Last week, I posted about the political difficulties with Northfield’s TIGER grant funded project, but the TIGER trail is the only latest and largest project to improve biking and walking. It’s worth celebrating the smaller steps toward a more walkable, bikeable city Northfield has been taking for more than decade.
To be sure, Northfield starts with some distinct advantages:
- Size: 20,000 people and a compact core means shorter distances, many well-connected streets with sidewalks, and lower traffic volumes to make walking and cycling a pleasant experience. While the city spread out with the housing boom, its 8 square mile footprint is still small enough to make walking and bicycle travel very practical for many trips.
- Colleges: Carleton and St. Olaf students are more likely to walk and bicycle around town.
- Northfield’s downtown is thriving. Having a clear central destination with the library, grocery stores (and other day to day retail and services), restaurants, residents, and 800 workers helps shape the city and its transportation options. Makes it great to visit, too – especially lovely in the Fall.