City Council approves best-ever bike/walk budget

Late on December 10th, the City Council adopted the 2015 budget. It includes unprecedented support for biking and walking--thanks to tremendous elected official leaders and strong community support.

A few highlights:

  • $750,000 for protected bikeways.This will build 3-6 miles of protected bike lanes next year and get the City rolling toward the important goal of 30 new miles by 2020. A network of protected bike lanes will help connect our amazing trail system with downtown, business districts, and neighborhoods allowing many more people to be safe and comfortable biking for all kinds of activities. We are happy the budget also includes funding in 2016 as well.

  • City support for up to 8 Open Streets events in 2015.

  • A restructuring of the Public Works department, which has the potential to really revolutionize how the City does street projects for the better. We think this change will yield big cost savings, allow the city to attract additional outside resources for projects, better engage the public about important street decisions, and yield improved results for projects.

  • $350,000 for dedicated ongoing funding for walking and biking safety projects. These funds allow Public Works to implement walking and biking safety improvements proactively and as part of projects and are critical for the City reducing the average of about 450 people who are injured and 3.5 people who are killed each year walking or biking in our city. Those improvements range from partnerships with Hennepin County on projects like the 44th Ave N and Osseo Road intersection to intersection safety improvements along 15th Ave SE after Audrey Hull was killed to proactive improvements to intersections with high crash rates.

  • $391,000 for improved bikeway and sidewalk snow removal. This will be targeted to protected bikeways and clearing sidewalk corners near bus routes.

  • The Hiawatha Trail connection from Midtown Greenway to 32nd Street.

  • The 26th Ave N Greenway as part of that street reconstruction.

  • Big walking/biking improvements as part of Hennepin-Lyndale reconstruction.

  • Protected bike lanes on 26th/28th Street as party of that repaving.

We'd like to thank Mayor Betsy Hodges, who was the architect of this great bike/walk budget. Big thanks also to Council Member Lisa Bender, who was a strong champion throughout and authored a last-minute addition to continue Open Streets support, Council Member Kevin Reich, who has made a lot of this possible through his leadership on the Transportation and Public Works Committee, and Council Members Gordon, Glidden, Cano, Andrew Johnson, who were always there championing things throughout. The entire City Council was involved and supportive and make this possible.

We'll see more of this in 2015 (!):

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