|Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012|
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area has received over $1 million from the Federal Transit Administration and NPS Category III funds to implement a partnership, multi-modal, alternative transportation project that builds on existing public transit, Nice Ride Minnesotra’s bike share program, and existing river access. Over $843,000 came directly from the Federal Transit Administration, as announced by Administrator Peter Rogoff.
“We are extremely pleased to receive this funding” said Superintendent Paul Labovitz. “It will help us develop a seamless, alternative transportation system that improves the park visitor experience by reducing congestion and pollution. It will also help minimize impacts to park resources.”
The project builds upon an extensive network of transportation facilities in the Twin Cities. It will enable park visitors and area residents to travel throughout the park without a car.
This project is a terrific example of how the park is fulfilling Director Jarvis’ "Call to Action" and the "America’s Great Outdoors" initiatives. The park is proud to be able to advance the mission of the National Park Service in such a profound way by connecting the two great urban communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to the parks, trails, and community green spaces along the Mississippi River.
“The bike share stations are the centerpiece of the project”, said Project Manager Susan Overson. “We are working with Nice Ride Minnesota to install the stations, improve awareness for NPS, while connecting park visitors with park destinations and river access. Our long-term goal is to develop a seamless, park-wide system that enables park visitors to commute via bike or transit, have a combination bike/paddle experience, or enjoy access to the river without a car”.
The park project is part of Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood’s announcement of the $40.8 million awarded to federal agencies through the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks (TRIP) program. It includes 19 Nice Ride Minnesota bike share stations, 50 ADA bus pads and sidewalk connections; new signage and marketing efforts for the park's evolving alternative transportation system, and pedestrian connections to a 72-mile segment of the Mississippi River Trail. That trail begins at the Mississippi’s headwaters in northern Minnesota and passes through 14 national parks and wildlife refuges, including Mississippi NR&RA, on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.
The project also bodes well for Minneapolis’ non-motorized transportation pilot program, administered by Bike/Walk Twin Cities. In 2006, Minneapolis was one of four localities awarded federal funds to complete a seamless non-motorized network that connects trails, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and mass transit in the area.
The park's alternative transportation system will compliment these efforts and increase bike-ability and non-motorized connections to the river. It’s a win-win partnership opportunity.
Congratulations to all the projects awarded funding through the Paul S. Sarbanes TRIP Program. See http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/TransitInParks2011POST.pdf for a complete list of projects.