Aswar Rahman

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 when it's not winter, walk whenever my schedule allows, and have not used a wheelchair. Biking is particularly nice when I have ground to cover in a day, but all on one side of town. My work regularly requires me to drive, as meetings happen in tight succession all over town and there is often equipment to be hauled.

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?

Up until the age of 19, I was completely reliant on Metro Transit for any length of travel. I have seen firsthand how crucial public transportation is to many, many people, and many of them my friends. More than that, I believe it contributes to a strong civic culture and greater interaction across social and economic lines.

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

No response.

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.

The Complete Streets Policy is big step forward in the right direction. As the city population grows and density increases, a transportation grid that relies less on individual automobiles will become more important. As Mayor I will support and advocate proposals that sustainably further this cause. As of now, I do not have a specific proposal of my own.

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?

More. This year's budget was dramatically skewed towards non-priority cosmetic projects (the Convention Center Plaza being a major one), and some of the investment areas neglected were for walking and bicycle infrastructure. This kind of capital investment imbalance is what sparked my original intent to run for Mayor.

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?

Protected bikeways are necessary, and expanding from our current 96 miles to nearly 150 is a worthy target. There have to be examinations at every step to ensure that no quick decisions are being made at the expense of a practical flow of traffic, but as with any plan there's room for error and improvement. Biking is central to Minneapolis and its culture, and protected bikeways are a big part of encouraging bike use.

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?

My plan is this: 1. Hire up to a hundred more police officers over four years. 2. Do everything legally possible to ensure those new officers are black, latino, or women and from Minneapolis. 3. Work with my Chief of Police to get these fresh officers to engage in vigorous enforcement in the most highly travelled areas from the start. My projection is that this combination will result in both stronger and fairer enforcement, and lead to safer streets for all.

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 am content with the winter maintenance of bike routes. As for pedestrian paths, I support empowering city enforcement officials to take a more assertive approach in ensuring building owners properly clear their sidewalks to make walking in wintertime safer.

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?

Absolutely. I was unaware of this initiative. If someone at BikeMN can meet with me to discuss specific ways to implement a zero-fatality policy, I will be extremely happy.

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?

Continuing on the diversification of our transport arteries -- I would leave office leaving out streets more balanced, more accessible, and safer than I found it.


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