Erica Mauter

1. Do you navigate Minneapolis by bicycle, walking, or in a wheelchair? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? Please indicate how you commute to work.

We walk our two dogs daily, so we cover the neighborhood on foot on quite a bit. We often combine these walks with errands at Washburn Library and/or Kowalski's. We frequently walk to the small stores, restaurants, and farmers market in our area. I primarily work from home so I don't have a regular commute. My job requires at least two evening events per week; I usually drive to those, as I'm often transporting supplies with me. I'm a runner, so I’ve covered a lot of ground on foot for training purposes, including more trails, 3-4 times per week. I have Lynx season tickets; I often ride the bus downtown to Target Center on game days. I have a moped scooter and I ride that a lot. When it's warm enough, I put more miles on the scooter than on my car.

2. Have you ever been transit-dependent or car-free? 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’ve not been car-free since college. I talk to my neighbors about their experiences; I have neighbors who have kids, neighbors who are seniors, and a neighbor with a dedicated handicapped parking spot in front of their house. I read neighborhood community forums. I read streets.mn. Some of the program participants I work with are differently-abled in ways that impact how they experience our programs and how they get to and from our activities, often involving public transit in some form. Their experiences inform the accessibility measures we take with our programs; I learn quite a bit from them. My in-laws are elderly; they often visit our home or other places in Minneapolis with us; I learn from their experiences. I’m also open to working with advocacy organizations that are experts on design principles, disability community advocates, or otherwise affected populations who might not often be heard from.

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

No response.

4. Last year, the City adopted a Complete Streets policy to make streets safer for everyone. The policy states: “Minneapolis is committed to rebalancing its transportation network by clearly prioritizing walking, taking transit, and biking over driving motorized vehicles, in a manner that provides for acceptable levels of service for all modes." Will you support the Complete Streets policy? Please share how you prioritize walking, transit, bicycling, driving, and parking in your decisions.

I will absolutely support the Complete Streets policy. Minneapolis must be affordable and accessible for all its residents. Prioritizing people over cars makes our public and shared spaces accessible to as many people as possible, and creates and maintains both healthy residents and healthy, vibrant communities. Every point in the city should be accessible without a car. It’s of the utmost importance to me that residents are involved in improvements in their own neighborhoods. In Ward 11, there are a lot of small commercial nodes in neighborhood interiors. These need to serve people who live there and accommodate people who visit. I’m confident that Ward 11 residents, experts, and advocates can contribute to development conversations that prioritize people over cars and inform appropriate paths forward. I commit to facilitating and encouraging such engagement.

5. The 2017 Minneapolis capital budget includes $6.1 million for specific walking and biking infrastructure, which is 9 percent of the total capital streets-related funding. 2010 Metropolitan Council surveys estimated that 15.9 percent of all trips in Minneapolis were done by walking and 5.1 percent by bicycle. Would you support spending more, the same amount, or less on building and maintaining bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?

I would support spending more, particularly on pedestrian infrastructure, including sidewalk maintenance and ADA compliance improvements at intersections. As we commit to investing more in street maintenance, and since bike and pedestrian improvements are often planned to coincide with street projects, we need to keep up with the pace of projects or else we'll lose cost-efficient opportunities to make bike and pedestrian improvements. As a member of the Capital Long-Range Improvements Committee, this is one particular issue that I will bring forward in this year’s CLIC process.

6. In 2015, the City adopted a protected bikeway plan that identifies 48 miles of protected bikeways to be prioritized for implementation. (Protected bikeways are a bicycle route where there is a physical barrier of some kind between bikes and cars, and have been shown to be safer and more comfortable than unprotected bike lanes.) Do you support implementing the protected bikeway plan even if it could mean losing parking or traffic lanes for cars in some corridors?

I do support implementing the protected bikeway plan. More casual or more tentative bikers (and I would categorize myself as such) are far more likely to use a protected bikeway than to ride with traffic, and we've already acknowledged and agreed to this premise in the adoption of the protected bikeway plan. Also acknowledging that there's likely to be some push back from residents worried about parking, I'd say any such implementation should include public engagement, and I as a CM would prioritize conducting such a process with residents, both for education and for feedback.

7. In 2016, we published a report that looked at those stopped by police while riding a bike, and why. We found that it was very likely that police were profiling young black men, and were sometimes using minor infractions such as riding without lights or riding on a sidewalk in a business district as a pretense for a stop. Starting in 2014, Minneapolis police significantly reduced traffic enforcement of all kinds. Traffic violations continue to play a significant role in many biking and walking crashes in Minneapolis. With these factors in mind, how would you, or would you not, change how police enforce traffic laws in Minneapolis?

First, the best way to reduce crashes is to make biking and walking safer by prioritizing people over cars in our street design. Second, it's clear that we need culture change within the Minneapolis Police Department, and I support and would continue to fund initiatives to drive that long-term change. Police should prioritize traffic enforcement for cars over bikes, as cars are far more dangerous vehicles and thus pose much greater risk to public health and safety while in operation.

8. Public Works is currently studying policy options for winter maintenance of both bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. What changes, if any, would you like to see related to winter maintenance of sidewalks and bikeways?

As we continue to pilot and implement different types of bike and pedestrian infrastructure, I'm glad that Public Works is considering how to service this infrastructure in the most efficient way possible. I would support Public Works continuing with this study and would expect that these facilities would be prioritized according to the Complete Streets policy. My biggest concern is bus stop accessibility; I’d like to see bus stop maintenance track with street plowing.

9. Since 2010, an average of about 250 bicyclists and about 250 pedestrians have been hit and injured in Minneapolis each year, and about 40 have been killed. A number of cities around the country are taking a “Vision Zero” approach which seeks to eliminate all traffic deaths by taking a proactive approach to improving safety and targeting resources to problem areas and proven safety improvements. Would you or would you not support Minneapolis setting and working toward goals to eliminate traffic fatalities?

I would support the Vision Zero approach (or similar) to eliminating traffic fatalities.

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

The great thing about Minneapolis is that a lot of guidance for bike and pedestrian facilities is already in place. However, we don't always adhere to the existing master plans when it comes time to approve a project. I strongly support upholding the guidance in these master plans and generally prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists. I’d advocate for funding for bike and pedestrian projects to keep pace with any progression in paving projects due to additional funding for paving. I also commit to connecting Ward 11 residents with effective opportunities to advocate for the changes they want on this matter, and to proactively educate residents about the benefits of these sorts of projects. In particular, I’d help advance discussion on a potential Southside Greenway.

Ward Specific Question

What specific corridor and/or street in your Ward do you feel is most in need of improved pedestrian and/or bicycle infrastructure? What kinds of improvements would you envision, and why is this particular connection important?

I’m concerned that Cedar Ave is difficult to cross at all, especially as you near Hwy 62. I’m particularly concerned about ongoing development at 47th & Cedar. Adding a drive-through coffee shop - across the street from an existing one - in a place that already sees heavy car traffic, will worsen car traffic and will do nothing to improve bike and pedestrian safety. Businesses on both sides of Cedar appeal to neighborhood residents; people are frequently crossing Cedar on foot or bike to access them. Additionally, people access Minnehaha Creek and Lake Nokomis on foot or by bike. This stretch of Cedar and the intersection with Minnehaha Parkway needs to be more welcoming to people who are not in cars. I’d like to at least see a crosswalk at 47th St, perhaps with signage and markings similar to the crosswalk on Minnehaha Parkway linking the trail between Lakes Nokomis and Hiawatha.

 

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