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A 1950 Solution to a 2020 Problem

Last week’s Polco survey taker asked residents to "rate the ease of bicycling in Stillwater.”

Anonymous user on Jun 11:

“We have a congested Main St. when things get busy. It will only get better when trucks are removed and parking is taken off the street, sidewalks are widened, bike lanes are put in, and maybe outdoor seating is allowed to remain. Until then, bicyclists are going to use Main St. and be in danger of being hit by car doors opening, being squeezed by 18-wheel trucks, and not being seen by turning vehicles. We have a 1950 solution to a 2020 problem!”

Anonymous user on Jun 7:

“Where there are bike trails all is very good. But getting to school, downtown, and other shopping areas is very poor.”

Todd Gardner’s comment on Jun 05:

“There is room on the streets for bikes, but drivers are inconsiderate and often aggressive. I have been run off the road 3 times on streets. We should have clearer markings of bike lanes and share-the-road signs.”

Yes, BIKES HAVE ARRIVED. Work is needed now.

Let’s make them happy.

Bicyclists need to know where safe and secure places are to park their bikes, where they fill water bottles and use the restroom, where to find bike repair stations, and what streets have wide shoulders or bike lanes. They need to know what businesses are bike-friendly (how about special discounts for bicyclists). Then put all this on signs and maps. Discover Stillwater might have an interest in this.

Let’s go further by making downtown a bicycle-friendly business district where business owners actively encourage people, including employees, to bike to nearby shops and eateries. Cycle-friendly zones inspire residents to slow their pace of life down, enabling them to discover and support businesses near where they live.

Bikes are good for business — 10 bikes can fit into one car parking space. 10 customers for the price of one.

So, to contribute to our green recovery from the pandemic. Here is what our group at Sustainable Stillwater MN supports:

  • more bike parking

  • more bike-oriented signage including “share the road” signs for other vehicles, guidebooks, and maps

  • safer streets with wide shoulders or bike lane barriers

  • integration of bikes into existing events, including bike repair clinics, community rides, and bike valets

  • discounts for bicyclists

Hundreds of thousands of visitors and Stillwater residents will be on bikes this summer. Let’s give them a 2020 welcome.

W. Gorski is a board member of Sustainable Stillwater MN, a 501c3 nonprofit organization Contact at

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