For those unfamiliar with the Midtown Greenway Coalition (MGC), they're a largely volunteer run non-profit that was fundamental in getting the Greenway built. Currently, they work to enhance and protect the Greenway through initiatives focused on artwork and place making, landscaping, clean-up, public safety, community outreach and transit advocacy. These initiatives are broken into respective committees so that interested volunteers may join whichever they see fit.
I've worked for the past year as a volunteer with the MGC and am interested in creating a stronger partnership between the MGC and the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. Within the past few years the two organizations have occasionally worked with one another, most notably when projects each is interested in pursuing overlap, for example the recent Park and Portland restriping (each street connects to Greenway ramps), or when collaborating on events such as the Winter Wonder Ride.
The MGC committee that most closely aligns with the mission and goals of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is their Improvements Committee. This committee actively participates in and promotes development, transit, land-use and safety in relation to the Greenway. Its members seek to improve Greenway amenities, access, signage, safety, and trail crossings and guide future development, land-use and transit-related construction.
January's Improvements Committee meeting consisted of speaking about upcoming projects for 2013, including a Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis (MCAA) that the Metropolitan Council is currently developing. The MCAA will determine what type of public transit will work the best, both functionally and economically, within the Greenway/Lake Street corridor. Options include light rail, streetcar and bus rapid transit in either the Greenway or on Lake Street. This future transit line would link the existing Hiawatha light rail line and the proposed Southwest Corridor light rail line. The potential exists within the Greenway to add a streetcar on the south side, creating another public transit benefit while increasing Greenway use, safety (through more eyes along the corridor), future connections to the Twin Cities growing public transit infrastructure, and development opportunities within Midtown.
The committee meets once a month at the MGC offices (next to the Midtown Freewheel bike shop) and is open to all. Interested volunteers may get in contact with Soren Jensen, MGC's Executive Director (Soren@midtowngreenway.org). Each month I plan to attend the meeting and report back to Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition followers with the hope that in doing so each organization will receive additional recognition and support from Minneapolis cyclists and nonmotorized transit advocates. Those interested in learning more about the Alternatives Analysis can attend a public Open House tonight and tomorrow, Jan. 28th and 29th.