MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis takes pride in regularly topping lists of bike-friendly cities.
But now one of our bike paths – the Midtown Greenway — is getting national attention.
USA Today published an article Tuesday by ActiveTimes.com in which its writers identified America’s 19 best city bike paths. They ranked the Midtown Greenway as number one.
The reasons might surprise you.
Every day between 4,000 and 5,000 people use the Greenway. It’s 5-and-a-half miles long, and it runs right through the center of Minneapolis with little interruption from street traffic or pedestrians.
From beginning to end, the Greenway has remarkable features. The bike path runs east to west along an old rail line. On the east end, the Greenway connects to paths along the Mississippi River. On the west, it connects paths along the Chain of Lakes.
Many of the bikers who use it are often headed to and from work.
“At rush hour, it’s just like the freeways,” said Steve Nimchuk, who rides the path regularly. “Wall to wall people, you see guys in their suits, no handle bars, talking on their cell phones, their tie and everything.”
Other features noted in the article are the bridges along the path, most notably the Martin Sabo suspension bridge at Hiawatha Avenue.
There’s also the fact that even in the winter time, when the ground is covered with snow, the path is accessible.
She added that the trail is open 24/7. It’s mostly lit at night, and there are emergency call boxes along the trail.
“It’s a really fast way to get across town, and you don’t have to stop at traffic lights with the cars, you don’t have to worry about cars being in your way or riding with cars. You know, it’s in the city but away from the city. It’s a beautiful part of nature,” Blair said.
The Midtown Greenway Coalition syas about 1.5 million riders use the path a year.
About half are commuters, who’d rather bike to work than drive and pay for parking downtown. The other half is made up of people using it for recreation, many of which are tourists.
What criteria was used in that ranking of urban bike paths?
The writers at ActiveTimes looked at whether the path allows you to skip traffic while at the same time giving you a view of nature.
Many of the paths they like run along old railroad tracks like the Greenway does, or along a body of water.