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.
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