Abdi Warsame

1. Do you navigate Minneapolis by bicycle, walking, or in a wheelchair? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? Please indicate how you commute to work.

I navigate Minneapolis by mostly walking. I've never owned a car for a very good reason. I'm fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood where you can easily walk to everything you want to do on most days. Of course, one of the best benefits of not having a car leads to more walking or biking. I commute to work most days by walking and in some days using public transportation.

2. Have you ever been transit-dependent or car-free? How do you understand the experiences of residents who don't have the option to drive, particularly children, seniors, and people with a disability?

I've always been transit dependent and car free. Growing up in London England, i've experienced first hand how a city that was designed before the invention of the automobile looks like. Every morning i either walk to work or walk to the Light Rail Station in Cedar Riverside. I've experienced lack of enough crossings in highly concentrated neighborhoods like Cedar Riverside and Seward. Lack of access for people with disability, seniors and children.

3. Describe any past work or accomplishments that you have been involved with around the areas of bicycling or walking issues in your community.

I've worked with my colleagues on the county to draft a plan for Cedar Avenue that narrowed the street from four lanes to three with one in each direction and a center turn lane. The sidewalks was widened as a result and now meets federal access standards for the disabled. I've also secured resources for studies and implementation on making our side walks more pedestrian friendly. I've supported more bike lanes Safe Routes to School - Bicycle Boulevards and crossing improvements. One thing i'm really proud of is working to secure direct funding for Cycles for Change. This money specifically helps fund their adult Learn-to-Ride classes, the Bike Grant program, and their Minneapolis youth apprentices. We have such a great bicycle infrastructure in our city, but i think it's important to teach our residence how to take advantage of this great infrastructure.

4. Last year, the City adopted a Complete Streets policy to make streets safer for everyone. The policy states: “Minneapolis is committed to rebalancing its transportation network by clearly prioritizing walking, taking transit, and biking over driving motorized vehicles, in a manner that provides for acceptable levels of service for all modes." Will you support the Complete Streets policy? Please share how you prioritize walking, transit, bicycling, driving, and parking in your decisions.

Not only did I support this, but I also served on the policy advisory committee for this policy. It's one thing to say we prioritize on walking and biking and another to make it happen. I'm proud that we finally have specific work around reworking how we evaluate streets, traffic lights and other areas. Yes i will continue to support this. I will ensure that staff follows every step of this policy from budgeting to maintenance.

5. The 2017 Minneapolis capital budget includes $6.1 million for specific walking and biking infrastructure, which is 9 percent of the total capital streets-related funding. 2010 Metropolitan Council surveys estimated that 15.9 percent of all trips in Minneapolis were done by walking and 5.1 percent by bicycle. Would you support spending more, the same amount, or less on building and maintaining bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?

Yes, I will support spending more.

6. In 2015, the City adopted a protected bikeway plan that identifies 48 miles of protected bikeways to be prioritized for implementation. (Protected bikeways are a bicycle route where there is a physical barrier of some kind between bikes and cars, and have been shown to be safer and more comfortable than unprotected bike lanes.) Do you support implementing the protected bikeway plan even if it could mean losing parking or traffic lanes for cars in some corridors?

Yes I do support implementing the bike way plan even if it means losing parking or traffic lanes.

7. In 2016, we published a report that looked at those stopped by police while riding a bike, and why. We found that it was very likely that police were profiling young black men, and were sometimes using minor infractions such as riding without lights or riding on a sidewalk in a business district as a pretense for a stop. Starting in 2014, Minneapolis police significantly reduced traffic enforcement of all kinds. Traffic violations continue to play a significant role in many biking and walking crashes in Minneapolis. With these factors in mind, how would you, or would you not, change how police enforce traffic laws in Minneapolis?

I think we have to have a balance. As a black man myself, i was a victim of police profiling. To target a certain race based on the notion that they are more likely to commit crimes is flawed. I think the approach is wrong and painful. I also think that we should ensure the safety of our bicyclist and pedestrians by enforcement. To me it's not an "either" "or" solution. I think we can abolish racial profiling and ensure the safety of our residents.

8. Public Works is currently studying policy options for winter maintenance of both bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. What changes, if any, would you like to see related to winter maintenance of sidewalks and bikeways?

Slick and snowy sidewalks are problematic for all pedestrians. When curb ramps and other pedestrian facilities are blocked by snow, it can also pose special mobility issues for those who don't drive—including persons with disabilities, children walking to school, commuters on foot to public transit, and older adults who no longer drive. I would like to see better communication - user-friendly website with “snow and ice removal,” “snow-and-ice frequently asked questions,” and “do your part.” This should be in multiple languages. Citizen assistance programs. Pre-treatment for anticipated snow or ice event. I think we should incorporate salt in our snow removal strategy. We should be mindful of the environmental risks of road salt use. I know that the University of Minnesota, has recalibrated its equipment to dispense smaller amounts of salt, which preserves the supply and is better for the environment.

9. Since 2010, an average of about 250 bicyclists and about 250 pedestrians have been hit and injured in Minneapolis each year, and about 40 have been killed. A number of cities around the country are taking a “Vision Zero” approach which seeks to eliminate all traffic deaths by taking a proactive approach to improving safety and targeting resources to problem areas and proven safety improvements. Would you or would you not support Minneapolis setting and working toward goals to eliminate traffic fatalities?

Yes I would.

10. What do you hope to accomplish to make Minneapolis and your ward better for bicycling and walking by the end of your term, if you are elected?

I hope to support more protected bike lanes and better infrastructure. I also would like to work with organizations like Cycles for Change to help educate new immigrant communities about biking.

Ward Specific Questions

a) Franklin Avenue is among the least safe streets in Minneapolis for people, no matter how they get around (its crash rate is 2.5 times what engineers consider “critical”). Safety improvements will be made this year from Bloomington Avenue to Minnehaha Avenue. How would you approach addressing safety and access concerns west of Bloomington Avenue?

I think safety improvements should also be made west of bloomington Avenue and i will make that a priority. I will be vocal in addressing this need both in my capacity as a Council Member and as a pedestrian commuter. I think It takes the commitment and involvement of many people to address this. I will make sure to work with our neighborhood organizations and residents to both educate and address safety and access concerns west of bloomington ave.

b) What specific corridor and/or street in your Ward do you feel is most in need of improved pedestrian and/or bicycle infrastructure? What kinds of improvements would you envision, and why is this particular connection important? 

I think Franklin Ave is certainly a corridor that needs many improvements. 24th street around village market is also an area that i know has many challenges. People double park and often park or drive on bike lanes. I will work with staff for both more signage and better protection for bikers. I will also work to designate 22nd street a pedestrian corridor. We need pedestrian lights and I will make sure to prioritize on that.

 

 

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