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Pedestrian Advisory Committee Resolution

 

To:         Minneapolis City Council, Minneapolis Public Works

From: Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Date: June 5, 2019

Subject: Transportation Action Plan feedback on Phase 2 engagement

 

TAP feedback on Phase 2 engagement

Walking, biking, and using transit will make the greatest strides toward meeting the goals of the Transportation Action Plan, especially climate, safety, mobility, and equity. Driving personal vehicles works against these goals. Therefore, prioritizing walking, biking, and transit in all projects, policies, and seasons is the only way to succeed in meeting the City's goals, and the opinions of those who predominantly use those modes are the opinions that matter. The Pedestrian Advisory Committee's goals are the City's stated goals. Here is our feedback by topic: 

 

Advanced mobility

The PAC is opposed to autonomous vehicles. If they become a reality here, their speeds must be limited to a rate that poses no threat to human life. 

We support electric buses, and respect the slightly reduced climate impact that electric vehicles offer in general, but all private vehicles pose the same threats to safety regardless of fuel source.

 

Freight

The PAC would like to ban large freight trucks on City streets. Large trucks are too often cited as the limiting factor for sidewalk widths and safe corners and crossings (especially because of turning radii). Instead, reduce trips, design corners for use smaller vehicles, use pickup hubs, and make non-motorized alternatives like hand carts and cargo bikes available to borrow or rent. 

 

Bicycle

The PAC supports protected bike lanes, but would like to convert them to shared streets as motorized traffic is reduced.

Bike and scooter share should be more abundant and not limited to hubs.

 

Transit

The PAC supports more transit everywhere. Always. 

Ensure transit access to all areas of the City and its amenities, including all parks, business nodes, entertainment venues, and residential areas regardless of wealth. 

Develop snow and ice clearance practices that prioritize safe access to transit for people with all physical abilities.

The PAC supports free transit for everyone. Barring that, reduced rates should be expanded.

There should be direct, frequent routes connecting all areas of the City. Our network has many gaps.

Transit is and must be seen as valuable even where ridership is low. When people can reach any destination by transit at any time of day, they will feel more confident in relying on it.

 

Street Design 

Reduce width and number of all vehicle lanes, including immediate 4-to-3 conversions on every four lane street and road in the city. 

Widen all sidewalks for all new or enhancement projects.

Employ abundant traffic calming measures.

Add human-scale infrastructure and services for people who don't have cars for storage or escape:

- Public restrooms at predictable intervals. Lack of safe, accessible public restrooms disproportionately excludes people who menstruate or are (or have been) pregnant, queer people, people with disabilities, elderly, children, and poor people.

- Benches. Walking requires resting (or readjusting what one's wearing/carrying, or meeting up with others) for many people. We need many more benches (and low walls/alcoves/etc.) to support walkability, transit, and biking.

- Lockers. Many venues and businesses prohibit you from carrying bags inside.

- Shelter. Bike parking, awnings, and other rain and sun protection. 

- Wayfinding, signage, and lighting

- Public art and green spaces

Create city guidelines to limit block lengths for walking. Reconnect the grid for people, not for cars.

Stop co-locating curb ramps and storm sewers. Develop systems for sidewalk and crosswalk drainage.

Prioritize walking and biking at bridges and other "pinch points."

 

Street operations 

Always prioritize pedestrian and bicycle safety and access over automobile speed and convenience. 

Reduce speeds on all streets, especially county corridors, via both traffic calming, street design and posted limits.

Phase out signalized intersections except near trains.

In the meantime, time all signals to facilitate movement at walking speeds.

Prohibit right turn on red at all traffic signals

Educate drivers to stop at — not after — signals and signs, and enforce it. 

Institute automated speed and red light enforcement via cameras, etc.

Clear snow and ice from sidewalks, corners, and bus stops first.

Establish regular cars-free days like have been introduced in major cities around the world.

Remove private vehicles (with exceptions for ADA needs) from community corridors and bus routes. "Arterials" cannot effectively be high-density residential (low-income housing), transit routes, community corridors, truck routes, and high-volume motor vehicle streets all at the same time.

Rapidly phase out one-ways and multiple lanes of traffic in one direction, including downtown.

Improve detours to prioritize walking and bicycling movements. Never remove walking/biking routes unless all modes are detoured. 

Improve alleys as walking and bicycling connections, including ADA compliance, drainage, and signage.

Have a plan to automatically shift road space allocation so that as X% of people walk or bike along a corridor, automatic street improvement Y happens.

As we phase out cars, we need to be ready to shift the immense amount of paved public space to better, more creative uses, year-round. Free (or paid) parking spaces shouldn't only be available to those with cars, but should be made available to everyone and for many uses. 

 

Pedestrian

The ideas in the Pedestrian section of the current TAP draft represent positive baby steps toward improving walking in Minneapolis. However, to truly make it a walk-friendly City, and to effectively meet the TAP's goals, more drastic action is needed. Reducing vehicle use (and speeds) is much more important than improving sidewalks. We need systems-level, culture-level change.

Reduce level of service as a metric for private vehicles. Design streets for the mode-share shift we need, not the mode-share we now have after decades of prioritizing private motor vehicles. 

Increase barriers to driving via a rapid increase in gas tax, car ownership taxes, parking costs, ticketing based on income, or other measures so that drivers feel the actual cost of driving. 

Incentivize car-free living.

Normalize and center sustainable transportation in City communications, and educate car drivers about why changes are needed. Cars and driving should be talked about least, last, and with acknowledgement of the harm they cause. 

Place equity and data-driven best practices before the opinions of those accustomed to being heard.

Push Hennepin County and other agencies to facilitate these changes, even if it means being responsible for more of the financial burden.

Rewrite road reconstruction/street planning processes so that major intersections are not the end points of project plans and thus never able to be improved.

Create processes and systems for necessary change to happen fast. 

Treat locations with crashes as the emergency they are. Same for sidewalk gaps and sidewalks that aren't ADA compliant. Anything causing death or immobility deserves an immediate response.

We appreciate the thought and engagement that Public Works staff has put into the TAP process to this point. 

 

 

Last updated Jun 13, 2019

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