Some of the People Trying to #FixLyndale

Lyndale Ave Protest 2

Photo by Tony Webster

By popular demand, we moved the recent streets.mn Happy Hour (a good time was had by all) over to Lyndale Avenue earlier this month to team up with the group of courageous and dedicated folks who are trying to make it safe to cross Lyndale Avenue South on foot. They held what they called the “Broken Promises” demonstration on Lyndale Avenue between 25th and 27th Streets,  and crossed the street as is their legal right to do so.

I got to interview some of the over 60 folks who showed up for the demonstration. Apologies in advance for not including more voices here.

My name is Glen Johnson. We were crossing 25th and Lyndale because there have been car crashes, people have been killed on that corner and Hennepin County is not changing the format, or doing any sort of thing beyond putting up some bollards to try to stop people from dying on that corner.

At first it was a little scary, because you’re crossing the street with people that are angry in their cars honking at you, laying on their horn, being a little aggressive. But we had a cop that came by and said “I’m here because I want you to to be safe.” And he said “you really need a zebra crossing here, with stripes and lights.” And we said, yes we do!” And he said, “contact the city council.” And we all said, “It’s not the City Council that’s stopping this. It’s the county.” Even our own police officers don’t know this is not a city jurisdiction. It’s the county that needs attention.

I hope this gets attention to this issue. Contact county commissioners. Hopefully we’ll get some changes but its tough because the county is so big and Minneapolis is one small part. It takes some pressure.

 

I am Ian R Buck. We were just doing the “safe streets save lives” protest for February. This is the “broken promises” version of the protest because Hennepin County said they were going to do more than they actually have.

The issue with Lyndale is that is 4-lane road that is very, very difficult to cross without getting injured or killed. And we were just out there crossing the street in legal, unmarked crosswalks repeatedly.

The police were not very helpful to our cause. They tried to block off traffic coming towards us from a block north and south from where we were, so we moved the protest north. We started out on 27th, and ended up on 25th and Lyndale.

We had an incident with a driver intentionally hitting on of the protestors, and we made sure that that driver wasn’t able to leave until a police report was taken and insurance was exchanged and things like that. So that was probably the most interesting moment of the night.

 

My name is Cadence and I was out on Lyndale today because I believe that there are some pretty simple design changes that the County could make to make Lyndale safer, and in addition to that, there’s a lack of awareness of education for people driving who don’t actually know the laws.

And there were actually some really positive interactions with people today who were like, “why are you out there?” And we were like, “this is a crosswalk, you have to stop when someone’s waiting to cross the street.” There was one person who was driving who was like, “This is great. This is awesome. I’ll wait here all day.” And that was really positive.

So I hope, one person at a time, you go home and tell your family that you’re actually supposed to not hit people with your car. So I enjoyed that.

There’s a number of bikeway projects right now the city of Minneapolis is seeking feedback on. Broadway Avenue NE just had a partial 4-3 conversion, and they have a survey out for folks to submit how safe they feel at particular stretches. I recommend people go fill that out.

 

My name is Aaron. I used to live on 26 and Garfield right here in Whittier. I would always see interesting business on the opposite site of Lyndale, and wouldn’t have the wherewithal to cross because of the traffic and insanity. And when Open Streets opened in summer, it was this oasis in this usual urban hellscape. It really opened my eyes to what a safe street could be.

I’m a long time bike commuter and advocate, and Open Streets really opened my eyes to the kind of street that Lyndale or any Hennepin County Road could be. I’m out here fighting for a 4-3 conversion and safety for people in cars, people walking, and hoping that Hennepin County will listen to us.

It was a huge success. We shut down lyndale for 3 blocks. We didn’t even intend to do that, we just wanted to cross the street. And when the cops blocked traffic, we moved to the next block which is where Ted Ferrara died. We able to to stop traffic and spread the message, and hopefully Hennepin County will listen.

 

My name is Risa Hustad. I was on Lyndale and 27th today because I want Lyndale Avenue to be a safe street for all users.

I’m a person who drives, I’m a person who bikes, I’m a person who walks, I’m a person who uses transit, and I know that I am only physically safe on Lyndale when I’m in a car. And I also know that as a driver, Lyndale is a shit show. It is effectively one sad, serpentine, sweeping lane of traffic. It is not an effective use of public space, and I know that I’m not going to be allowed to use it if I’m on a bicycle or on foot. And I think that needs to change. I don’t want to be paying a tax dollars towards a corridor that I can only use in one mode of transportation.

We blew our expectations out of the water. We wanted to see 30 to 50 people, and there were more than 60 people who showed up tonight. We had to change a couple plans because of the weird cold weather and also traffic closures on the route, and we did that with some real agility and professionalism, I thought.

I think we reached a lot of people. We had a lot of literature available for those people, and we had real quality conversations with some of the drivers that were waiting for us to cross the street. I thought it was exceptional. We did a great job.

Every person needs to get in contact with their county commiseration and tell them what they think about being able to use Lyndale. It can’t just be us in the Twin Cities who are… I grew up on 25th, and all of my behavior was controlled by whether or not I had to cross Lyndale to get to my destinations. It can’t just be us folks living in this dense urban area in Minneapolis asking for that change. The whole county needs to be, “hey!”, we want an agile system that allows us to address concerns on county streets. Not just for Lyndale in Minneapolis, we need it for the Old Shakopee in Bloomington. We need it for areas in the North Suburbs. we need it for the whole county.

Follow #fixLyndale on Twitter if you’d like to stay in the loop about this ongoing situation.

Lyndale Protest 3

“The cops blocked traffic for two blocks to keep us out of sight of drivers. We just walked two blocks and kept going.” Photo and caption by Tim Pate.

 

Lyndale Ave Protest 1

Photo by Tony Webster.

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4 Responses to Some of the People Trying to #FixLyndale

  1. Mike Sonn
    Mike Sonn February 25, 2020 at 10:29 am #

    MPD blocking traffic to avoid the demonstration even further hammers home the fact that Lyndale doesn’t need all the lanes currently on there.

  2. Ian R Buck February 25, 2020 at 1:43 pm #

    There is an official Twitter account folks can follow now!
    https://twitter.com/safestreetssave

  3. Jesse Peterson-Brandt February 26, 2020 at 9:17 am #

    Hey maybe off-topic but Bill can we get some streets.mn shirts that say “ask me about 4-3 conversions?”

  4. Scott February 26, 2020 at 10:14 am #

    Great post and effort by these concerned citizens!

    Why does the County even need to own Lyndale in Minneapolis, as well as other dangerous corridors like Lake, Franklin, and Broadway? It’s not like they’re spending a lot of money making the streets great. Lyndale hasn’t been reconstructed since 1954- 66 years ago! They sure aren’t providing a lot of value, and the street isn’t even on a list to be improved any time soon.

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