Public proposes bike plan changes

Minneapolis residents reviewed the upcoming Master Bike Plan.

by Andre Eggert

Opinions on MinneapolisâÄô upcoming Master Bike Plan streamed in through online comments, surveys and public meetings in August and September.

On Tuesday, the opinions were made public and the Transportation and Public Works Committee of the Minneapolis City Council began reviewing the ideas.

Community members made several non-binding changes to the draft plan, which officials will consider before a final approval, which is set to take place early next year.

Interest in the bike plan was tremendous, said Donald Pflaum, a city transportation planner. “People in this city really care about bicycling.”

Many community members want non-infrastructure projects, such as bicycle education and enforcement, to be better highlighted in the plan.

Many bicyclists said cars were a major obstacle, and they werenâÄôt comfortable riding on some streets, particularly in “destination areas” âÄî commercial corridors that include businesses, libraries and other services.

“The plan fails to adequately discuss the importance of connecting business districts with bikers,” one community member commented. “Inattention to this will result in âĦ continued conflict between drivers and bikers competing for lane space on congested corridors.”

Concern also came from the other side of the aisle âÄî pressing for fines on bicyclists who donâÄôt comply with traffic laws. Another anonymous commenter pressed for increased safety and enforcement for bikers in the plan and described bikers in the Lake Calhoun area who would dart in front of cars, latch onto cars for a “free ride” and kick cars.

“The Lance Armstrong wannabes need to find a different venue for practicing their high-speed maneuvering,” the comment stated. “This is a city park for family and tourist outings, not a racetrack.”

Groups like the Sierra Club North Star Chapter also submitted suggestions. The organization was concerned that the plan didnâÄôt adequately address the “complete streets” concept, which reworks roads to better accommodate cars, public transit, bicyclists and
pedestrians.

“Just like the city wouldnâÄôt think of building a road without enough travel lanes âĦ the city needs to have a similar position if there is room to build a bike lane,” the group said.

Pflaum said all public comments would be taken into consideration for the final plan.

“Clearly when you get the magnitude and amount of information that weâÄôve received, you canâÄôt just dismiss that,” he said.