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More amenities racking up for bike commuters

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Bicyclists who commute to work in downtown Minneapolis and St Paul need more spots to park their cycles, both indoors and with additional outdoor racks.

Finance & Commerce reports plans are in the works to provide more secure parking to meet the demand.The story said initial plans are underway to create a 24-hour bike center in downtown Minneapolis that will offer lockers, showers, and a bike repair and retail facility. A bike center being developed at St. Paul's Union Depot will include similar amenities.

Earlier this year, MinnPost quoted a city report that found the number of bike commuters in Minneapolis has more than doubled, from around 3,000 in 1993, to 7,000 in 2010.

In response, Target Corp., Ameriprise Financial and the Campbell Mithun Tower in Minneapolis offer employees indoor bike parking. Metro Transit has 280 bike lockers at light rail and bus stops. The B ramp in downtown Minneapolis, Freewheel Bike on the Midtown Greenway and the University of Minnesota operate bike centers with indoor racks and showers. In St. Paul, the Smart Trips transit advocacy group lists four buildings with racks and showers.

New buildings going up in both cities must now include bike parking as part of the site approval. The Star Tribune noted that an apartment building under construction on the site of the former Totino's building in the northeast quadrant of the city will appeal to tenants who don’t rely on cars and will include parking for more than 100 bikes and an on-site bike maintenance facility.

Bike commuting drops dramatically in the cold months. but last winter, KSTP quoted the organization Bike Walk Twin Cities, which estimated that 20 percent of cyclists commuted year-round, even on the most punishing days. Freewheel Bike in Minneapolis told the station that it experienced a 20 percent increase in sales of products to aid winter biking.

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