BIKE LANES 38TH
In 2017, Minneapolis Public Works plans to resurface 38th Street East. Resurfacing provides an opportunity to improve pedestrian crossings, and, as envisioned by the Minneapolis Bike Master Plan, to potentially stripe the street for bike lanes on both sides. On May 9, 2017 at 6:30pm a meeting will be held at Longfellow Recreation Center 3435 - 36th Ave S to unveil the bike lane plans.
Mother Earth Gardens has expressed an opinion about these plans that some in our biking community have found surprising: Along with the other businesses on 38th Street, we opposed the original plan to remove all parking, and were actively working with Minneapolis Public Works to come up with a balanced design. There are a number of reasons why, and we will attempt to enumerate the pros and cons here.
First, we are wholeheartedly in support of the Minneapolis Complete Streets Initiative, which is intended to support healthier, safer transportation options in the city, and to work with all modes of transportation in cooperation to improve our shared roadways and decrease dependence on automobiles.
So why did we oppose the original 38th Street plan? Longfellow does not currently have a dedicated east-west bicycle specific corridor. We would love to see this change, but of the 15 streets between Lake Street and 46th Street, 38th St is the only one with a very specific combination of challenges:
- multiple parking and delivery dependent businesses
-the inability to widen the street (without reconstruction), necessitating the removal of parking on both sides of street
-an emergency route linking the fire station with Becketwood and other health dependent residents
-several houses and apartments that face 38th whose owners will lose parking in front of their homes
-an historic Minneapolis landmark in the 700 seat Riverview Theater, which requires upwards of 40 parking spots on 38th alone during weekend movies and the numerous community events that the theater sponsors
The representatives from Minneapolis Public Works met with us about our concerns. The revised plan keeps three 15-minute morning only spots in front of Fireroast Mountain Cafe, and three evening only spots at the Riverview node. We think this is wholly inadequate, and have suggested numerous alternatives, but we have finally understood from the City that no other streets will be considered as alternatives.
We are all in this together. We are all in favor of bike lanes. We all would like to see those bike lanes on one (or more!) of the numerous east-west streets in Longfellow that don't present this unique set of obstacles. We have repeatedly suggested 42nd Ave, a street that is wide enough to maintain parking and long enough to stretch from the Mississippi River bike paths to the western chain of lakes. We suggested that 42nd be striped for bike lanes this year, while solutions for possible reconstruction of 38th St E are explored to balance our community's needs. We hold out hope that this is an option the City and Councilperson Andrew Johnson will entertain, because 145 parking places will be removed in July from a mile and a half stretch from Minnehaha to the River Road.
The four small, independent businesses on 38th Street are opposed to a plan that would remove all parking, which would cause serious financial and logistical harm to the unique, successful, vibrant small businesses that Longfellow loves and supports. We don't wish to engage in hyperbole and say that this would mean the immediate end of the businesses on 38th Street. But when you really start thinking about it - about the inability of the mom with three kids to park on 38th Street to see a movie, or the elderly person who can't get a close spot to pick up geraniums, or the residents who can't move their vehicles to 38th during a snow emergency, or the commuter who has to park around the corner and down the block to get a morning coffee, you can see that a lot of these folks might decide it's not worth the time or effort. And if enough people decide to go somewhere else, and one of the business owners concludes that the challenges have become too great, then the others lose that business owner's customers too. And while the coffeeshops and the garden store might be able to put down roots elsewhere, the historically significant, civic gem that is the Riverview Theater, pulling audiences from the entire metro area, cannot simply move.
Please, consider this carefully. We would like a balance that keeps our bicyclists safer, our pedestrians safer, and our local businesses strong and intact. Thank you, as always, for your support.
Link to Bikeway Plan HERE
Link to Mpls Complete Streets HERE
Fill out Longfellow Community Council Public Survery HERE
Contact Public Works: 38thStBikeway@minneapolismn.gov
Contact Ward 12 City Council Representative Andrew Johnson: Andrew.Johnson@minneapolismn.gov