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 bike regularly for recreation and to run errands. When attending community events around the city, I will often get there by bike and by walking. In the summer, the majority of my transportation in my district is by bicycle.
I drive to work at the Capitol from my home in North Minneapolis. This is largely out of necessity, as I have to be to and from the Capitol within an hour/several hours in the same day. When we have create were more accessible public transit routes that allowed me to move quickly to and from Minneapolis to St. Paul multiple times in a day, I would shift my transportation habits accordingly.
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?
Growing up low-income, my family did not always have access to a car. As a student at the University of Minnesota, I was also transit dependent. At that time, I bussed from Columbia Heights to the University and then back to my job. I was married and had a child, fluctuating between having a single car and having none at all.
During my time in living and working in Washington D.C., I was entirely transit dependent. This provided me valuable insight into the transportation system of another city and the advancements Minneapolis should—and needs—to be making.
In 2015, I participated in Roll With Us Transit Challenge—a challenge put together by a coalition of community organizations to provide elected officials with an insight of how transit-dependent individuals worked, learned, lived.
As a resident of North Minneapolis, many of my neighbors and constituents are dependent on transit. Access to transportation impacts their ability to shop for groceries, accept certain jobs, and get their children to school. It constitutes a large part of a household budget—a burdensome cost for our lowest income communities. Though Minneapolis has a good public transit system, the system is built around the wealthier parts.
3. Describe any past work or accomplishments that you have been involved with around the areas of bicycling or walking issues in your community.
I’m proud to have been part of coalitions, through which we have made the following achievements:
- Fighting for expanding our Light Rail system and increase funding for County transit, increasing walking as a component of residents daily commute
- Funding the 26th Avenue bikeway—connecting the completion Theodore Worth to the Mississippi River
- Served on the Capital Long Range Implementation Committee for the City of Minneapolis for five years where I advocated for increased funding by the city for the construction and maintenance of biking infrastructure
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 will support the Complete Streets policy. I will prioritize modal or multimodal transportation and, whenever possible, increase walking, biking, and use of public transit with a goal of decreasing driving and parking. Additionally, I will support the municipal maintenance of city sidewalks and bike lanes—providing bikers and pedestrians the same standard of service—or greater— we provide to car users.
As Mayor, I will nominate individuals who are supportive of the Complete Streets policy to the committees with policy oversight (e.g. Bicycle Advisory Committee, Pedestrian Advisory Committee, etc). I will also encourage the City Council to be limited in the number of exemptions they approve. With my experience as a Northsider and a Legislator representing some of our city’s most disadvantaged communities, I will be a vocal proponent in ensuring the Complete Streets policy is mindful of the archaic, racially motivated decisions that built our transportation infrastructure, and will reverse these in its implementation.
Finally, I will work with the City Council and the Metropolitan Council to implement a plan where any worker who makes less than $15/hour can have access to free transit.
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 support an increase in funding, a higher prioritization of funding for non-car transportation, and a refined focus of the spending on underserved areas of Minneapolis.
Minneapolis needs to create or improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure on the Northside. By infusing equity into our policies, we would be able to increase the percentage of all trips being done by walking or by bicycle and decrease the cost of transportation to residents.
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 support implementing the protected bikeway plan. I’m especially excited the recommended bikeway projects include an investment in the Northside and in Northeast Minneapolis—areas where affordable and accessible transportation will incentivize growth and provide alternative, affordable transportation, decreasing the cost of transportation for residents. This is essential for both of these communities—where many residents are young, transient, and/or low wage workers.
By implementing protected bikeways, we will increase the safety of biking—decreasing the need for travel by car. With fewer residents relying exclusively on cars, losing parking and traffic lanes will have a lesser impact.
Public policy decisions are inherently a cost-benefit analysis. To me, the benefits of safe, accessible biking (i.e. improved public health, increased affordability of our city, positive environmental impact, etc.) outweigh the cost of losing parking and traffic lanes.
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?
In order to rectify the inequitable treatment of Minneapolis residents, I will appoint a police chief that will:
- Bolster implicit bias-training to decrease bias-related stops
- Develop biking safety education programs for minor offenders, rather than ticketing
- Discontinue the practice of using traffic stops as a factor when promoting officers; create incentives for pipelining offenders into education programs
- Improve City data collection practices; evaluate how to accurately collect demographic data as part of the City’s annual bicycle/pedestrian count
This issue could also be addressed by providing free access to bike lights and expanding bike lanes in all areas of the city, particularly neighborhoods which are disproportionately ticketed.
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?
I support the municipal maintenance of city sidewalks—which includes snow removal, just as we plough our roads. I would change the following:
- Increase funding for winter road maintenance and snow removal
- Work to prioritize routes to create standard routes (effective arteries) for winter bikers, allowing consistency in their daily commute
- Increase number of protected bike lanes, as they are easier to plow and upkeep winter maintenance
- Researching and implementing best practices of other Northern cities, such as Montreal, around winter biking.
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 fully support efforts to eliminate all traffic deaths. Knowing St. Paul is considering Vision Zero, it is sensical for Minneapolis to move in this direction and maximize the impact throughout the metro—and later the state—by moving in this direction together. I would take the following actions to move toward being a Vision Zero city:
- Vocally support Vision Zero and commit to moving Minneapolis towards being a Vision Zero city
- Nominate a police chief and leadership of partner departments (e.g. - - Transportation Planning & Engineering, Planning & Zoning, Traffic Control, Health, Public Works, etc.) who will prioritize the Vision Zero agenda
- Fund improved data collection and use this data in decisions related to street design, traffic patterns,
- Engage Minneapolis state legislators, state senators, council members, park board commissioners in neighborhood associations to create a Vision Zero Action Plan for Minneapolis
- Leverage my existing relationships with members of the Capitol and the county to pass and amend relevant legislation that falls outside of the city’s purview
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?
1. Accomplish the Bicycling Vision for Minneapolis by 2020
2. Increase the number of trips walking and biking each year; bolster the City’s data collection practices to inform policy and decision making
3. Govern with a philosophy that modal and multimodal transportation users should receive the same—if not greater—consideration as car-users
4. Improve bike-ability and walkability for the Northside, Northeast, and University communities
5. Support biking and walking with stakeholder-led conversations and stakeholder-approved recommendations