Peter Walker in Minneapolis
Tuesday 21 June 2016 11.29 BST
The Twin City’s ambitious new bike plan includes 144 miles of protected lanes and a doubling of cycle numbers by 2020. Portland, though, is fighting back …
Minneapolis does not have the immediate look of a place set on becoming a city where lots of people ride bikes. Aside from the long, freezing winters, this is a place very obviously built around cars. The roads are generally multi-lane, often one way, and parking is largely straightforward, even in the centre. But things are changing.
Lisa Bender, the city council representative who has done as much as an anyone to push cycling in Minneapolis, laughs when asked if the aim is to make her home the second most bike-friendly city in the US, after the traditional cycling centre of Portland, Oregon.
“Oh no, first,” she says. “That’s the official policy. The best, possibly in the world. All joking aside, when I think about biking in Minneapolis I know that if you look at Copenhagen and the way they transitioned their city to non-motorised modes, we could do that here. If you look at the map of our city we have a grid. We have lakes and a river, and old rail corridors. Most of the neighbourhoods grew up around transit lines, and they are fairly dense.”