Bicycle Master Plan
It's a momentous day for bicycling in Minneapolis: our first-ever comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan passed the Council this morning. It's a visionary, detailed document that identifies key corridors for the City to upgrade for bikes, lays out aggressive goals and the tasks to carry them out, and much more.
I'd like to add my thanks to those of my colleagues this morning to a few of the people and organizations who made this happen. One City Public Works staff member did more than anyone else to bring this plan forward: Don Pflaum. His hard work and perseverance has paid off, and his accomplishment will help us improve cycling in Minneapolis for decades. The newly reorganized Bicycle Advisory Committee (or BAC) was also instrumental in shaping this plan, making it better right through the Council process. And the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition provided great external advocacy as the plan came forward.
In passing the plan, the Council also took two additional actions. We directed staff to work with the BAC on an Implementation Plan document and return to us by November with either consensus or well-understood points of disagreement. That document includes some detailed and exciting recommendations for policy changes, legislative agenda items, funding strategies and more. We also finalized some work that was done earlier this week by the Transportation and Public Works committee, by adding four corridors to the bicycle map: Lyndale Ave N, Johnson St NE, 38th St, and Washington Ave S in downtown (the solid lines in the link).
Here's some background on this action. Earlier this year, the BAC invited its members to suggest changes to the draft bicycle plan map. More than 60 comments came in. After discussion with Public Works staff, the vast majority of requested changes and additions were made. Only 12 projects requested to be placed on the map were left off due to staff concerns. The BAC decided that the above 5 corridors deserved more conversation, and came to the Transportation Public Works committee to advocate for their inclusion, staff's concerns notwithstanding. The committee agreed with the BAC on four of the five, and they've been added to the map. (With a minor caveat: it's unclear what type of facility Washington Avenue in downtown will be.)
I think this is a wonderful outcome. The new BAC has been considerably strengthened by its handling of the Bike Plan, getting kudos from many Council Members for its cogent, logical, and compelling arguments for its positions. For one example, the Transportation Public Works committee's chair, Sandy Colvin Roy, not only thanked and honored the BAC's great work in her remarks on the plan this morning, she gave an eloquent and passionate speech about the benefits of bicycling, which was based in part on facts that her BAC representative Nick Mason (who chairs the BAC) had shared at Tuesday's committee meeting. The strengthening of the BAC, more than any of the particular corridors that were considered, seems to me to be the real benefit of the way that the plan passed. I think that this will have a tremendously positive impact on the discussions around the recommendations in the Implementation Plan, and the Council's consideration of them later this year.
Lastly, I'm proud to say that my Policy Aide and year-round biker, Robin Garwood, has been deeply involved in making all of this happen. He not only helped drive the reorganization of the BAC last year, but as the Council's representative on the group has helped bring about the positive outcome we're celebrating today. His involvement and leadership in this over several years has been critical. I'm happy he has been able to dedicate some of his time, knowledge and talents to improving the bicycle environment not just for the Second Ward, but for the whole city.