After years of effort on the part of City staff and bicycle advocates, the Bicycle Master Plan passed the full City Council this morning. This is a big deal in itself, but the work of the Bicycle Coalition and Bicycle Advisory Committee has made it an even more striking accomplishment. In keeping with the action taken earlier this week by the Transportation Public Works committee (or TPW), four corridors were added to the map: Lyndale Ave N, Johnson St NE, Washington in downtown, and 38th St.
I'd encourage everyone to watch some of the great comments made by Council Vice President Robert Lilligren and the chair of TPW, Sandy Colvin Roy (jump to minute 30). Sandy's comments echo the testimony given earlier this week by Nick Mason, her rep to the BAC (and its chair).
Here's some context. Earlier this year, the BAC brought forward over 60 suggestions for improving the bike map. After discussion with Public Works staff, only 12 projects were left off the map, due to various staff concerns (high traffic, narrow streets, good parallel routes, etc). The BAC decided that 5 of these routes were worth bringing to the Council, even despite the lack of agreement from staff. The Council agreed on 4 out of the 5, and now they're on the map.
The way the bike plan came forward has strengthened the BAC immeasurably. The group as a whole and its individual members got an opportunity to communicate directly with Council Members, something that very rarely happened with the old BAC. And Council Members listened.
I think this bodes well for the discussions that will be starting very soon on the BAC's broader policy recommendations contained in the Implementation Plan. Because there isn't yet agreement (or even clear disagreement) between the BAC and staff, these have been delayed until November. One telling anecdote: staff had initially requested that the Council direct them to return to the Council on these issues in December, but the chair of the Intergovernmental Relations subcommittee, Elizabeth Glidden, noted that December is too late for the City to adopt the recommended planks in our legislative agenda, so it was pushed forward.
The Council is clearly interested to hear from bicycle advocates, willing to listen to us, and share our vision for making Minneapolis a great place to ride a bike.
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