Local View: Duluth can follow bikeways plan for active transportation

Source: Duluth News Tribune 11-25-18 Local View: Duluth can follow bikeways plan for active trans…

By Ruurd Schoolderman on Nov 25, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

Duluth has been making great progress as an active outdoor-recreation community. We are well on our way toward achieving the goal of having every citizen within a mile of an access point to Duluth’s trail system. The Duluth Traverse mountain biking trail and Superior Hiking Trail string together Duluth’s many neighborhood parks. Amenities like these make Duluth an attractive city to live in and to visit and are part of the city’s overall economic-development strategy.

This great investment to improve access to our green space by bike and on foot stands in contrast with the limited bike infrastructure that currently exists to safely navigate our neighborhoods and city for day-to-day active transportation. This is a missed opportunity.

The Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Bikeways Plan presents a vision to change this. The plan was prepared by the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council, or MIC, a regional transportation-planning agency. The plan serves as a coordinating framework for the road authorities (city, county, and state) responsible for our road system.

The Duluth Bike Coalition, a chapter of the statewide bike advocacy group BikeMN, advocates for improvements to Duluth’s bike infrastructure. Our mission is to work to make biking for everyday transportation easy, safe, and fun for everyone.

Our current bike-transportation infrastructure for everyday transportation to work, school, and businesses does not serve users of all ages and abilities. As a result, a large portion of Duluth’s citizens which does not have access to a car or prefers not to drive is limited in transportation options. Think about low-income families, teenagers, and the many Duluthians who prefer to ride a bike as part of an active-transportation lifestyle.

Duluth Bikes supports the vision presented in the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Bikeways Plan. We ask that the roadway authorities, especially the city of Duluth’s, make a concerted commitment toward implementing this vision. We hope the city of Duluth will use this plan to proactively work to develop access to bike infrastructure for all ages and experience levels.

Two open houses organized by the MIC are scheduled so the public may comment on the bike plan. They are a great opportunity for Duluth citizens to show their support for active transportation and to provide input on how they would like to see Duluth’s bike infrastructure improved.

Ruurd Schoolderman is chairman of the Duluth Bike Coalition (duluthbikes.org), a chapter of the statewide bike advocacy group BikeMN (bikemn.org).

Get involved

Two open houses are scheduled for the public to review and to provide feedback on the draft Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Bikeways Plan. The open houses are both Wednesday — one from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the other from 4-7 p.m. — at the Duluth Folk School, 1917 W. Superior St.

To read the bike plan, go to dsmic.org/study/dsbikeways.

Long Range Plan Phase 2 Survey Now Open

We are building off responses from our Phase 1 Survey to dig deeper: What are your transportation-related priorities? What tradeoffs would you accept?  Your input is essential to better target our limited financial resources toward meeting our transportation needs, now and in the future.

Take the survey - click to begin

Even if you didn’t participate in the Phase 1 survey, you can still take the Phase 2 survey!. It’s interesting, interactive and will take 5 minutes or less. It’s open through December 31.

Draft 2019-2022 Duluth-Area Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Now Open for Comment

Comments are being taken on Duluth-Area projects proposed for the next four years.

Federally-funded transportation projects can be big, expensive, and time-sensitive — which means they need to be planned in advance.  Projects have been approved in previous years for 2018-2020, and we’re working now to line up funding for Duluth-area projects in 2022.

We are taking comments on the Draft 2019-2022 Duluth Area Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) through August 30.  The new projects for 2022, as approved by the MIC Policy Board and the Northeast MN Area Transportation Partnership, include:

MIC-Area Project Submittals (FHWA Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds)

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Three projects will be coordinated between two jurisdictions (St. Louis County and the City of Duluth) to achieve cost savings and reduce construction impacts:

Project: Snively Road – Roadway and Intersection Improvements
Description: Mill and overlay of Snively Rd. between Woodland Ave. and Glenwood St. and construction of a roundabout at Snively Rd./Glenwood St. Intersection
Jurisdiction: St. Louis County and City of Duluth (joint project)
Project Cost: $1,800,000 ($1,290,000 federal, $510,000 state)

Project: Woodland Ave – Roadway and Intersection Improvements
Description: Mill and overlay of Woodland Ave. between Arrowhead Rd. and Anoka St. and replacement signals at the intersections of Woodland Ave./Snively Rd. and Woodland Ave./Arrowhead Rd.
Jurisdiction: St. Louis County and City of Duluth (joint project)
Project Cost: $1,500,000 ($800,000 federal, $606,250 state, $93,750 local)

Project: Arrowhead Rd Preservation
Description: Mill and overlay of Arrowhead Rd. between Woodland Ave. and Dodge St.; ADA upgrades & spot repair to curb, gutter, and sidewalks.
Jurisdiction: City of Duluth
Project Cost: $ 737,500 ($ 590,000 federal, $ 147,500 state)

Total FHWA Funds: $2,680,000 / Total Cost: $3,581,250

MnDOT Project Submittals (FHWA Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds)

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Project: Thompson Hill Reconstruction
Description: Reconstruction of north and south bound lanes on I-35 from the bridge over DMIR Railway to the north end of bridge 69879 over Trunk Highway 23
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $13,000,000 ($11,700,000 federal, $1,300,000 state)


View project location

Project: Trunk Hwy 194 Mill & Overlay
Description: Medium mill and overlay of TH 194 from the intersection of TH 2 to the west junction of TH 53
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $4,543,099 ($3,634,479 federal, $ 908,620 state funds)

Total FHWA Funds: $15,334,479 / Total Cost: $17,543,099

Duluth Transit Authority Project Submittals (FTA Section 5307 transit funds)

Project: Duluth Operating Assistance – Regular Route
Project Cost: $21,000,000 

Project: STRIDE Operations
Project Cost: $1,450,000 

Project: Operating and Preventive Maintenance
Project Cost: $1,000,000 

Project: Bus Support Equipment/Facility Rehabilitation
Project Cost: $ 150,000 

Project: Technology Updates
Project Cost: $ 100,000 

Project: Bus Stop/Stations/Terminal Updates
Project Cost: $  75,000 

Total FTA Funds / Total Cost: $23,775,000

We want to know what you think!

Give us a call: Talk to Planner Chris Belden at (218) 529-7502

OR –

Attend a Drop-In Open House:

WhenDAY, DATE from 10:00 am to noon or DAY, DATE from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

WhereARDC/MIC office in downtown Duluth at 221 West First Street (skywalk level)