Chris Meyer

1. Do you navigate Minneapolis by bicycle, walking, or in a wheelchair? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? How do you understand the experiences of residents who don't have the option to drive, particularly children, seniors, and people with a disability?

I have never driven a car in my life, and never plan to get a license. I moved to Minneapolis (from South Dakota) specifically so I wouldn't need to. I ride my bike every single day, all throughout the year, for commuting, errands, and recreation. I also walk and ride the bus frequently. As someone who chooses not to drive, I am acutely familiar with the challenges for those who do not have the option. I frequently write about dangerous and/or inaccessible locations, and bring them up to city staff and elected officials. 

2. Describe any past work or accomplishments that you have been involved with around the areas of bicycling or walking issues in your community.

I unfailingly advocate in favor of bike lane proposals at every opportunity. Examples include Washington, Hennepin, Minnehaha, 26th & 28th, Bloomington, etc. I've been most heavily involved in getting the new bike lane on 8th St SE. That was actually the first issue that got me involved in neighborhood affairs back in 2011. While in student government at UMN I authored a resolution that passed overwhelmingly in favor of getting a bike lane there, and after 6 years of advocacy it was finally installed this last month!

I've also been a major advocate for other actions to make our city less car-dependent. For example I was a major advocate for the parking reforms that passed in 2015. I spent $400 of my own money to buy a copy of "The High Cost of Free Parking" for each of the 13 council members. I'm a major advocate for public transit funding, climate action, reduced speed limits, road diets, etc. While on the boards of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association and the University District Alliance, I worked hard on numerous bike/ped friendly initiatives.

3. What is your view on people using the trails within the park system for commuting to work, taking children to school, running errands, etc - as opposed to using the park system for exclusively recreational purposes?

I want everyone possible to bike/walk instead of drive! If you talk to anyone who knows me well, they will tell you that I evangelize constantly about this. It's one of the biggest things people can do to improve their health, wealth, and the environment.

One of my absolute top priorities on the Park Board will be to get more kids riding bikes. I want the Park Board to fund programming that teaches kids how to use and repair bicycles, to get them in the habit of cycling early on. We can collaborate with the School Board, the Safe Routes to School program, NiceRide, Spokes, and of course Our Streets to make sure that every single child has access to a bike and learns how to use them! 

4. What strategies, if any, will you advance to promote racial equity in Park Board programming?

I strongly support increased funding and staffing for historically underinvested neighborhoods. I also want to make sure our programs are accessible to everyone, regardless of income level. One of the steps we can take toward that is to make fee waivers automatic for anyone who qualifies for need-based assistance (free school lunch, EBT, etc.) instead of needing to go through the application process for it. We also need to restore funding for youth programs to what they used to be (they've been cut substantially in the last decade) and expand wrap-around services for children before and after school.

It is also very important to me to increase the number of people of color who work for the Park Board. Currently POC comprise a little over 20% of the Park Board staff, while comprising more than 40% of the city population.

5. Currently, the Park Board maintains only some trails and sidewalks in the winter time for walking and biking. What changes, if any, would you like to see to winter maintenance of sidewalks and trails in parks?

This is actually one of the main reasons I ran for this office. While the regional parks are well shoveled during the winter, the neighborhood parks frequently are not. At this latitude, I consider it to be a literal survival issue to be able to get exercise and sunlight during the winter, and well-shoveled sidewalks are absolutely critical for that, especially for seniors and people with disabilities. It is also very helpful for getting people to bike or walk throughout the winter (sometimes enabling them to go car-free completely). I am thoroughly committed to improved shoveling in our parks! 

6. Park Board trails have a 10 mile-per-hour speed limit for people biking. The Board discussed potentially eliminating the speed limit in 2015, but decided against a change. What is your position on the bicycle speed limit on Park Board trails?

I support raising the bicycle speed limit. I think this relates to question 3. The 10 mile limit seems rooted in the notion that the primary function of the bike lanes is for recreation. If we want to encourage people to bike commute to work, we should enable people to bike at higher speeds to make that option competitive. I do still support a speed limit at some level (especially with electric-powered bicycles in mind), but ten miles/hour is too low. 

7. What do you hope to accomplish to make Minneapolis parks and trails better for bicycling and walking by the end of your term, if you are elected?

In addition to the responses above where I outline my objectives of increasing snow shoveling and massively expanding bicycle education programming for kids, I will do everything possible to maintain and expand our bicycle and sidewalk networks. There are many sidewalks and bike lanes in serious disrepair, such as the one along the Francis Gross Golf Course; I will work to repair them as soon as we possibly can. It is also an especially high priority of mine to fully connect bike and pedestrian facilities along the riverfront in the North and East Minneapolis. 

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