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 often bike with my family along Minnehaha Creek. We bike to parks, to eat and to the library. This summer we are also planning to expand our range into some of the local single-track areas. My son took a mountain biking class at Theodore Wirth Park last summer and is looking for more challenges. I daily walk my dog along the creek and in the streets near our home. When my son is in school I drive him because there is no bus service for him. During the summer, I commute on my motorcycle.
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?
Before moving to Minneapolis in 2006 I lived in New York City for 10 years. It was fantastic being car-free! I was able to walk or take the bus or subway everywhere. (I tried commuting by bicycle. After about 3 days it was stolen and that was the end of that.) Raising children, however, was not something we wanted to try and accomplish in the New York area given the cost and quality of childcare, which is one reason I am proposing a $10/day childcare program as part of my campaign. My in-laws are in their 80’s and live here. I have two children, 10 and 11, so I have first-hand experience of how difficult it is to be car-free in Minneapolis. For my in-laws, their apartment complex offers a shuttle service for the grocery store and other trips. My children need us to drive them to most locations. Both of them play baseball and have numerous school events that require transporting equipment. Most of my understanding regarding the transportation needs of people with disabilities comes from my research into public transportation and the issues with funding for Metro Mobility.
3. Describe any past work or accomplishments that you have been involved with around the areas of bicycling or walking issues in your community.
One of the main reasons I am running is to ensure that the Climate Action Plan adopted by the city is fully funded and implemented. I do not have a track record of involvement for bicycling or walking as yet, but I look forward to completing this survey in four years and promoting that I have helped to increase the percentage of people commuting to work by bicycle to 15%.
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.
Yes, I strongly support the Complete Streets policy and will prioritize rebalancing the transportation network in this order: walking, biking and transit, and driving. Personally, I’d like to see more streets, particularly downtown, that are closed to cars. I think many businesses downtown would see a boost if people walked more instead of driving. In addition, for the city to meet its climate goals, walking, biking and public transit we must make the options available to a greater number of Minneapolis residents. The city has an important role to play if that is to happen. The city’s long-range Capital Improvement program will need to prioritize non-car choices. As for parking, there needs to be flexibility, but part of rebalancing will mean decreasing the need for parking. I support Park and Ride for people to get downtown. It will take a partnership with businesses, commuters, and the city to identify when and where parking makes sense. For the Complete Streets policy to be a success, all stakeholders need to feel heard as infrastructure is built for future needs.
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?
The city has a $1.5 billion dollar budget. The 2017 budget has more than $50 million dedicated to street paving. In my view, $6.1 million is a very small amount for walking and biking infrastructure. To encourage more walking and biking, safe, convenient infrastructure will be required and that means rebalancing the budget to substantially fund it.
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. There has to be a trade-off if the city wants to meet its goals for protected bikeways. My goal, however, will be to make sure that as the routes are established, the views of all stakeholders are considered. It won’t help the cause of increasing protected bikeways if the people living by those bike lanes feel left out of the process. A shared vision of what we want the Minneapolis of the future to look like has to be reached to keep moving forward.
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?
I agree with the report’s finding, the MPD should track the racial demographics of those receiving traffic violations and publish them so that everyone can see where and when enforcement is occurring. I am against profiling and would enhance both implicit bias training and de-escalation training. This type of tracking and publishing will help ensure that the MPD is being consistent when they apply the laws. It should not be based on racial bias.
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?
Clearing of snow from sidewalks and bicycle lanes needs to have the same priority as clearing of streets. As with streets, priority lanes should be established to allow people to walk or bicycle even after the worst snow storms.
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?
Yes, I will take a proactive approach toward a goal of eliminating all traffic deaths. Part of what a city council member can do is raise awareness on the issue and fund safety workshops. Personal behavior, whether in a car, walking, or bicycling, plays the largest role in reducing fatalities, no matter which mode of transportation, respect and safety need to an ingrained part of our habits.
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?
One of the main reasons I entered the race for city council is to prioritize the Climate Action Plan. If elected, I’d like to see the goals for walking and bicycling infrastructure met or exceeded. To get there it will mean changing the way people think about larger issues of commuting and our reliance on cars. Habits need to change and people need to come to see walking and biking as options that not only have health benefits, but serve to reduce the carbon emissions of the city. Raising awareness, building support, implementing the “Vision Zero” program, and funding the necessary infrastructure projects, will help me define success for my term.
Ward Specific Question
What specific corridor and/or street in your Ward do you feel is most in need of improved pedestrian and/or bicycle infrastructure? What kinds of improvements would you envision, and why is this particular connection important?
There are several improvements I’d like to see made in Ward 8. The first would be on 46th street. While there are some bike lanes, these do not feel safe at all. It’s an important East/West route because there are businesses along both Chicago and Nicollet that become accessible once this route feels safe. I would like to see protective reflectors at a minimum put up along this corridor. In addition, the crossing of Minnehaha where 50th street meets it is very dangerous. There is no signal and traffic backs up along 50th just as people are going out to walk their dogs or ride their bikes. People get impatient and I’ve witnessed many near accidents. A traffic signal is needed here along with a button that turns it green for people crossing the street.