The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition Neighborhood Action Team Committee met on July 11 to discuss neighborhood issues affecting the Minneapolis bicycling community.
We discussed how our organization could better coordinate with the city of Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee and the need to publicize BAC activities.
We discussed the need to significantly improve the current Hennepin County plan for bicycle lanes on and leading to the new Lowry Avenue Bridge. We have met and we are continuing to meet with key elected officials.
We discussed bicycle travel improvements scheduled for Central Avenue. We have met and we are continuing to meet with key elected officials.
We discussed organizing participants for the August 1 Northeast Minneapolis Bicycle Summit.
Finally, we discussed in-progress potential solutions for the 28th and Greenway crossing.
If you have neighborhood issues you would like our committee to address, please communicate them to us by responding to this blog.
Minneapolis is close to having its first-ever Bicycle Master Plan! The City Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee will review a final draft of the plan on Tuesday, July 19 at 1pm in City Hall Room 317.
Thoughts on Current Draft
Overall, the plan is very good. Certainly, if the City and other involved stakeholders can implement it all, Minneapolis will take giant strides forward for bicycling over the 30-year plan timeline.
The challenge, of course, will be implementation. That's why we strongly agree with implementation recommendations made by the Bicycle Advisory Committee that are still under consideration by the Public Works staff and will not be included as part of the plan being considered by the City Council this month. These recommendations cover a range of topics--from having the City advocate for changes in state road standards to work better for biking to passing a meaningful City Complete Streets policy to zoning changes related to shower facilities--that can help get this bike plan implemented in as cost-effective way as possible. We hope that these steps will be passed as part of an implementation plan later this year.
The current bike plan map (on page 160 in this link) has improved enormously over the last 6 months, with staff agreeing to add dozens of smart bike lanes or boulevards proposed by the public and the Bicycle Advisory Committee.
You can read the comments we submitted to the City Council Members and Mayor Rybak earlier this week, which focus on a few additions we'd like to see made to the bike plan map.
And a little more history
The plan has improved a lot from the generally strong initial public draft that was reviewed at a series of public meetings last fall. The City received about 135 comments on the initial draft in addition to the more than 100 people that attended public meetings. (Thanks to all of those that came out or submitted comments!)
The City's Bicycle Advisory Committee--then still an ad-hoc group--reviewed the comments with staff and moved forward with significant positive updates to the content and organization of the plan, including more projects, completely reworked goals, strategies, and actions, new project criteria, and more. Many volunteers gave many hours helping staff on the plan, and hopefully we will soon have something that can lead to a better biking city for all of us.
We'll make sure to put up an update of next weeks Council committee meeting.