500 Letters Supporting Washington Ave Bike Lanes
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will present more than 500 hand-written letters to downtown Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman (Ward 7) at a 9:30 am meeting on Wednesday. All of the letters – written by downtown Minneapolis users and residents – request that the City and Hennepin County install protected bicycle lanes on Washington Ave.
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will also deliver copies of the letters to Mayor Rybak and Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin. All three recipients of the letters will receive a cover letter from the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition that explains why protected lanes on Washington Ave are so important (attached to this release).
Hennepin County is already planning to reconstruct five blocks of downtown’s Washington Ave within the next one-and-a-half years. This presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build protected bike lanes on Washington with a blank slate and for little additional cost.
A protected bicycle lane, or cycletrack, is a bicycle lane that is physically separated from both pedestrian traffic and car traffic. This physical separation can be achieved with curbs, planters, trees, plastic bollards, or a combination of these or other buffers. Protected bicycle lanes exist throughout Europe as well as in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Portland, and other U.S. cities.
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition gathered more than 500 hand-written letters in support of Washington Ave protected bike lanes from pedestrians and cyclists traveling within two blocks of downtown’s Washington Ave. The Coalition gathered letters at the downtown entrance of the Stone Arch Bridge as well as at the Mill City Farmers Market. A few dozen additional letters were given to the Coalition by others who heard about the campaign and wished to be involved.
Those who wrote letters support Washington Ave protected bicycle lanes for diverse reasons:
“Washington Avenue is a key route used by bicyclists to get to the University. . . . As more people use bicycles instead of cars for short distances, the overall health of the city improves.” – Janice, 55403.
“A protected bike lane would help keep bikers like myself safe and help Minneapolis stay in the top spot as #1 bike city.” – Blake, 55410.
“You would think it would be common sense to have a protected bike lane anywhere in any city. . . . If you live in the city its [sic] almost impossible to drive a vehicle let alone afford to park everywhere. The city should encourage everyone to bike.” – Angela, 55379.
“I am . . . FREQUENTLY asked to take people to establishments on Washington Avenue and it is very nerve-wracking w/o a bike lane!” – Pedicab driver.
“This is a major thoroughfare used by both cars AND bikes. It’s a gateway to downtown MPLS, the University, & other areas. I think a bike lane would be a boon to increasing business to the area.” – Melissa, 55404.
“I live downtown & bike with my kids and even grandkids.” – Illegible signature, 55404.
“I work in the emergency room downtown and frequently see victims of bicycle accidents which may have been prevented by having clearly marked and separated bicycle lanes.” – Lindsey, 55414, downtown resident and employee.
“I use my bike to train to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Keep me and my fellow bikers safe.” Lieutenant, USMC, 55414.
“I live in downtown Minneapolis. I run downtown everyday and would appreciate the space and safe environment for walking.” – Erin, 55414.
“As a biker and car driver, I understand and appreciate the convenience of making all the lanes separate.” – Meghan, Minnetonka.
“I live, work & play in downtown Minneapolis. I do not own a car. . . . I am strongly in favor of protected bike lanes on Washington Avenue.” – Megan, 55404.
“I . . . need to use Washington Ave frequently to get from one side to the other. I do not have a car and bike all the time to get to & from work / everywhere. Please put in safe bike lanes. It will make my parents worry less.” – Caroline, 55414.
“Safer, greener, more family friendly; a great combination.” – Roger, Portland Ave in downtown.
“I’m a lifelong resident of Minneapolis and I vote, and I’m in favor of protected bike lanes on Washington Ave.” – Jack, 55407.
“I’ve ridden this area before and have not done it since because it is too hazardous.” – Jill, 55416.
“I have season tickets to the Guthrie and work at Orchestra Hall. The livability of downtown is extremely important to me. A bike lane/cycle track would have a calming effect on a wonderful downtown neighborhood and destination.” – Julie, Richfield.
Members of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will be available for comment around 10:00am in the Minneapolis City Hall area or by telephone throughout the day.