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.
I use a bicycle or walking for approximately 80% of my transportation. To commute to work at City Hall, I almost exclusively use my bike or my feet.
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?
While I myself have never been 100% car-free, I do have two staffers that are, and they help inform my view on how city policy can best meet the needs of individuals that do not have cars. I also represent Ward 3, an area of the city which has seen dramatically increased residential density in recent years, necessitating pro-transit, pro-pedestrian city policies. All of this has reinforced my desire to make city policy friendly to bicyclists, safe and walkable streets for pedestrians, and other amenities needed to make sure that everyone can get around Minneapolis. Transportation access is an equity issue for me and I would make it a priority as mayor of Minneapolis.
3. Describe any past work or accomplishments that you have been involved with around the areas of bicycling or walking issues in your community.
First, I delivered on my promise to connect the Northeast riverfront with a trail that now extends nearly to the Lowry Avenue Bridge. While there was significant opposition, and difficulty acquiring an easement from Graco, we worked collectively with the Park Board to create a beautiful Eastside trail.
Second, I am very proud to have been part of making the protected bike lane on 3rd Avenue South (located in my ward) a reality. While I am a strong supporter of the lane, I wish that we had made it planter-protected. As someone who rides this route several times per day, it has become a tremendous city asset through Downtown.
Third, I championed the Plymouth Avenue North/8th Avenue NE protected bike lane. Although we did encounter several hurdles, the project is complete and creates a beautiful North/Northeast connection that was very much needed, not only for bike improvement, but also for building community.
Fourth, I stood by the 8th Street Southeast bike lane that is now moving forward.
Fifth, we worked to achieve a bike lane on 11th Avenue South.
Sixth, we worked with the County to secure buffered (North Loop) and protected (Downtown) bike lanes on Washington Ave.
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.
Yes. I believe that a forward thinking city needs to move away from the automobile-centric mentality. I generally prioritize walking, transit, and cycling when making public policy decisions because these modes of transit do more to further environmental and social justice ideals. From environmental sustainability (increased pedestrians and bicycles reduce our per capita carbon footprint), to fiscal responsibility (pedestrians and bicycles contribute to less wear and tear on our streets), to spacing needs in a growing city (pedestrians and bicycles use less space than a street lined with parking lanes), we have every ability to become a city with a world class multi-modal transportation system and public realm.
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 more.
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?
Yes. I have supported protected bikeways in my ward even when it was tough and controversial because I want Minneapolis to embrace a progressive transit future. I have fought for this vision in Ward 3 as a Council Member and I want to fight for it across the city as Mayor.
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?
I am strong proponent of instituting implicit bias training for police officers. I also favor hiring practices designed to recruit additional officers of color and those who live in Minneapolis. Additionally, our incumbent mayor eliminated the traffic division. To posit our choice as either potentially discriminatory practices that are most commonly manifested in traffic interactions or no traffic enforcement is to posit a false choice. We can find a way to balance both the safety of pedestrians and bikers and the rights of people of color.
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?
Faster and more effective cleaning is one of the first policies I’d look to implement. This may require reassigning existing resources and/or assigning new ones. I want to set realistic expectations for what the city is capable of doing in the near term. To that end, I’d work with the bike community on creative solutions to our issues and for guidance in setting priorities.
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?
Yes. Additionally, I’d look to work with bike activists and others interested in traffic safety to further the goals of the Towards Zero Death campaign. With regard to traffic safety, I think the mayor, should they choose to use it, has a special platform from which to advocate and direct public resources and attention to those practices that we know endanger those walking and biking.
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?
We need to think big and small. Big projects like completing Grand Rounds, Granary Corridor, and the Midtown Greenway (all the way to Saint Paul), and adding mileage to our arterial bikeways will require a mayor with a vision and a work ethic to match. Bringing together multiple jurisdictions and working with other levels of government will be necessary to make progress a reality, and we need a Mayor able to build a significant coalition. When we think small, we should be thinking about unique ways to change our city culture for the future. Working with our school district and neighborhood non-profits to make sure that children gain exposure to bicycling as a means of transportation would be a goal of my administration.