Bicycle Master Plan Open House

Rm. 319 of City Hall was packed last night with cyclists, city planners and a few city engineers. All were there to learn about and give input into the city’s Bicycle Master Plan 2008. It’s a comprehensive planning project that hopes to get more folks riding their bikes, and hopefully, turn us into Amsterdam.

Large poster boards were set up on the perimeter of the space. On them were the stated goals of the plan, including information on proposed lanes, trails and bike boulevards. The room was full of vocal and passionate advocates, many of whom wore spandex to the event.

The cool part was that underneath the poster boards were post-it notes and pens. City bike coordinator (and local farmer) Don Pflaum said he wanted to give people the opportunity to comment on the proposals that are still under development.

The cyclists present responded by covering the boards with enough yellow post-its to turn them into something akin to Big Bird’s wing. And on them were suggestions like: “Before spending money to make new pathways, do repair on current pathways.”

Now, while a bicycle master plan does sound a little hokey, it does serve as a great way for Minneapolis to bump up its bike related goals. Such plans are vital to any great bicycle cities like Davis, CA and Portland, OR. Ideas from the 2001 plan that are now a reality include the extension of the greenway from Mid-Town to the river, completion of the LRT trail running north and south near Seward and the creation of a bike way on NE 26th. The biggest goals for the 2008 plan is to increase the amount of bike related pathways and double the amount of bicycle parking by 2020.

Pflaum also went through three rounds of presentations to address the overall goals the city has with concern to cycling. He listed out the 5 E’s: Engineering; Encouragement; Enforcement; Evaluation; and Equity—elements necessary to make Minneapolis bike friendly.

But he didn’t say them in a cheerleader voice, which was mildly disappointing…

The question and answer session was lively. Pfalum went through a barrage of questions and answered them with a calm, almost passive voice. During this part he was able to hear just how important these issues are to city residents who treat cycling as their main way to get around.

This was his opportunity to hear that while many cyclists thought the plan was a good step forward, it was not nearly as grand as they'd hoped.

More information can be gleamed from the city’s website. And if you have a specific question, just ask Don yourself.

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