MARQ2 Leaves Cyclists with Few Downtown Routes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The City of Minneapolis’ MARQ2 project has left Minneapolis cyclists with few options for accessing downtown by bicycle.

“Transit improvements are an important step forward for Minneapolis, but this project has left us with very few options for bicycling in downtown,“ said Michael Jones, a cyclist who commutes daily into downtown Minneapolis.  “We want to work with the City to get a strong plan in place for improving bicycle access to downtown.”

“Second and Marquette were very popular bicycle routes through downtown,” said Billy Binder, a former aide to Mayor Don Fraser and to City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes and frequent downtown bicyclist.  “Minneapolis should not be removing bike lanes in downtown, Minneapolis should be adding bike lanes downtown to accommodate the growing number of bicyclists.  Added lanes will get bikes off the sidewalks, improving safety for both pedestrians and bike riders.”

The MARQ2 project added two bus-only lanes to Second Avenue and Marquette Avenue, but removed bicycle facilities from the new configuration.  No bicycle lanes were added on adjacent streets, leaving no dedicated north/south bicycle lanes anywhere between 1st Avenue and Portland Avenue in downtown.

“We need a real plan for improving bicycle access to destinations in Minneapolis, including downtown,” said Jeremy Werst, who runs the popular website Minneapolis Bike Love.  “I’m tired of politicians claiming that Minneapolis will be the #1 city for bicycling with no plan in place to make that happen.”

These and other bicyclists have recently organized to form the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, which will advocate for a more bicycle-friendly Minneapolis where bicycling is encouraged and everyone, age 8 to 80, can feel comfortable riding.

“Minneapolis bicyclists should have more of a voice in how the City’s street network is designed,” said Ryan Bender, who lives and bicycles in downtown.  “We need to start building a bicycle network that works for families, seniors, commuters, people running errands, and people who don’t feel comfortable in the middle of traffic.”

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition began meeting in October 2009 and has chosen four areas of advocacy: 1) improve the Minneapolis Bike Plan, 2) advocate for better downtown biking, 3) increase bike parking in Uptown and Longfellow, 4) bring a ciclovia to Minneapolis for World Health Day 2010.

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Contact: 

Michael Jones, michael.jones@capella.edu

Billy Binder, billyb1943@aol.com

Jeremy Werst, jeremy.werst@gmail.com

Ryan Bender, jrb314@gmail.com

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