Minneapolis muscles its way into the Copenhagenize Index - the first American city to feature since the number of cities ranked increased in 2013. The city has the lowest baseline score of all the cities in the Top 20 but made up for that with bonus points in a number of categories. The city boasts 189 km of what they call "on-street bikeways" and 147 km of off-street. The latter is less interesting for urban cycling but Minneapolis is quickly becoming the go-to city in America for building infrastructure. An impressive - for America - modal share helped push them into the Index and we like the political will coming out of City Hall. A respectable bike share system is helping to cement the bicycle on the transport foundation of the city. Seeds have been planted and a garden is growing. America - often content with baby steps - is in desperate need of leadership cities and Minneapolis has emerged as a contender.
While it's great to see Minneapolis make its inaugural appearance on the Copenhagenize Index, looking around the continent we can see that other cities are coming up fast. New York City, San Francisco, Portland and Washington, DC are bubbling to the top with Top 30 spots while Chicago and Philadelphia have moved into the Top 40. Montreal clings to 20th in 2015, to keep Minneapolis company while other Canadian cities struggle to gear up for a bicycle urbanism future.
We know Minneapolis is proud of their winter and we love that an American winter city is the one who makes the Top 20. Better infrastructure maintenance during the winter is key. Prioritise snow clearance on the bike infrastructure above all else. What will help the city, however, is to stop talking about the winter and to focus on getting a massive rise in ridership during the rest of the year. Minneapolis would do well to increase their commitment to protected infrastructure and to focus on making the continent's best on-street network - and the first city to NOT feature sharrows. It's hard for American cities to think out of the box regarding transport, but somebody has to do it. Why not Minneapolis.