Mobile App Now Includes Rochester Bike Paths

Created: 07/21/2014 7:23 PM
By: Hannah Tran

(ABC 6 News) -- The paint that marks the boundaries of a bike lane on 2nd Street Southwest looks relatively fresh.

"In Rochester, we have over a hundred miles of bike trails, or maybe about 30 miles of bicycle lanes, that number is going up pretty fast," said Rochester City Councilman Mike Wojcik.

It's one of many new bike routes in town. It's clearly established, at least for those pedaling around town, so why isn't there a bike route app to get around? After all, all designated roads for vehicles have their own apps for navigation.

However, there is one, it's called Cyclopath for Android phones. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is making more and more accommodations for bikers in recent times. 

"This is a great app for that, to figure out what route to take, rather than get there and spend some time trying to figure out or talking to locals," said Mike Dougherty from Rochester's mnDOT office.

At first, the app only detected bike routes in the Twin Cities, but mnDOT just put Rochester's own trails into the system. Bicyclists planning routes in Minnesota can use it to share experiences with others and point out different trails with different types of terrain. They can also rate trails and suggest them to others.

"As the bicycle network expands, we hope to see good information from the people who use it," said Tim Mitchell in a press release. Mitchell is a state bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. "We encourage bicyclists to add trails and edit roads to show bike lanes and facilities in Greater Minnesota."

Over at Olmsted County's Public Health office, Kelly Corbin is busy building a master plan to make Rochester more bike friendly than the Twin Cities. She is the Coordinator of local group "We Bike Rochester."  They provide a little booklet for all the bike paths in Rochester.

"But this isn't appropriate for everyone, it's really large to pull out of your back pocket when you're biking, so having an app that you can quickly look up on your phone might be more user-friendly to some people," said Corbin.

Finally, bicyclists can add and edit their local area's own trails for others to use. It's like they're painting their own paths with the prod of a fingertip.