LaTrisha Vetaw

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?

Currently I bike two times per week to work which is a 14 mile round trip commute. I lead several recreational community bike rides during the week. I walk often during my lunch break at work and I sometimes walk to run errands near my home. As of recent I have been using a wheelchair due to a ankle injury I have been rolling to errands and for recreational use. In my current job I work with youth and we often talk about their experiences on public transportation such as light rail and busses of the youth I speak to walk more than anything. I work with a group of elderly women and the ones who are differently-able usually depend on metro mobility they often complain about accessibility issues. 

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

In 2007 I worked with the city of Minneapolis and created Step to it Northside it was a neighborhood walking club that had over 200 members that met weekly to walk several miles. I worked with the city to place street signs down Plymouth eve to mark the route for future walkers. I am the current director of the Neighborhood orange bike program, this is a bike share program for under-invested in communities with a mission to grow ridership. I am the Current Board Chair of Our Streets Minneapolis. 

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?

My view is that our trails should be available to everyone, I myself am working hard to have more people biking in Minneapolis for transportation and recreation needs this means that the trails may be more populated and we will need to begin having some community engagement around the changes in our parks. 

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

I want to work on strengthening the community engagement process, I believe that many under-invested in communities need to be at the table when critical decisions are being made. MPRB needs to make changes to the current practices to ensure people from these communities are present.

I am very passionate about youth programming and I think investing more money and resources in this population is key.

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?

I would like to see some of the areas that are not known for biking/walking be serviced as swiftly and frequently as other areas in the city. This is a barrier for people who do want to try winter biking or walking as a means of commuting during winter months. I would like winter maintenance to be a priority in the entire city. 

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?

My position is that enforcing a speed limit on park trails would be impossible, I believe that riders need to be respectful of others and go at safe speeds. Minneapolis offers a variety of routes for bike commuters so to ensure everyone's safety a different route may be necessary at certain times of the day if you desire biking at a faster speed. Our trails need to welcoming and safe for everyone. 

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?

I would like MPRB to collaborate with more community organizations who's focus areas are biking and walking like Our Streets Minneapolis. I would like to allocate some recreation funding that encourages youth riding and bike safety programs. I would like to be engaged in the city wide plan for bike lanes some of these project may connect to parks,. I would advocate for policies, programs, and activities that promote biking and walking in our parks.

Thank you Our Streets Minneapolis!

 

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