Polk County Public Health Director Sarah Reese provided a Bike Crookston update to the Park Board this week and mentioned the city’s new “sharrows”, bike plans at the University of Minnesota Crookston, the potential for a bike share program, and the downtown courtyard’s upcoming bike repair station and rack. There was also talk of hosting another community bike ride similar to the event held in 2017.

    Reese went over Bike Crookston’s mission and vision, which was established 10 years ago, and said the structured group invites people to take leadership of things they’re passionate about.

    Bike Crookston’s Mission and Vision & Values, provided to the Times by Reese: “Bike Crookston is a collaborative working group encouraging safe opportunities for active living through biking, walking, running, and social connection. We connect with a diverse group of community partners to promote safety through education, events, and infrastructure improvements. We, Bike Crookston, envision and value: 1. The safety of all bicyclists, pedestrians and other non-motorized vehicle users of our streets, sidewalks and multi-use paths in our city. 2. The promotion of wellness of active living practices that better the health of our citizens. 3. The potential economic benefits to the growth of our city by attracting new citizens who embrace downtown multimodal transportation. 4. The potential contribution that a bike-friendly city could have for tourism. 5. Bikeways, walkways and motorized wheelchair routes that allow citizens to commute for worksites. 6. Ongoing education promoting safety and wellness by partnering with schools, senior centers and other civic groups. 7. Collaboration with civic, county and state organizations that share our vision and values.”

    Currently, Bike Crookston is working on bike racks and parking in the community, and have been noticing more bikes in the industrial areas this summer.

    “People are using bikes to go to and from work,” Reese explained. “We’ve seen a slight pivot for people using bikes for work transportation versus recreational.”

    Reese also touched on the “ever popular” sharrows.

    “Whether you like them, love them, or hate them, they’re there,” she said bluntly. “People understand they’re reminders to share the space when people are outside.”

    “We’ve been very clear that they’re not a dedicated bike lane,” Reese added.

    During the discussion about connecting more with UMN Crookston students, Reese said Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause has chosen a new Bike Crookston representative and they’ll be partnering with the City to work on mapping and an orientation for students to make sure there is access for students to go downtown or in other parts of the community to explore.

    “There’s a renewed interest for a bike loan program at UMC,” Reese answered after Park Board Chair Garrett Borowicz asked if there’s currently a program on campus. “We need to create that culture. There’s some safety things to work through with routes and connectivity, and we want to be aware of the interests.”

    In regards to a community bike share program, Reese mentioned that PCPH has access to a bike share program where approximately 30 bikes are stores in Warren through the Walk! Bike! Fun! curriculum. UMN Crookston’s Michelle Christopherson recently borrowed the bike fleet from Northwest Regional Development Commission in Warren to accommodate visiting faculty from China.