Biking in St. Paul: Facilities & Bicycle-Related Amenities Explained

Posted by Kris Lindahl on Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 at 9:06am.

Believe it or not, St. Paul is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, even despite Minnesota’s cold, harsh winters that make riding just a little more challenging from roughly November to March. But over the years, the city of St. Paul has invested heavily in bicycle infrastructure, which includes everything from building and maintaining a huge network of off-street bicycle pathways and trails to adding more and more bike lanes throughout the city that help ensure riding a bike in town is safer and more efficient. 

If you’re new to the St. Paul area or are perhaps thinking about buying a home in St. Paul sometime in the near future, you’re probably still somewhat unfamiliar with all the bicycle amenities the city has to offer. But as you’ll quickly notice, when it comes to riding a bike in St. Paul, there’s certainly no shortage of options of where to ride and how to get there. 

  • 5 Designated Bike Paths in St. Paul

When you look at all the existing bike pathways in the city, St. Paul essentially offers five designated ways to ride: off-street paths, bike lanes, bike boulevards, striped shoulders, and enhanced shared lanes. 

For the most part, off-street pathways and bike lanes are fairly self-explanatory and common in cities all over the U.S. Most of St. Paul’s off-street pathways run alongside the riverfront or through the countless regional parks that help dot St. Paul’s awesome landscape, while bike lanes are just a designated lane on many of St. Paul’s existing roadways that are specifically for bicycle riders only. 

Each of the other three designated bicycle pathways in St. Paul are a little more uncommon, unless of course you’re lucky enough to call either of the Twin Cities home. Bike boulevards are defined as lower-volume, lower-speed streets (usually residential) that have been marked and optimized for bike traffic. Labeled a much safer alternative for bikers who aren’t comfortable riding down busier streets in town, bike boulevards are becoming more and more common throughout much of the city. 

Striped shoulders are also slightly more optimized for bike use, although the primary difference between a bike land and a striped shoulder is that striped shoulders may not meet all the design criteria of a designated bike lane in St. Paul. And finally, like striped shoulders, enhanced shared lanes don’t meet the criteria of an official bike lane, mainly because it’s a shared lane that’s marked by signage or lane marking letting motorists know of bicyclist presence. 

  • A Comprehensive New Bike Plan For St. Paul 

And if St. Paul’s extensive network of bike trails, pathways, and share lanes isn’t enough, the city also released a comprehensive new bike plan to further enhance biking in the city, which covers everything from why accommodating bicyclists is important to what other improvements can and will be made to make biking even more common throughout the entire St. Paul area.

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