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Sioux Falls Aims for 1% of Trips by Bicycle, Trail Within Half-Mile Everywherre

The Sioux Falls Planning Department is taking comment on the 2023 Bicycle Plan drafted by the Sioux Falls Bicycle Committee. The plan centers on the lofty goal of more than tripling the use of bicycles for transportation in Sioux Falls over the next ten years… which would bring bicycles’ share of modes of transportation around the Queen City to 1.0%.

A key part of turning that meager sliver of Sioux Falls travelers into two-wheelers is expanding the bicycle trail system so that every house, shop, office, factory, park, theater, and other location is within a half-mile of a trail. This map from the draft bicycle plan shows the gaps (in white) where trails are farther away than that goal:

Half-mile buffer map, showing half-mile radius from bike trails (grey) and areas in the city farther than a half-mile from trails (white), from draft 2023 Bicycle Plan, City of Sioux Falls, retrieved 2023.05.18.
Half-mile buffer map, showing half-mile radius from bike trails (grey) and areas in the city farther than a half-mile from trails (white), from draft 2023 Bicycle Plan, City of Sioux Falls, retrieved 2023.05.18.

Most of the gaps are at the growing edges of the city. The trail priorities identified in the plan focus on connecting those edge-growth areas and do not address notable gaps in older, more central residential areas east of Kuehn Park, between Kiwanis and Laura Wilder Elementary, southeast of the Augustana campus, and near the tracks in Whittier east of Cliff:

Sioux Falls trail priorities, draft 2023 Sioux Falls Bicycle Plan, retrieved 2023.05.18.
Sioux Falls trail priorities, draft 2023 Bicycle Plan, retrieved 2023.05.18.

Some of my favorite proposed trails on this map are those light green “Need to Study” wiggly creekside trails south and east of town. When I come visit with my two wheels, I’d love to be able to ride off road to Good Earth State Park. Giving people more safe paths to enjoy the outdoors is essential for a healthy, riding community. But so is slowing down and marking off some more of those residential streets to make sure riders young and old can get to school, work, and Hy-Vee and home again safely every day under their own power.

Keep drawing those lines, laying gravel and asphalt and paint, and let’s push that bicycle share right past 1% to 10%!

4 Comments

  1. Mark Anderson 2023-05-18

    You know Cory, I didn’t ride a bike before we moved from Sioux Falls to Highmore. I was going to but my friend Tony White loaned his bike to a different friend who got killed crossing Minnesota by the Y. Tony got his bike back just a tangled mess of steel. Kind of turned me off, and we lived close to downtown anyways.

  2. chris 2023-05-18

    Riding a bike around in Sioux Falls is risking your own life now. This plan is way too little, much too late.

  3. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-18

    I always ride my bike in side walks in commercial zones. By road in residential zones. Pass all the laws you want. But I will always ride in side walks maintaining my safety. When that is done, Sioux Falls I’d a very safe place to ride bikes..

  4. John 2023-05-18

    US, and SD’s, urban transportation planning is a one-vehicle joke. There is little planning for connected communities, for pedestrian ways, for bicycling.
    The result is a hodge-podge of papered over sidewalks (if there are any sidewalks), and bike paths.

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