The Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) is planning to build a bike hub in its new $26 million multimodal bus station. The hub, which is proposed to be completed by November 2014, could offer bicyclists a convenient place to rest after long rides.
“It’s got the potential to be a game changer,” said James Gittemeier, senior planner for the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council.
According to Gittemeier, who worked with the DTA in the planning process, the new hub is planned to be outfitted with a plethora of concessions to make cyclists’ lives a whole lot easier. The facility is expected to be equipped with storage racks, a maintenance facility to tend to any utilities, and a restroom area with showers. If all goes as planned, cyclists should be able to return home from their trips refreshed and odor-free.
The basement of the station is also expected to offer a range of retail stores, including a Wells Fargo bank.
What's more, the DTA is planning to rebuild the Northwest Passage, a skywalk that connects downtown to the DECC. Gittemeier said that the new passage could be built with a bike path to provide cyclists with a view of the city.
The city of Duluth has a bike-friendly atmosphere, but an installment like this is missing.
“The current hub isn’t convenient,” said Bryan French, UMD’s Bike-to-Campus coordinator.
The new station, French explained, will be much more convenient and easily accessible.
The DTA plans to move its bus station on Superior Street to a new off-street location downtown. If all goes as planned, this will reduce the safety hazards involved with riders crossing the street to get to the station and will decongest the sidewalk area at the bus stop.
“Nothing is set in stone yet,” Gittemeier said. “But, the future of the project is looking promising.”
Various community groups have worked with the DTA to make the new station as multi-faceted as possible. The new bike hub is the result of local cycling enthusiasts and shop owners voicing their ideas to the DTA’s board of stakeholders.
“It’s cool that [the DTA] is recognizing us,” said Brian Downing, co-chair of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group’s (UMD branch). “I think this will set an example for the rest of Duluth. Maybe we’ll even get a bike hub at UMD.”