The City is planning to hire a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator (job description here). We feel that this position is critical for helping maximize the quality and efficiency of the City's efforts on walking and biking.
But today a misleading negative article about the position was published in the Star Tribune, and the position is under some threat.
If you live in Minneapolis and care about biking or walking, please write a letter to your local neighborhood paper or the Star Tribune today!
To submit to the:
Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/115289839.html
Southwest or Downtown Journal: http://www.swjournal.com/index.php?%20publication=mpp§ion=44&page=36
Northeaster or NorthNews: http://nenorthnews.com/Contact.asp?view=opinion&paperID=2&month=
Supporting safer walking and biking is valuable work the City should be doing and I support hiring a new bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.
A few important points:
1. This position will improve road safety. Safety is our #1 priority. There were 46 pedestrians and bicyclists killed and an additional 5,509 crashes in Minneapolis between 2000 and 2009. Having a coordinator work on a big picture approach will reduces crashes and save lives. Our most vulnerable road users need to be protected.
2. This position will improve cost-effectiveness and save the City money. The coordinator will be tasked with making the City’s processes more efficient by jumping on opportunities that arise and reducing the time needed to review and developed projects. Having a central point of contact for the public, city staff, and other partners (County, Met Council, MNDOT) on bike/ ped issues will streamline project and process issue resolution, saving the city money. The coordinator will also help the City find creative outside funding sources to support walking and bicycling programs and ensure that all investments are used most effectively.
3. This position is not paid for with new money. The coordinator was created through reorganization within the Public Works Department to make a more efficient use of the same dollars. Creative restructuring to improve efficiency and outcomes is exactly what we want government to do.
4. This position will expand economic development in Minneapolis. Investment in Bicycling in Minneapolis and Minnesota provides jobs & money to our communities.