Our Streets Minneapolis Priorities for Minneapolis 2040

Our Streets Minneapolis encourages members and supporters to weigh in on Minneapolis 2040. We are also commenting as an organization. We talked about why the Comprehensive Plan matters to Our Streets here, and we shared how it might affect you here.

People also want to know what our priorities are, so we’re sharing our top five issues here.

Person walking bike on Minneapolis sidewalk

One: We support the goals and priorities shaping the plan and feel it needs to go further

 

We support the general direction of the draft plan, and it’s important that city leaders hear it’s the right direction. It focuses on racial equity and sustainability. It explicitly welcomes more homes and the people who will live in them, and it creates more real transportation choices. The plan should go further to combat displacement. It should also go further to make walking, biking, and transit great, first-choice options in all parts of the city.

 

Two: We support the focus on more homes and complete neighborhoods

 

We support that the plan allows more housing be built in all parts of the city. That's part of creating complete neighborhoods. Complete neighborhoods are places where everyone can meet their basic needs in their own neighborhoods without driving.

As our population grows in Minneapolis, we have a shortage of homes. More housing is important to having enough space for people to live in Minneapolis. While more housing alone will not ensure affordable housing for everyone, we cannot achieve more affordable housing and less displacement of low-income people without allowing more homes in all neighborhoods. At Our Streets Minneapolis, we call for more policies to combat residential displacement of low-income people. We hope City of Minneapolis staff will explore more options there.

More places to live and complete neighborhoods are critical. We must ensure more people have places to live close to the things we want to walk to. We must also build the things we want to walk to in more neighborhoods across the city. Walking shouldn’t be a viable way to get around only in the most amenity-rich south and southwest neighborhoods of Minneapolis; it must be possible in every corner of the city. The draft 2040 plan still greatly limits housing in most areas and could go farther to support walkable communities, but it’s a good step forward.  

 

Three: We support building design requirements that make walking enjoyable and safe

 

We support the “Pedestrian-Oriented Building and Site Design” policy. It prioritizes people walking in the way we design buildings. We support orienting new buildings to the sidewalk, eliminating car parking requirements citywide, and not allowing new drive-throughs or gas stations. We request more policy detail to discourage new surface parking lots and limit their negative impact on how walking feels.  

 

Four: We support the focus on walking, biking, and transit, but more details are needed to make it real

 

We support that Minneapolis 2040 seeks to build “a multimodal [transportation] network that prioritizes walking, biking and transit.” However, the plan maintains a very auto-focused system. It focuses on incorporating walking, biking, and transit into that system. Greenways are mentioned only as part of parks and not transportation, which is a big gap. There is no mention that sidewalks too frequently become inaccessible in the winter and that snow and ice clearance must be improved. There is no mention protected bikeways. There is no focus on making sure that we build a network of bikeways accessible to everyone. We hope the Access Minneapolis transportation plan goes farther to truly prioritizing walking, biking, and transit.

 

Five: It’s good Vision Zero is included, but it must be improved

 

We support including Vision Zero and the City’s goal to end traffic fatalities by 2027. That is important work. However, we strongly advocate for eliminating enforcement as part of Vision Zero. Enforcement amplifies racial disparities. It would lead to community backlash, and there are plenty of other proven safety strategies to implement.

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Is there a critical priority that we’ve missed? Let us know!

 

Person walking in front of stores