemidji to Brainerd/Cass Lake to Walker Photo credit to Explore Minnesota Tourism
  • 13. Mississippi Crossings - Grand Rapids to Little Falls
  • 14. Scenic Mississippi - Little Falls to Elk River St. Cloud: Musinger Gardens
  • 15. Metro Mississippi - Elk River to Hastings Includes MNRRA (Miss. National River Recreation Area) St. PaulMinneapolis; Stone Arch Bridge Elk River: Rivers Edge Commons
  • 16. Mississippi Bluffs - Hastings to Iowa BorderReads Landing
  • 17. Ends at Gulf of MexicoPhoto credit to Bob Robinson
  • 18. Route Composition Route is: • 25% state and U.S. highways (MnDOT) • 60% county, local, and township roads • 15% state, regional, and local paths/trails Facilities managed by: • 67 cities • 21 counties • 88 townships • 1 state park
  • 19. MRT ConnectionsConnects communities, plus: Itasca State Park: photo credit to Mn DNR• 8 state parks• 1 state recreation area• 1 national park Frontenac State Park• 2 reservations/tribal areas John Latsch State Park
  • 20. MRT ConnectionsConnects:• 3 state trails• 10 regional trails
  • 21. MRT is for all ages and abilities• Specific segments = all (beginner-expert)• Overall route = comfortable sharing roads Photo credit to Major Taylor Bicycling Club of MNPhoto credit to Paul Smith-CTC
  • 22. Minnesota’s 2-Year Planning Effort (2010-12) • Revisit existing route • Maps • Bicycle-friendly communities • Marketing and outreach • Promote and celebrate • Designations (Mn Legislature + U.S. Bicycle Route) • Signs • Collaborative management
  • 23. Revisit routeBased on GRR Destination Areas• Series of regional meetings• Previous route developed in 2002• 2010 involved diverse participation• Identified goals/principles • Bicyclist (safe, intuitive…) • Community (“tour bus”)
  • 24. Evaluation RidesUnresolved segments
  • 25. MRT Maps• Printable maps• GIS-interactive maps• GPS download• Now - turn-by-turn on map
  • 26. Marketing and OutreachEarly-adopters receive expert help:• Selected regional “Host” cities• Distributed marketing strategy• Former Tourism Director• SWOT analysis• Develop marketing action plans• Combined bicycle-friendly work
  • 27. Marketing ToolboxHelp communities market their MRT segments • Enhance existing efforts • Promote consistently • MRT goals/“brand” • Products and service • Bicyclist types • Key messages • Supporting tactics • Downloadable
  • 28. Website and Facebook
  • 29. Promote and celebrate
  • 30. Promote and celebrate
  • 31. Additional marketingTourism office + partners• Greater interest in biking• Bike tourism “summits”• Enhance existing efforts• New Pedal Mn campaign• Free: print, TV, social media
  • 32. Designations• MN: 1st state bikeway• U.S. Bicycle Route System (3-stages)• Requires political support (resolutions) 2 3 1
  • 33. Signs• 2009 – partially signed in MNRRA• Completing statewide sign plan• Periodic U.S. Bicycle Route signs
  • 34. Collaborative Management• MnDOT doesn’t own the MRT• MnDOT’s role has been convener/partner• Develop and implement management model• Partners want regional representation and decisions• Success depends on local enthusiasm and support
  • 35. Route partnershipsAdding value to infrastructure/maximize investment• 1,000s of road miles desirable for bicycling = “ride ready” bikeways• Take full advantage of roads…multi-modal• Connect trails today vs. non-linked “pieces”• Integrate bikeway with roadway improvements and increase safety/access
  • 36. Community Partnerships• Regions are “smaller” on a bike. MRT can: • Bring communities together • Promote an understanding of local and regional issues • Cooperative solutions/and broader outlook• New partnerships: • Urban meets rural • From engineers to parks and rec./trail staff • Bicyclists…+ bus, train, canoe, and other modes
  • 37. New agency partnerships DNR: • Joint planning - future bikeways • Develop interim trail connections Health: • Bikeable Communities Workshop NPS: • Joint park/transportation planning • Matching funds
  • 38. Lessons learned • Create compelling alignment • Create ideal route; review how many jurisdictions • Sell the multiple benefits • Don’t oversell benefits • Don’t undersell obligations • Determine if /when need resolutions
  • 39. Being Bicycle Friendly Minnesota Segment Mississippi River Trail Dorian Grilley, Executive Director Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota 2009 to Present Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 40. BikeMN Mission & Vision: • To provide leadership and a unified voice for bicycle education, advocacy and efforts to make Minnesota more bicycle friendly so that more people will ride bicycles more often. • Minnesota is a state where bicycling is a safe, easy, fun and cool choice for everyone. Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 41. How BikeMN Helps (from recently updated Strategic Plan)• Advocacy• Education• Promotions & Events• Technical Assistance BFC & BFB Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 42. Education Program• Smart Cycling Curricula• Share the Road/Drive Your Bike• Safe Routes to School Bike Education including curriculum development assemblies, rodeos, train the trainer• Bikeable Communities WorkshopBicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 43. Advocacy Statewide Issues for BikeMN - Statewide Complete Streets Policy (2010) - Unchanging Red Light Law (2010) - State shutdown/impasse (2011) - State Safe Routes to School Program (2012) - Mississippi River Trail State Bikeway (2012) - Blinking Headlights and Studded Tires (2012) - Electric-Assisted Bicycles (2012)MN Bike Summit at the State Capital: Annually in March 2013 issues: - Implementation of MAP-21 - Funding for State Safe Routes to School - Vulnerable User - More updates to Operation of a Bicycle laws - Share the Road License Plates - Old Cedar Avenue Bridge -Lots more State/Regional/Local Issues Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 44. Promotions & Events Getting more people on bikes: Two events on the MRT this year and promoted another. Itasca to Iowa Host the Saint Paul Classic some on the MRT Support community events like Open Streets, Mayor’s rides, etc. Pedal MN campaign Other events and promotions Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 45. Technical Assistance: Building a Bike-Friendly MN Assistance to Bicycle Friendly Businesses & Communities based upon LAB’s five E’s:How Does Our StateRank in Bicycle • Education of bicyclists & motoristsFriendliness? • Enforcement of laws for all road users1. Washington • Engineering – good bicycle facilities2. Minnesota • Encouragement and promotion3. Massachusetts4. Colorado • Evaluation & planning of and for bicycling5. Oregon6. Wisconsin Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 46. How Does Minnesota Rank in LAB Bicycle Friendliness? 1. Washington 2. Minnesota (Up from 4 in 2011) 3. Massachusetts 4. Colorado 5. OregonMinneapolis (Gold), Rochester, St. Paul & Mankato (Bronze), Winona & Edina (HM) Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 47. Bicycle Friendly Communities Health Quality of Life Environment Economics (Remember this when we talk about MnDOT’s vision and planning) Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 48. Reasons to Be a BFC: Economic Development in MNRoad & Mtn Biking:$1 Billion /yrIndustry alone:$315 million /yr *Sources: U of MN, tourism; Minnesota Business Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 49. Reasons to Be a BFC:Quality of Life – Healthy Communities • BFCs always on short lists of best places to live. (6 in US News’ latest Top 10) • 2009 International Ranking of Cities with highest QOL contains 8 U.S. cities: – 6 are BFCs – 1 Honorable Mention – 1 working on designation • Home buyers want to live and businesses want to locate in bicycling and walking friendly communities. Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 50. Reasons to Be a BFC:Healthy Individuals • Obesity epidemic • Other disease related to physical inactivity • Health Care Costs • Productivity Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 51. What Do BFC’s Have?• Commitment to action – Action Plan• Targets, measures• Network of facilities – Complete Streets policy• Breadth of programs – The Five E’s• Education/Encouragement• Engaged Police• People riding bikes! Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 52. Make it Easy to be a BFC Don’t Reinvent the Wheel! Learn and Borrow from Others. Believe in the 5 “E’s. Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 53. Partner, Partner, Partner All these have a stake in your successEmpower local advocates and they will empower you.• MN Complete Streets Coalition• MN Safe Routes Network (BCBS)• State Agencies (MnDOT, DNR, MDH, Tourism, Safety)• National Park Service & other federal agencies• U.S. Bike Route System/Adventure Cycling• Other Nonprofits (MRT, Inc. AHA, ACS, other health)• Local Public Health (big allies!)• Local Advocates and Clubs (synergy, not competition)• The Bicycle Industry & other business• Community Organizations (chambers, Rotary, etc.)• State and local publicofofficials Bicycle Alliance Minnesota -
  • 54. Mississippi River TrailMinnesota’s first State Bikeway & USBRS Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 55. What is a Bikeway?* you all know what a trail is…M.S. 169.011 Definitions - Subd. 9.Bikeway. "Bikeway" means a bicyclelane, bicycle path, or bicycle route,regardless of whether it is designedfor the exclusive use of bicycles or isto be shared with other transportationmodes.* the Mississippi River Trail is the only legislatively designatedbikeway in Minnesota! Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 56. Why BFC the MRT?(Communities get this in seconds!) - Synergy - Healthy Communities - International Recognition - Visitor Experience - Locals Riding - Economic Development - Quality of Life Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 57. MnDOT’s Vision- Quality of Life, Environment & Economic Focus Traffic Free Cycling- Minnesota GO- Bicycle Planning Study- Ensure Multi-Modal- Innovative & Creative Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 58. MRT in Minnesota60% county, township & local roads 25% state & U.S. highways 15% state, regional & local trails Some Examples: Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 59. Case StudyBEMIDJI AREAApplied to be a BFC August 2012 Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 60. BikeMN BFC Reports• Community meetings with advocates, community leaders, schools, business and city staff• On bike assessment• Guiding recommendations and observations• Action Steps based on “5 – E’s”• Community resources Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 61. Major Strengths - Bemidji• Formal & Effective Collaboration• Bike Culture!• Political & staff leadership• Breadth of E’s Bemidji is one of the coldest places in• Best Practice: On-street the lower 48 states! Bike parking• Tourism support• Innovative Leadership from Higher Ed• Mode share is high• Momentum Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 62. Outcomes –Parking Downtown Bemidji Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 63. Outcomes -Bemidji Bicycle Map Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 64. Rural and Small Community(Kids can still bike to school in Bemidji) Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 65. Aitkin• Rural – Pop. 2,100• SRTS plan Hospital and promotional• Active Living Plan photo for Family• Police teach bike Practice safety• Every school kids gets a free helmet• The major employer is healthcare• Tourism is important• Quality of Life an issue• They get Bike Friendly Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 66. Little Falls, MN• Bike lanes on main streets• Strong advocates• Positive momentum• Tourism Support• Charles Lindbergh childhood home Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 67. Minneapolis• More than bicycle mode- share since 2000 – Journey to work by bike – 1.89% (2000) – 3.9% (2010)• Started state & local advocacy groups• Bicycling ambassadors• Mayor Rybak’s support• Over 200 miles of bikeways• Midtown Bike Center on greenway• Paths plowed first• Midtown Greenway – 3,500 users/day 365 average!• Lots of BFB’s Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 68. Saint Paul• Bicycle Master Plan• Sustainable Trans. Planner• Bike parking ordinance• Helped start state & local advocacy groups• MN’s largest bike event• National bike Month• Lots of LCI’s and classes• Police have been trained• Bus drivers trained in bike safety (all over Metro)• Share the Road campaign & signs city wide• Lots of BFB’s too Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 69. Bicycle Friendly Winona • Already an Honorable Mention • Political & staff leadership • Demonstrated innovation • Best Practice: Mapping • Tourism support • General support from Higher Ed • Mode share increasing • Momentum • Bike Boulevard and on road lanes Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 70. Bikeable Community Workshop• All MNRRA Communities invited• Focus on professional staff & elected• Classroom and on bike• Reasons to be a BFC• Partner with MnDOT and MDH & NPS Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 71. Others are InterestedBikeMN has presented or talked to:• Grand Rapids• Crosby• Brainerd• Baxter• St. Cloud• Hastings• Red Wing• La CrescentIt is an easy sell! Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 72. Moving ForwardFor more info: Dorian Grilley Executive Director 651-387-2445 Find us on the web: Like us on Facebook: Follow us On Twitter: @BikeMN Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota -
  • 73. NPS and the Mississippi River TrailMississippi Nat’l River and Recreation Area
  • 74. The Mississippi National River andRecreation Area (MNRRA) 72-mile linear park established by Congress in 1988 to preserve, protect and enhance . . . No land management authority Multi-jurisdictional Accomplish everything in partnership with state and local entities
  • 75. Urban National Park  Large urban population and infrastructure  Multi-modal system in place (bike, ped, transit, water access)  Bicycle Friendly Park  Already provides visitors with multi-modal options throughout an established regional park system
  • 76. Surrounded on both sides of the river byprotected green space in the heart of city
  • 77. 72-miles of the 10-state, 3,000-mile MRT 3,000-mile/10-state MRT includes Headwaters to Iowa Border 14 National Parks and Wildlife Refuges
  • 78. Joint NPS/MnDOT GoalVisitors can experience the MRT and their National Park both on and off road.
  • 79. . . . and on the water!
  • 80. The MRT is the primary bike and alternative transportation route along the river
  • 81. As an MRT partner NPS providesresources and technical assistance $15,000 MRT signage $1.4 million through Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program – FHWA funding for alternative transportation projects in national parks and other federal land management areas (USFWS, USFS, BLM) $140,000 Match to MnDOT Scenic Byway funds $100,000 for trail construction in Saint Paul $80,000 MRT trailhead in Inver Grove Heights Staff assistance with marketing, ground-truthing, route alignment, user guides, letters of support FHWA funds no longer exist after 2012 – next few years may be challenging
  • 82. “Partnerships R Us” Trails and Open Space Partnership Alternative Transportation Plan MRT Host Community
  • 83. Trails and Open Space Partnership Since 1996, collaborative of over 50 agencies and organizations focused on completing the metro Mississippi MRT segment by 2016, the NPS Centennial Identified MRT as primary transportation facility in MNRRA Prioritization criteria for funding includes completing or connecting a section of the MRT in MNRRA TOSP encourages implementing agencies to use TOSP priorities for planning and implementation and has helped them secure over $100 million in public and private funds
  • 84. NPS/MRT Host Community Promote the MRT “Brand” in all 25 communities in MNRRA Assist communities with marketing efforts and getting people to the MRT Help communities achieve bicycle friendly status Create awareness for the entire MRT and it’s destinations One of six geographic destinations – the “Metro Mississippi” Develop new partnerships and collaborate with existing Link the National Park visitor with MRT resources through our website, publication, events. Collaborate on events
  • 85. MRT Ground Truthing (2002 and 2010)
  • 86. MRT Ribbon Cutting (2009)
  • 87. First National Park to Establish a BikeSharing System with Nice Ride MN
  • 88. Interpretive Opportunities  Ranger on Call Program  Bike with a Ranger  Take me to the River
  • 89. Mississippi River Companion
  • 90.  Print and online guide to recreation in the MNRRA Highlights bike and water trails, including the MRT Updating to include transit info MNRRA/planyourvisit/MN RRArivercomp.htm Marketing tool for MRT
  • 91. Multi-Modal Opportunities
  • 92. Alternative Transportation Plan NPS Transportation Funds Transportation Scholar Work with Multiple Partners  MnDOT  Trails and Open Space Partnership (TOSP)  25 Local Jurisdictions  Metropolitan Council  Metro Transit  Bike Walk Twin Cities  UM Center for Trans. Studies
  • 93. Alternative Transportation Plan MRT primary transit facility Reduce congestion Increase tourism Interpretive programs Increase non-motorized river access Create a seamless multi-modal system Minimize impacts to park resources Identified over 300 existing and proposed connections to the MRT
  • 94. ATP GOALA seamless and recognizable alternative transportation system thatbuilds on the MRT and existing metro transit system while serving park visitors, commuters, and residents of the metro area. MNRRA Multi-Modal System Metro Transit System
  • 95. Connections to Area Transit
  • 96. Connections to Area TransitMississippi River Trail Bus Routes and Stations Connections
  • 97. Connections to Area Transit Northstar Rail Corridor Bus Routes w/ Access to MRT
  • 98. $1.4 M from FHWA to install 32 bike share stations, associatedtransit improvements and signage along the MRT
  • 99. Provide access to the river and itsnatural and cultural resources• Water Access• MNRRA Destinations
  • 100. NPS Recreation Programs Bike With a Ranger Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure Program
  • 101. Protect air andWater and Airquality Improvements to water Quality
  • 102. Five Year Plan to connect Mississippi River Trailwith area transit and river Union Depot Transit Mississippi River Challenge Station
  • 103. Benefits to MRT and MNRRA Achieves NPS and MRT goals Maximizes NPS funds New programs like “Take Me to the River” and “Ranger on Call” Protects park resources Reduces congestion Creates awareness of MNRRA, MRT, and NPS Creates new partnerships MNRRA ATP Planning Team Bike Loan Program
  • 104. Challenges NPS does not own or manage land Will take time to build out 72-mile “off-road” segments (on road exists) Multiple partners, funding cycles, jurisdictions Funding uncertain Need boat storage and shuttles for multi-modal recreation (We’re working on that )
  • 105. June 4, 2012 – bike share program launched along theMRT in Saint Paul – a first within a national park!
  • 106. MRT ties it all together!
  • 107. Bikeways can provide: • Cost-effective bike routes • Links to where people want to go • Enhanced recreation • Active transportation • Transportation alternatives to river/public lands • New local economic activity • Better return on investments • Enrichment and social cohesiveness
  • 108. And partnerships that bring adventure…
  • 109. …and complement great placemaking Photo credit to Mpls. Star Tribune
  • 110. For more info: Liz Walton, Landscape Architect MnDOT – Bicycle and Pedestrian Section 651-366-4186 Web: Facebook: Dorian Grilley, Executive Director Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota 651-387-2445 Web: Facebook: Susan Overson, Landscape Architect National Park Service - Mississippi National River & Recreation Area 651-293-8436 Web: Facebook: