by: Stephanie Weir, St. Paul Smart Trips
May 6, 2014
Fourth Street in downtown St. Paul has a bright future ahead with the opening of the Green Line in June, but we want to make that future even brighter by creating connections – between stations, between modes of transportation, and between transportation and commerce.
Twin Cities Bike Week is May 4-11 and the festivities are bigger and better than ever this year. St. Paul’s Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 8th will feature the Future of Fourth event, which will open 4th Street in downtown St. Paul as a place for people, not just cars. The street will be open for bike and pedestrian traffic only from Minnesota Street to Wacouta Street.
This “greenway for a day” will demonstrate protected bike lanes. The event will also showcase the development potential of the street through pop-up shops and placemaking activities, turning Fourth Street into a place people want to be – all leading up to the 20th annual Great River Gathering that evening at the Union Depot.
Experience Fourth Street as you never have before with:
- Protected on-street bike lanes
- Pop-up shops
- Arts activities
- Shop at the Farmers' Market
- Food Trucks
- Free rides on Nice Ride
- Outdoor work spaces with Coco
- Most importantly, fun!
Why Fourth Street?
St. Paul recently released a draft citywide Saint Paul Bikeways Plan to guide the development of bicycle infrastructure that encourages and supports bicycle transportation. The plan includes a bold strategy for downtown St. Paul that includes a 3.6 mile Loop and Spur Network of off-street, stylized trails that benefit both bicyclists and pedestrians. The Loop promotes tourism, encourages placemaking, and supports economic development.
Though the Bikeways Plan doesn’t currently include 4th Street in the Loop and Spur Network, there is interest from building owners, managers, and businesses along the street to permanently remove vehicle travel lanes. The strategy is simple: improved bicycle and pedestrian options create a more vibrant street life, which is key to supporting economic development. A 4th Street connection to Lowertown would capitalize on recent public investments, such as the newly revitalized Union Depot, the Green Line, and the Saints Stadium.
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the inspiration for the Loop, has sparked hundreds of millions of dollars in new development. It has also become a source of local pride as an attraction, garnering national attention. Because of the trail, Indianapolis was named one of the top 52 places to visit in 2014 by the New York Times. Though the St. Paul loop will require significant investment, the approach will attract unique sources of funding and realize a large return on investment. The Loop is an opportunity for the city to create a regional attraction unique to Saint Paul.
Future of Fourth Street Partners
St. Paul Smart Trips is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that improves access and mobility for those who travel in and around Saint Paul. St. Paul Women on Bikes envisions that St. Paul will be a place where bicycling is a safe, easy transportation and recreation option for individuals and families.
The Future of Fourth is hosted in conjunction with the annual Great River Gathering and St. Paul Riverfront Corporation's 3rd Annual Placemaking Residency with Gil Penalosa and is produced by St. Paul Smart Trips, The Musicant Group, and Greater St. Paul BOMA. The event is sponsored by Pak Properties.
Funding for St. Paul Women on Bikes, a program of St. Paul Smart Trips is provided by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, as part of Blue Cross’ long-term commitment to tackling the leading causes of preventable disease: tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating.