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 typically carpool to work in the mornings of a regular day with my wife Anne, who also works downtown. I am certainly a big walker and user of our sidewalks and trails and a recreational biker around lakes and on off street trails.
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?
For a period of a couple of years, while living in downtown Chicago, I did not have access to a car, so I was definitely transit dependent. This was a very helpful experience, as I found it efficient and cost-effective, eliminating the need for insurance, car payments, operating costs and of course parking. As this was in the 1990s, it was not from a health or environmental perspective, simply the easiest and best way to get around. The experience was limiting in some ways, but liberating in many more, I was more planful and sought ways to explore the city, get to and from work, access mass transit as well as take alternative options in and out of town for travel. Though I made this decision out of personal preference, I became much more attuned to the fellow transit riders who made the choice out of necessity. Strollers, shopping and work related options were limited to parents of youngsters, seniors and children. Schedules, extracurricular options, social options and employment opportunities were limited by mobility, rather than choice. Availability, access and safety are the issues people faced at the time.
3. Describe any past work or accomplishments that you have been involved with around the areas of bicycling or walking issues in your community.
As a 2nd term council member, the greatest accomplishments have been the adoption of the city's bike master plan, the development and evolution of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, bike sharing programs, Safe Routes to Schools and the strong relationship with the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and the support of the Open Streets Programs. The city has truly embraced biking - not as a hobby, sport or recreational activity, but incorporating it into our everyday, year-round life. It is an accepted and expanding part of our landscape.
As we formalized and "professionalized" our advisory committee, we changed from an an ad-hoc advocate focused group to be a policy driven, inclusive as mayoral and ward appointments board that had the a dedicated and professional staff serving the group. This has strengthened in many ways over the past 7 years, and now is incorporating different ages, cultures and modes of transportation. Blending the disability committee along with pedestrian focused advisory into the conversation along with Bike advocates has made the experience more inclusive, equitable and safer for residents and visitors alike.
My personal involvement most recently has been the strong support and effort to fund the implementation of a long-term and aggressive bike infrastructure investment.
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.
I do now and will continue to support the Complete Streets Policy, and proud of the vote I made to adopt the policy.
Building upon the guidance provided through the Access Minneapolis transportation policy plan, the Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth (also known as the Comprehensive Plan), and other policies, we developed the Complete Streets Policy to inform the decision-making that happens at all stages of transportation projects and initiatives.
Complete Streets now requires that planning staff and leadership prioritize transportation users in the following order: pedestrians, bicyclists or transit users, than those driving automobiles. We are putting people before cars.
I personally do not prioritize one mode over another as part of my decision-making process however on an individual project. I believe that that practice is picking winners and losers, and does not serve the overall objectives of the policy or genuinely engage all stakeholders.
There is a natural tension between residents and businesses when it comes to parking, but each situation demands open and genuine engagement. Following a plan on paper is one dimensional and does not take into account multiple perspectives. Minneapolis strives to do better – to be more environmentally sustainable.
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?
I support spending the same amount on an annual basis, though we should be maximizing the return on that investment and diversifying the sources for those expenditures. Issuing debt as part of the capital budgeting process, especially in light of the historic streets and neighborhood infrastructure investment ordinance provides the approach, prioritization and flexibility to meet our needs for the next 20 years.
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?
I feel that our Complete Streets Policy, Master Plan and Protected Bikeway Plan are compatible and supportive of our goals and plans for our transportation corridors. The reality is, we have probably already done the easy ones, and picked off the corridors where it is easiest to administer.
The hard part going forward I believe will to prioritize and match resources with plans. Timing and opportunities will arise for modifications. We should follow the course in terms of when reconstruction, resurfacing and seal-coating provides opportunity - and be extremely cautious to coordinate scheduled and planned projects within the CIP/CLIC process.
Parking is a precious resource for the vitality of our business nodes - and we are a community that enjoys and supports that community. I am supportive of making those tough calls under the assumption that our goals will be achieved and unintended consequences are considered. I also support robust community engagement, and consider decision-making in opposition to what we understand from stakeholders is not genuine. We should value and act on the counsel from our advisory bodies, jurisdictional partners, stakeholders and that of our professional staff.
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 would seek guidance from the law enforcement agencies involved. Rather than punitive enforcement through citations, I always encourage conversations and engagement over confrontation. This practice is consistent with the objectives and practices of the community policing model - and is a way to engage more people in a respectful and equitable way. It will take more time and effort - but it is a way to enhance and build trust with the community and in our best interests as a city.
Additionally, we need to have a consistent practice when we engage the community and build trust with interactions. I advocate for Park Police to provide a higher presence and involvement by parkways and park areas in encouraging and modeling behavior. The same expectations would apply for MPD officers, especially downtown and around major event spaces when on bike patrol. I am a huge fan of the Bike Cops for Kids program and their frequent interactions with young people as part of their patrol assignments.
Working closely with other jurisdictions, especially MetoTransit Police and University of Minnesota Police Department, and Minneapolis Reserves, and Traffic Enforcement, as managed through our regulatory services department - we need to expand the definition of law enforcement.
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?
I am most interested in winter plowing considerations and enhanced removal of snow on residential and business corners, cutouts and lane connections - especially on arterial streets, parkways and areas around business nodes and schools.
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?
I am very supportive of Minneapolis setting ambitious goals for the reduction of traffic injuries and fatalities. Once meaningful goals are established, the resources and multi-juristical policies and partnerships will need to be in alignment. Resources, prioritization and political will need to be provided.
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 look forward to continuing to improve the multi-modal and intermodal options available to residents and businesses. By the end of the next term in office, I hope that the accepted norm is that bicycle and pedestrians feel and are safer - and that shared space and increased usage is seen and experienced.
This will be measured by number of miles added to the system, bike storage facilities at business nodes, reduced crash reports and an increase in the percentage of riders making use of walking/bicycling to work or school.
The single project that sticks in my craw is the need to finish the last 2 blocks of Portland Avenue lanes - cross the bridge at 62 and seamlessly enter Richfield. The completion of this segment represents not only 2 blocks of Minneapolis bike lanes - but redefines the county and municipal relationships and shared objectives to make biking and walking safer. 2 blocks is small - but meaningful.
Ward Specific Question
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?
From a pedestrian perspective - I am most interested in continuing to advance the need to establish School Zone Speed Limits and the Safe Routes to School Programs that will provide 4 all way stops at intersections around school buildings, and consider enhanced controls on arterial streets within 6 blocks of a school. At key intersections or crossing areas by all schools, I would focus on 50th street at 2 points by Washburn High School, the intersections around Lake Nokomis Community School - Wenonah Campus. Hale School and Our Lady of Peace are outstanding examples of innovative traffic crossings. Windom has low traffic volumes and is good condition from what school administrators and personal observations provide.
The other focus would be on Park Areas where traffic is high and children are r[present this is especially heightened around Pearl Park at Diamond Lake Road and Portland Avenues as well as MacRae Park at 46th.
From a bike infrastructure perspective, I will work on improving North/South connections along Bloomington Avenue and Lyndale Avenues. I also wish to focus attention on the route of the Inter-City Regional Trails by Edgewater and Cedar, Cedar Avenues and the Parkways and the extent of Lyndale Avenue.