FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 11, 2015
CONTACT: Ashley Aram Ashley.Aram@ci.stpaul.mn.us
Mayor Chris Coleman invites public to engage in first phase of blueprint planning for downtown bike loop
Series of discovery workshops and interactive open houses announced for May and June
SAINT PAUL – Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and the Downtown Bike Loop Community Advisory Committee invite the public to participate in the first in a series of discovery workshops and interactive open houses aimed at engaging the community in conversation about the planned downtown bike loop. The first workshop is scheduled for Monday, May 18, 2015 from 5-7 p.m. with an open house to follow on Thursday, May 21, 2015 from 5-8 p.m. Both gatherings will take place at the Metro Square Conference Center (121 Seventh Place East). Additional workshops will follow in June.
The downtown bike loop is a network of separated bikeways in the downtown core slated for further study as a part of the Saint Paul Bicycle Plan, adopted by the Saint Paul City Council in March. Input gathered during the workshops will inform the planned loop’s final blueprint, which is expected by the end of the year and will include the route and design of the loop, how it connects the downtown core to regional trail systems, and a vision for placemaking within the downtown area.
“The downtown bike loop represents a unique opportunity to enhance the economic vitality of the downtown core, making it a more accessible and attractive place for people riding bikes, walking, driving or using transit,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “This project is key to pursuing our vision of a city that works for everyone, whether they are age 8 or age 80 – and I hope people will engage in the conversation.”
In the city’s 2015 budget, Mayor Chris Coleman dedicated more than $27 million of the 8 to 80 Vitality Fund to road reconstruction, including the creation of bike pathways – the largest investment in bike infrastructure in Saint Paul’s history. Based on the work of internationally-renowned urban designer Gil Penalosa, the 8-80 Vitality Initiative aims to ensure infrastructure, streets, and public spaces are welcoming to people of all ages and abilities.
“The planned downtown bike loop will connect popular attractions, spur economic development, and ensure a vibrant, balanced transportation network throughout downtown,” said Council President Russ Stark. “I encourage people to join in this discussion because it’s vital to the future of downtown and our city.”
Next steps in developing the final blueprint for the downtown bike loop
Following a robust public engagement process – which will include at least two additional meetings in June – a multi-departmental team of city planners and engineers will develop a blueprint for the downtown bike loop that outlines the alignment and design of the loop as well as connections to regional trail networks. The blueprint is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. Construction of the first leg of the bike loop – Jackson Street – will coincide with planned road reconstruction in 2016.
Toole Design Group (TDG) will support the City in the development of the downtown bike loop blueprint and Jackson Street Reconstruction Project. Their expertise is in stakeholder and public engagement, bicycle route planning, roadway design, wayfinding, and urban design at national, state, and local levels.