Apparently Thursday's misleading story wasn't enough, so the Star Tribune has added a misleading editorial. The editorial attacks the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator position as “ill-timed” with “startling” pay and that “looks like something that's nice but not essential.” They go on to say that it will “reinforce attitudes about government waste and inefficiency.”
Bicycle and pedestrian safety shouldn’t be “nice.” Please offer your thoughts to your local paper. Details after jump...
To submit a letter to the editor:
Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/115289839.html
Southwest or Downtown Journal: http://www.swjournal.com/index.php?%20publication=mpp§ion=44&page=36
Northeaster or NorthNews: http://nenorthnews.com/Contact.asp?view=opinion&paperID=2&month=
Minnesota Daily: http://www.mndaily.com/opinion/letters-editor/submit
Supporting safer walking and biking is valuable work the City should be doing and I support the hiring of a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.
*MAKE SURE TO ADD YOUR PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE AND STORIES AND KEEP IT SHORT AND FOCUSED ON ONE OR TWO POINTS*
A few helpful points:
1. This position will improve road safety. Safety is our #1 priority. There were 46 pedestrians and bicyclists killed and an additional 5,509 ped/bike crashes in Minneapolis between 2000 and 2009. Having a coordinator work on a big picture approach will reduces crashes and save lives. Our most vulnerable road users need to be protected.
2. This position will improve cost-effectiveness and save the City money. The coordinator will be tasked with making the City’s processes more efficient by jumping on opportunities that arise and reducing the time needed to review and developed projects. Having a central point of contact for the public, city staff, and other partners (County, Met Council, MNDOT) on bike/ ped issues will streamline project and process issue resolution, saving the city money. The coordinator will also help the City find creative outside funding sources to support walking and bicycling programs and ensure that all investments are used most effectively.
3. This position is not paid for with new money. The coordinator was created through reorganization within the Public Works Department to make a more efficient use of the same dollars. Creative restructuring to improve efficiency and outcomes is exactly what we want government to do.
4. This position will expand economic development in Minneapolis. Investment in Bicycling in Minneapolis and Minnesota provides jobs & money to our communities.
a) The Midtown Greenway has spurred hundreds of millions of dollars in private development and greatly increased property tax receipts.
b) Twin Cities Bicycle Industry is worth $315 million annually to the local economy.
c) Minneapolis and Minnesota are national bicycle tourism destinations. Road and Mountain Bike tourism generate more than $1 billion annual revenue to the state. Bicycle tourism also supports more than 5,000 jobs statewide.