1. Do you navigate Minneapolis by bicycle, walking, or in a wheelchair? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? Please indicate how you commute to work.
I do not drive. I walk, long board, or ride public transit. For grocery shopping I call a Lyft car if I have a large amount of things to transport.
2. Have you ever been transit-dependent or car-free? 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 sure do. I have not driven a car since 2007. Whether if by choice or circumstance we have access issues in the city. When traveling from certain parts of the city, it takes sometimes 3 buses for a trip that would be 5-7 min by car. In addition, we have a lot of dangerous crosswalks because there is no stop light or sign to slow down. Access and safety need to be addressed as a top priority.
3. Describe any past work or accomplishments that you have been involved with around the areas of bicycling or walking issues in your community.
I have raised funds for the safety patrols at our local schools and support the use of our hiking and biking trails.
4. Last year, the City adopted a Complete Streets policy to make streets safer for everyone. The policy states: “Minneapolis is committed to rebalancing its transportation network by clearly prioritizing walking, taking transit, and biking over driving motorized vehicles, in a manner that provides for acceptable levels of service for all modes." Will you support the Complete Streets policy? Please share how you prioritize walking, transit, bicycling, driving, and parking in your decisions.
I support the policy. I walk as a matter of health and wellness. Minneapolis has an awesome walkability score and I enjoy taking advantage to that. If I want to get somewhere in a hurry or I am travelling further than 2 miles that I choose to bike or longboard. I only call a LYFT if I am going to the grocery store or on a large shopping trip and I need to transport a large amount of goods. Otherwise, I take advantage of the train and the bus especially for traveling to the airport.
5. The 2017 Minneapolis capital budget includes $6.1 million for specific walking and biking infrastructure, which is 9 percent of the total capital streets-related funding. 2010 Metropolitan Council surveys estimated that 15.9 percent of all trips in Minneapolis were done by walking and 5.1 percent by bicycle. Would you support spending more, the same amount, or less on building and maintaining bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?
Minneapolis is actually the only US City on the world listing of bike friendly cities. At one of my weekly coffee talks the other day, several drivers were concerned because they feel that bicyclists do not use the lanes that they have and see spending more money as a waste. Bicyclists I have been talking to are split on the issue of protected bike ways due to concerns with the ease in turning left and clogging up the streets with unsightly barriers. I think that we should launch a city wide awareness campaign for biking safety that targets both motorists and cyclists. I would also like to speak with our state legislators and DOT about updating the drivers license test questions so that it better addresses bicycles for added safety and awareness. I think it would be wise to invest in protected bike lanes. We have data that proves the accident rate has decreased due to our investing in bicycle lanes. If we want to continue to be progressive in this area and promote healthy living, better air quality due to decreased car emissions, and keep cyclists safe, we should invest in making sure the whole city has bike lanes.
6. In 2015, the City adopted a protected bikeway plan that identifies 48 miles of protected bikeways to be prioritized for implementation. (Protected bikeways are a bicycle route where there is a physical barrier of some kind between bikes and cars, and have been shown to be safer and more comfortable than unprotected bike lanes.) Do you support implementing the protected bikeway plan even if it could mean losing parking or traffic lanes for cars in some corridors?
Yes I do. If we want to create a city where driving a car is the last on the totem pole for the preferred mode of transportation and keep motorists and cyclists safe, than we have to invest in the infrastructure that would support that.
7. In 2016, we published a report that looked at those stopped by police while riding a bike, and why. We found that it was very likely that police were profiling young black men, and were sometimes using minor infractions such as riding without lights or riding on a sidewalk in a business district as a pretense for a stop. Starting in 2014, Minneapolis police significantly reduced traffic enforcement of all kinds. Traffic violations continue to play a significant role in many biking and walking crashes in Minneapolis. With these factors in mind, how would you, or would you not, change how police enforce traffic laws in Minneapolis?
We have to start holding officers accountable. The way to correct the disparity is not to just stop policing or stop enforcing. We have all of the facts and data to show that this is all true. What we do not know is the root cause of it all. I attribute part of it to officers not being fully invested in the communities because a large portion of our police force does not live here. Minneapolis is a global city and cultural training as well implicit bias training needs to be done frequently as well as situational after action planning. The force should be meeting weekly to discuss best practices and develop improvement plans. I would also love to see a community oversight board that is responsible for providing score cards for each precinct on their performance and community connectivity/engagement. The trust and respect from the community can only come from building a bridge with our police force. Accountability, transparency, and visibility are key. It is about applying the law fairly across all cultures. We were able to get rid of that lurking law thanks to Cam Gordon, CM leading that effort but we still have work to do.
8. Public Works is currently studying policy options for winter maintenance of both bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. What changes, if any, would you like to see related to winter maintenance of sidewalks and bikeways?
Protected bike ways would reduce the cost of maintaining our bicycle lanes. 1 mile of a protected bike lane is 100x cheaper than 1 mile of roadway. Cars are what actually deteriorate the shared bike lanes we have today. This maintenance should be a priority and thanks to groups such as yourselves and the Midtown Greenway Coalition, they are.
9. Since 2010, an average of about 250 bicyclists and about 250 pedestrians have been hit and injured in Minneapolis each year, and about 40 have been killed. A number of cities around the country are taking a “Vision Zero” approach which seeks to eliminate all traffic deaths by taking a proactive approach to improving safety and targeting resources to problem areas and proven safety improvements. Would you or would you not support Minneapolis setting and working toward goals to eliminate traffic fatalities?
I would not only support it but safety to include bicycle and pedestrian safety is one of my top 3 priorities to address while in office. Lowry is one of the largest concerns I have. Many people to include children have been hit at the intersection of Lowry and Broadway. People drive on Broadway and University like they are highways as well. We must address the issues of speeding and streets that are too narrow in the most congested areas.
10. What do you hope to accomplish to make Minneapolis and your ward better for bicycling and walking by the end of your term, if you are elected?
I want to see the first solar bike path, an end to the disproportionate arrests of Black men while biking, and an expansion of protected bike paths.
Ward Specific Questions
a) The University/4th St corridor has been identified by the city as a protected bikeways project in 2018-2019. Do you support these improvements?
Yes, I support them. That area has a lot of bicyclists due to the U Campus and a lot of students do not drive. It is needed.
b) The 2016 Hennepin/First Avenue Transportation Study looked at opportunities to improve Hennepin and 1st Avenue NE between Main Street and 7th St. Options include adding protected or unprotected bike lanes, widening sidewalks, and potentially converting to two-way traffic. These streets will be repaved soon, which presents an opportunity to make some changes. What would you like to see done on Hennepin and 1st Avenue NE in this area?
One way streets add to the circuitous route issue. In other words, we have good traffic flow but it takes a longer distance to reach your destination. That area gets congested especially with all of the local business, restaurants, and people trying to find parking. There is also a lot of foot traffic due to DeLaSalle students from just over the bridge. I think the street is already wide enough but it should have 2 way traffic and protected bike lanes. 2 ways streets improve 2 way trip capacity metrics. It would also improve access to catching buses. It is confusing to figure out where to stand to catch a bus in that area and that adds to people not wanting to take public transit into the St. Anthony Main area. It should include an option to make a left turn.