October 23, 2019
As Next City reported, Minneapolis, Minnesota, consistently ranks in the top 10 for best biking cities nationwide, but the state isn’t content to stop there — a statewide effort is making communities across the North Star State more bikeable.
The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, otherwise known as BikeMN, teamed up with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Department of Health since 2012 to offer Bikeable Community Workshops across the state since 2012. With a focus on the public health benefits of biking, the goal is working through policy systems and changing local environments to make long-term impacts in communities around the state.
“We look for communities that are at the point where they’ve done a bit of work and have a few people who are excited but who haven’t really had the momentum to get totally off the ground yet,” says Kate Matusinec, of BikeMN.
Since the program’s inception, 28 communities have achieved the designation of Bicycle Friendly Community.
Matusinec discusses the history of the workshop program, touching on the partnerships they’ve struck in the process, as the collaboration required to turn ideas into bikeable action on the ground. She’ll discuss the process BikeMN works through in each community they visit, focusing in on the community bike ride that kicks them off, and touching on what cities across the state have done after their workshops concluded. Matusinec will cover how she ensures that equity is a part of everything they do and how, in general, communities big and small can become more bike friendly.
Kate Matusinec is a Program Assistant at BikeMN, a nonprofit that was launched in 2008, swelling to 1,000 members in its first 18 months of operation. The organization advocates for bike-friendly laws and policies, educated drivers and cyclists alike, encourages biking through events and promotions, and provides technical assistance to businesses and communities that want to become more bike friendly.