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Mayors Coleman, Rybak take a Nice Ride across their cities
Mayors celebrate Nice Ride expansion, completion of Central Corridor pavement construction on eastbound side of University Ave.

Mayors Chris Coleman and R.T. Rybak enjoyed a bike ride today from Minneapolis to Saint Paul celebrating the expansion of Nice Ride bike stations into Saint Paul and the addition of stations in Minneapolis. The trip ended on University Avenue in Saint Paul, where Central Corridor pavement construction will soon finish on the eastbound lane and flip to the westbound lane.

“The expansion of Nice Ride into Saint Paul isn’t just a new opportunity to connect our two cities, but provides and promotes a convenient way to get to the businesses along Central Corridor,” Mayor Coleman said. “The partnerships with Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Transit for Livable Communities made this expansion possible.”
 
“I am thrilled to see the Nice Ride program continue to grow,” Mayor Rybak said. “The expansion plan is a great testament to how much the program has exceeded everyone’s expectations. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul region’s thriving bike community and creative transit solutions are what makes this region known as one of America’s greatest bike communities.”

The mayors were joined by Dr. Marc Manley, vice president and chief prevention officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Gregory Pratt, board member of Transit for Livable Communities, and members of the Nice Ride community who took a leisurely ride alongside the mayors. Their trip went from the Seward Co-op in Minneapolis and across the Franklin Avenue Bridge, ending in front of the Dunn Bros. on University Avenue where Central Corridor Construction is reaching a turning point.

After nearly four months of construction, the eastbound lane along University Avenue from Emerald Street to Hampden Avenue is paved and will soon be ready for traffic. Construction will flip in the first half of July to the westbound lane. During construction, biking is a great way to get to Central Corridor businesses.

And Nice Ride is helping residents do just that.

Nice Ride is adding 43 new bike share stations, a total of 500 bikes, this summer. This current expansion will bring Nice Ride to a total of 116 stations with a fleet of 1,200 bikes in Minnesota.  Nice Ride stations will be placed as far east as Dale Street in Saint Paul.

The bike share program has already helped boost the recognition of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region as the best biking area in America.

The 2011 Nice Ride expansion is funded by Transit for Livable Communities, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, and the Macalester College High Winds Fund.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is a title sponsor for Nice Ride and was represented today by Dr. Marc Manley. 

"Blue Cross is very excited to help expand Nice Ride into St. Paul, because more bikes in a larger service area means more people can participate and reap the health benefits from biking,” Dr. Manley said.

"We're excited to see the multimodal aspects of this Nice Ride expansion and the opportunity it brings for people to make bicycling, walking, and transit connections," said Gregory Pratt, board member of Transit for Livable Communities, which has funded Nice Ride and other bike/walk projects through the federal  non-motorized transportation pilot program.

Nice Ride installations will continue through July.

For more information on Nice Ride in Saint Paul, go to www.stpaul.gov/niceride
For a map of the Nice Ride expansion, go to www.niceridemn.org

Transit for Livable Communities, a Minnesota nonprofit organization,  was designated by Congress to administer the Twin Cities-area location of the federal non-motorized transportation pilot program authorized by the last large transportation law, SAFETEA-LU. Bike Walk Twin Cities was created to run the local pilot program and has funded, in addition to Nice Ride bike sharing, more than 75 miles of new bike ways and sidewalks, and other programs including the Bike Walk Ambassadors and the Sibley Bike Depot Community Partners Bike Library. For more information on BWTC, visit: http://www.bikewalktwincities.org

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.7 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to bluecrossmn.com to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. Each Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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