Last week, the League of American Bicyclists, a national organization based in Washington, D.C., named the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s St. Paul office as one of its bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Businesses for 2017; the agency’s Duluth and Rochester offices received honorable mentions. The agency went through a voluntary application process for the awards. In evaluating businesses, the league looks for several elements:
- Programs that encourage bike riding: Incentives, organized staff rides or bike clubs, and a Guaranteed Ride Home program
- Biking infrastructure: Bike parking, shared bikes, showers/locker rooms, and repair areas
- Bike education: Safety skills information, maps, and related trainings
- Pursuit of ridership goals: Increasing ridership and participation, bike coordinator positions, and surveys
The award statuses are good for four years.
The MPCA offers its bike commuters access to locker rooms and showers, dedicated bike parking (including locked bike lockers), a bike buddy program, and information for bikers on its internal web system. The agency offers free parking to bike commuters who occasionally need to drive, arranges group rides and other bike-themed activities, and participates in transit fairs and activities with local bike organizations and other state agencies.
MPCA staffer Jennifer Jevnisek bikes to the St. Paul office most days. She appreciates that agency leaders encourage bike commuting. “Management has provided support to deliberately increase our alternative transportation initiatives,” she notes.
John Thomas regularly bikes to work at the MPCA’s Duluth office, which, he says, “is set up to conveniently accommodate bike commuters – we have a street-level garage storage room that is secure with bike racks and have a shower room.” The office is adjacent to the Lakewalk, which runs along Lake Superior and the Duluth harbor for several miles in each direction and maintained for year-round riding.
The League of American Bicyclists ranks Minnesota as the second most bicycle friendly state (after Washington), with 18 communities, 84 businesses, and 4 universities rated as bicycle friendly. The Minnesota Department of Transportation central office in St. Paul received the league’s gold-level award last week, and its Detroit Lakes office won the silver-level award. Find all the league’s bicycle friendly organizations on the organization’s website.