Bike plan survey open to University

University area bikers should make sure to be heard in the Hennepin County Bike Plan.

Hennepin County opened its bike plan survey last week in an effort to get community input on potential future projects. 

Rose Ryan, pedestrian and bicycle coordinator for Hennepin County, said that community input is vital in setting priorities and developing design guidelines for the plan.

“Planning bikeways is an endless activity,” Ryan said. “We really need preferences in bikeway projects.”

Hennepin County plans to draft a detailed plan by spring 2014 and will seek more community input after that.

Molly Sullivan, vice president of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition Board of Directors, said University of Minnesota students and staff may not be aware of changes in bike infrastructure or even know how to ask. Sullivan highlighted the death of Kimberly Yeong Sil Hull, who died in a truck-bike collision in 2011 on Fourth Street and 15th Avenue, as a reason that the University campus must be included in the plan.

“Bikers should be protected on campus,” Sullivan said. “Infrastructure should not be a barrier for anyone to bike throughout Minneapolis.”

Simon Blenski, Minneapolis Public Works bicycle and pedestrian planner, said the plan is important to the University area because roads near campus, like University Avenue east of Interstate 35W, fall under Hennepin County’s jurisdiction, not the city or University. University Avenue is the busiest street location in the city with 4,000 daily riders, Blenski said.

In order for the University area to not be overlooked in the bike plan, we urge faculty, staff and students to take the survey and spot problem areas on the county’s interactive map.