Downtown Bikeways July: Who Do We Need to Talk to to Make This Happen?

On July 9, the Downtown Bikeways volunteer workgroup came together again to show the City of Minneapolis how much support there is for safer biking in downtown. Over the last month, we’ve made great strides toward showing finding that interest in residents and visitors of downtown Minneapolis. (Check out our June update here.) Read on to learn about the interest we’re creating and how we’re going to use it to get protected bikeways on 9th/10th St and LaSalle/1st Ave.

Drumming Up Support for Protected Bikeways on 9th/10th St and LaSalle/1st Ave S.

The goal of the Downtown Bikeways volunteer group is to show the City of Minneapolis that people want safer biking in downtown Minneapolis. We started our meeting by recapping the progress we’ve made since last month toward making that happen.

Our group that is focused on improving biking on 9th and 10th Streets has already conducted two large outreach events. First, we spoke directly to a group of employees from Target’s downtown headquarters about how safe they feel when they commute by bike. And we’re beginning work with Move Minneapolis to connect with more bike-friendly employers. And now we are distributing a digital survey where downtown residents, workers, and visitors can talk about how safe they feel biking on 9th/10th St and what would make them feel more safe.

If you want to see safer bike lanes on 9th/10th St, make sure to take that survey by clicking here.

The group working on a bikeway on LaSalle and 1st Ave conducted a more focused outreach. We sat down with a small group of clients and staff from Avivo, which specializes in helping people who face complex barriers like poverty, and unemployment achieve recovery and economic stability. They discussed the transportation barriers that clients faced, one being the unsafe bike facility on LaSalle that exists today. Staff discussed how not being able to get to jobs and other places safely is a barrier to recovery for their clients.

Discovering WHO Can Make Bike Lanes Go from Ideas to Projects

Convincing the City to look at putting safer bike lanes on a street is not a simple or easy task. And knowing 1) who needs to be convinced and 2) can do the convincing makes getting safer bike lanes in downtown much more likely.

We listed out people from the City, city departments, local organizations, "decision events," and other influential individuals that we know have a voice in this process. Then volunteers discussed how decisions are made. How can we move our two corridors forward? Lots of great input shared!

What are We Doing Before the Next Meeting?

Finally, we split again into groups so we could plan how to build on the great work we’ve already done.

Those of us working on 9th/10th St are going to take our list of people and expand it, looking for employers, owners, and others who will support better bike lanes on those streets. We also are working to promote the results of our survey and the stories of downtown commuters, residents, and visitors on social media to make supporters’ voices heard.

If you know an influential person who would support better biking on 9th/10th St, or if you’re an awesome social media writer, contact Janne to get in touch with us!

Those of us working on LaSalle/1st Ave continued work on a future group ride that we will take with a representative from Minneapolis Public Works. It’s going to be a fun & easy ride where you can show your support for this important connection between downtown and south Minneapolis.

While there's limited space on the ride, if you want to get involved in planning outreach for LaSalle/1st Ave, contact Janne to get in touch!

Next Meeting: August 6 at Dunn Bros

As I wrapped up this report, I realized something was missing: All our Downtown Bikeways reports start by recapping the weather. Is there a reason for that?

Maybe I can answer that with my own weather recap: As I pedaled down Nicollet Mall on my way to the meeting, the hot sun beat down on me and the hundreds of people who were out on the mall biking, walking, eating, and living. In the words of a fellow volunteer:

“Summer is when everyone is out and everyone is energized. Now is when we need to get out and talk to people!

Next month’s meeting is Monday, August 6 at 6pm in Dunn Brothers by Loring Park. If you haven’t come to a meeting yet, be there. The season is halfway done, and we need you to help us harness that summer energy to make biking in downtown safer.

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