Meg Forney

1. Do you navigate Minneapolis by bicycle, walking, or in a wheelchair? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? How do you understand the experiences of residents who don't have the option to drive, particularly children, seniors, and people with a disability?

I navigate Minneapolis most often in a car. I am a recreational biker and walker largely. Year round, I walk two to three times a week around our lakes and seasonally bike a couple times weekly along various trails.

I appointed the Executive Director of the Minnesota State Council on Disability to the Calhoun-Harriet Master Plan to bring the perspective of the mobility challenge to the planning of our future parks. Her perspective will benefit this 20 year plan as well for future planning on projects.

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

I was appointed by my neighborhood council to the original Midtown Greenway Coalition. I am working with the jurisdictions of and around West Lake Street to address comprehensively the issue of it being a freeway, unsafe in urban parks for those of any  mobility. Whether the solution be a lid, the big dig or the boulevard of Excelsior and Grand, separation of vehicular and pedestrian and bicyclists is imperative to keep park users out of harm’s way. The Multi-Modal Traffic Study around the West Lake LRT Station has recommended a Feasibility Study for which I am seeking support from the county and city as well as neighborhood councils. The feasibility study is intended to analyze:

    • District-wide traffic flow analysis.
    • Preparation/refinement of varying grade-separation design/engineering options. Technical evaluation/feasibility of grade separation options.
    • Preliminary design study of Lake Street alterations.
    • Recommendations for a pathway forward. MPRB paid $75,000 for the initial Study and will implement $400,000 of safer at-grade improvements of bike and pedestrian connections.

3. What is your view on people using the trails within the park system for commuting to work, taking children to school, running errands, etc - as opposed to using the park system for exclusively recreational purposes?

I would advocate for the City’s Complete Streets policy throughout the park system. Designing and operating the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation needs to be routine.

4. What strategies, if any, will you advance to promote racial equity in Park Board programming?

The Park Board’s initiative called Closing the Gap assessed park conditions and growing funding gap to our 160 neighborhood parks. I was one of its lead Commissioners in building a coalition of public and private partners that resulted in the City of Minneapolis’ historic agreement between both organizations that will reverse decades of chronic underfunding. The 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20) provides dedicated annual funding for maintenance, rehabilitation and capital improvements in neighborhood parks, while also protecting current Park Board funding levels. An additional ordinance adopted in July 2016 ensures that NPP20 projects are prioritized using a criteria-based system based on racial and economic equity, a first ever matrix. The rollout of this funding will require strong oversight.

5. Currently, the Park Board maintains only some trails and sidewalks in the winter time for walking and biking. What changes, if any, would you like to see to winter maintenance of sidewalks and trails in parks?

Unless an alternative is provided for surface de-icing, I would not advocate for opening the sidewalks adjacent to the lakes or other bodies of water. The use of salt and sand is impairing our bodies of water.

6. Park Board trails have a 10 mile-per-hour speed limit for people biking. The Board discussed potentially eliminating the speed limit in 2015, but decided against a change. What is your position on the bicycle speed limit on Park Board trails? 

I would not change the speed limit on the trails but instead advocate for Complete Streets in the system.

7. What do you hope to accomplish to make Minneapolis parks and trails better for bicycling and walking by the end of your term, if you are elected?

I will continue to advocate for connections that are safe for users in all parts of the city, especially along the river front above the falls for our underserved north and northeast communities. The linkage to the river from the Northern Greenway is essential to activate the trails adjacent to the river. The securing of the rail bridge across the Mississippi there is also critical. Completing the Ox Cart Trail/protected bikeway along Marshall Street will provide more connections to parks in northeast.


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