The Minnesota Department of Transportation is updating its statewide bicycle plan for the first time in ten years and is seeking comment from Minnesota residents and other stakeholders through November 16, 2015.
The state is hoping to accomplish multiple goals by building a statewide interconnect to the many extensive regional networks already in place across Minnesota. Among the plan’s primary objectives are to increase bicycling as a form of transportation and also open access to the state’s many natural resources including state parks, lakes and forests to vehicles other than passenger automobiles. Transit officials in Minnesota also acknowledge the changing nature of cycling, with more people opting to use bicycles as a primary means of transportation.Minnesota, already a leader in urban cycling infrastructure, is undoubtedly influenced by its neighbor Iowa, where the largest regional bicycle trail network in America has quietly been built. The Central Iowa Trail Network is comprised of 676 miles of bicycle and multi use trails. It connects a number of communities throughout central Iowa to the state capitol in Des Moines.