New group rides with student bicyclists

Dan Lubben, co-founder of the Universitys chapter of the Minneapolis Bike Coalition, leads the group down Southeast Oak Street to discuss ways to improve bicycle traffic.

Image by James Healy

Dan Lubben, co-founder of the University’s chapter of the Minneapolis Bike Coalition, leads the group down Southeast Oak Street to discuss ways to improve bicycle traffic.

by Brian Edwards

From improving existing bike lanes to giving city officials suggestions on upcoming projects, a new advocacy group at the University of Minnesota is working to address cyclistsâÄô concerns. The group is a collaboration between members of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and the Minneapolis Public Interest Research Group. It aims to formulate plans for improving campus-area infrastructure and raise peopleâÄôs awareness of bicyclistsâÄô issues. âÄúOur goal is to have bike infrastructure that works for students and connects them to the rest of the city,âÄù said Daniel Lubben, an urban studies junior and co-leader of the group. He said the group is focusing on several bike projects that city officials are pushing forward in the coming years, including the Oak Street Southeast Bikeway âÄî a city-funded project that will begin construction this year. The project will create a bike path along the west side of the street. According to a city report, the road carries more than 1,100 bicyclists a day. The group met earlier this month to discuss the new bikeway and examine its potential problems. âÄúIt is important to get the earliest generations of bike lanes correct,âÄù said Steve Sanders, the UniversityâÄôs alternative transportation manager. Sanders suggested the group discuss challenges the new bike lane could pose at the busy intersection of Washington Avenue and Oak Street. Lubben said members of the bike coalition asked him and Bailey Shatz-Akin, an environmental science policy and management junior, to lead the bike advocacy group. Shatz-Akin said the group will also focus on proposing updates to the Minneapolis Bicycle Master Plan, a plan aimed at improving bicyclistsâÄô safety and increasing the amount of them in the city. She said the group will analyze the plan and offer suggestions to city officials. About 30 students and bike advocates showed up for the groupâÄôs first meeting on March 12. Laura Kling, Minneapolis Bicycle CoalitionâÄôs community organizer, said the turnout represents the high amount of involvement people have in cyclistsâÄô issues on campus. Among those who attended the meeting was Rob DeHoff, owner of Varsity Bike and Transit in Dinkytown. DeHoff said he hopes the group can expand on existing bike projects in the UniversityâÄôs area, like the 15th Avenue Southeast bike lane. Chris Stanley, a neuroscience sophomore and member of the group, said the groupâÄôs goals will ultimately benefit everyone traveling in the campus area. âÄúWeâÄôre a community of people who want to improve the way our street systems work by making it friendly for both cars and bikes,âÄù he said.