Why I Support Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety on 38th Street East

Approximately one year ago I was biking away from Fireroast Cafe on 38th Street East when a car abruptly decided to turn north onto 36th Ave South and hit my rear tire. I was knocked off my bike and as I was collecting myself the driver apologized through their car window and then drove away. Then roughly six months ago, I received a phone call that one of my best friends who was living in Washington D.C had died. He was struck in a hit and run by a driver that failed to stop at a crosswalk.

The corner of 38th Street East and 36th Ave South.

These two moments make the discussion to install new bike lanes and crosswalks for the 38th Street East resurfacing project, from Minnehaha Ave to West River Parkway, particularly personal to me. I also happen to live two blocks south of 38th Street East and I frequently use it to walk and bike to the 38th Street Station, West River Parkway, and local businesses. The first Bicycle Master Plan from 2001, and all subsequent plans show 38th Street East as a bikeway. As the City of Minneapolis has identified, this project presents a great opportunity to act on the Complete Streets Policy that was passed in 2016. In this policy, the City of Minneapolis made the safety of the most vulnerable street users, pedestrians and bicycles, the highest priority because they are the most at risk.  This policy is meant to prioritize people as they walk and bike over people when they drive, and guide transportation related decision making. What is happening with 38th Street East is transportation related decision making.

For my own safety while biking, the safety of my friends who walk, and for the safety for all our community members this is a really important project. Right now there is the chance to make the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists the highest priority, over providing convenient parking. While this may be a smaller project, it presents a big question as to what our community values most.  Do we value the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, or convenient parking? For me, the answer is very clear.

Sign the petition here

Find additional project information here

Attend the community meeting on Tuesday, May 9 at 6:30 PM
at the Longfellow Recreation Center here

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28 Responses to Why I Support Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety on 38th Street East

  1. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller May 5, 2017 at 11:35 am #

    This post should be included in the featured scroll on the front page (it’s not currently).

  2. Aaron Berger May 5, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    I will say this about the petition (it was co-written by myself and my wife): it is particularly important to sign the petition if you live in Greater Longfellow or a neighboring community. Obviously you lose a certain amount of creative control when you start a public petition, but the goal is to demonstrate not just a citywide affinity for bicycling (which is incredibly important and without which we would never have gotten the complete streets policy) but specifically the utility of this bike lane to this neighborhood. If you do live in the neighborhood, please leave a comment about how you will use this bike lane.

    Thanks everybody for the attention to this important issue. We’ll see you on Tuesday.

  3. Rosa May 6, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    it keeps surprising me, even though it shouldn’t, how many of us have been hit by cars that then just drive away. As either cyclists or pedestrians.

    I just signed – I haven’t been hit on 38th but I do bike it pretty regularly.

  4. Dave Wilson May 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm #

    My condolences to you on the death of your friend. I hope we won’t have to offer our condolences to anyone else as the result of the creation of bike lanes on 38th street, but I am afraid we will. The community would have been better served with bumps outs, medians, etc on 38th st to slow traffic, and bike lanes on one … or
    even two parallel streets which are less traveled and closer to our schools and parks. I volunteer to take care of the white bikes with paint and flowers when the time comes. This is awful and sad.

    • Matthew Steele May 9, 2017 at 9:31 am #

      And how will we safely bike to and from the destinations that are actually on 38th St? The fauxconcern is appreciate though.

      • Dave Wilson May 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

        My fauxconcern ? I took a screen shot so i can remind you of your comments in the future. Wow

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller May 9, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

          You’ve brought your cyber-bullying over here now, eh? Great.

          • Bill Lindeke
            Bill Lindeke May 16, 2017 at 11:44 am #

            I’m disappointed in this conversation. One of the comment principles on this site is to not resort to ad hominem attacks.

            See: “streets.mn welcomes opinions from many perspectives. Please refrain from attacking or disparaging others in your comments. streets.mn sees debate as a learning opportunity. Please share your perspective in a respectful manner.”

    • Rosa May 9, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

      how do bike lanes make it less safe, by the way? I’m seeing people on facebook and nextdoor saying bike lanes cause driver road rage so someone’s going to get hurt, is that your argument?

      • Dave Wilson May 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

        I’d like to know the names of anyone talking about road rage, that’s too awful to imagine. I actually don’t believe you Rosa, but as you say someone said it so please name them.

        • Rosa May 9, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

          I’m not going to go wading through all the places people are arguing about this online to find them again, it just was striking how I saw several versions of this online within a few days.

          So, you’re not arguing bike lanes make bikes on 38th less safe due to road rage. What is it you’re arguing when you say the bike lanes make things less safe?

          For the record, I’ve been biking the stretch of 38th between Powderhorn and the Riverview since about 1999 – remember when there used to be a weird cheap scratch n dent food store at 38th & Hiawatha?

    • Eric Anondson
      Eric Anondson May 9, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

      Quiet streets parallel streets have nearly zero need for separated bike lanes, its busy arterials where things are lined up along that have need of separating cyclists from drivers.

    • Rosa May 11, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

      “I hope we won’t have to offer our condolences to anyone else as the result of the creation of bike lanes on 38th street, but I am afraid we will. ”

      You still haven’t said what your reasoning is on this. How will people die because bike lanes are added on 38th?

      • Eric Anondson
        Eric Anondson May 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

        My guess the reason to believe bike lanes will kill even more people goes something like this…

        1) Drivers are a force of nature we can do nothing but live with since there is no proven way to make drivers drive better or make drivers care more about people outside of cars.

        2) Lanes give a false sense of safety and will only attract even more cyclists into the meat grinder of status quo drivers.

        Therefore it can be plausibly believed cyclists will die in greater numbers.

        I would counter that painted lanes do an amazing job of guiding drivers to stay in their space and not collide with other cars, they will help equally well keep their vehicles from drifting into cyclists.

        Plus, it IS proven that the more cyclists are present the more drivers are aware on any single cyclist and drive more responsibly.


  5. wally May 7, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    as much as infrastructure is important, we need to change the overall behavior that motorists exhibit toward cyclists. we are scum of the earth. it is readily apparent from the amount of hit-and-runs and aggressive behavior directed toward us for no reason. driving is a privilege, and not everyone deserves to, or is responsible enough to operate a vehicle.

    • Jackie Williams May 11, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      Im appalled by the anger directed towards cyclist and pedestrians. Its scarey. Seems like once some people get behind the wheel, they are transformed into a raging high strung maniac. changing parking or making a street safer freaks everyone out. This same story is in the Tribune and the number of comments has exceed 300 in just one morning. The comments are all angry and accusatory. Bike lanes and cyclist are the root of evil. why are people so mad at people who bike & walk.

  6. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller May 8, 2017 at 9:38 am #

    This should not at all be controversial. But of course it is, because parking.

    Nevermind that almost no one even parks on this stretch.

  7. Aaron Berger May 9, 2017 at 10:16 am #

    Heads up – literally. The current plan includes parking *in the bike lane* from 6 am to noon in front of Fireroast Cafe. That includes the hour before Howe (grades 3-5, 8:30 am) and Dowling (grades K-5, 8:40 am) start school. I for one had actually planned on using this bike lane to take my son to school.

    How many cars can fit on a half block? Five? With 15 minute parking, at peak capacity you could have a new car every 3 minutes, which means a car pulling in or pulling out every 90 seconds and a door being opened from inside the car every 3 minutes. Not only do bicyclists have to weave into the car lane to go around parked cars, but they can’t even ride as far to the right as possible because of a higher than usual risk of getting doored.

    Even with the bikeway in hand, this design still perpetuates the belief that a bike lane is the second best use of a parking spot.

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