The Minneapolis 2040 plan, the overall guide to the city’s future is done. Now work is beginning on one key element of the plan: Transportation.
The Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan is a 10-year Public Works program that will guide planning, design and use of city streets. It used to be called “Access Minneapolis.” Now it’s #GoMpls. It’s determinedly bike-, pedestrian- and transit-friendly. On April 3, First Ward Council Member Kevin Reich gave Northeast residents a preview of what will be discussed at listening sessions throughout the city.
The Transportation Action Plan will address six goals:
- Climate: Use technology, design and options to reduce greenhouse emissions.
- Safety: Work toward zero traffic deaths in the city.
- Equity: Increase access to reliable transportation for everyone in the city.
- Prosperity: Provide reliable mobility options that move people and goods through the city.
- Mobility: Use innovation in transportation and technology to improve traffic systems throughout the city.
- Partnerships: Work with regional, state, federal agencies and other investors in the city to leverage funding opportunities.
Working toward zero deaths
Between 2006 and 2015, Minneapolis experienced 106 traffic deaths. Pedestrians accounted for 35 of those deaths; 14 occurred to a person riding a bike; 57 happened to someone who was driving or riding in a car. More crashes occurred in low-income neighborhoods. In Ward 1, crashes were concentrated on Central Avenue, Lowry Avenue, Broadway Street and University Avenue.
As speeds increased, so did traffic deaths. Thirteen percent of traffic deaths occurred at 20 miles per hour, 40% at 30 mph and 73% at 40 mph. Speed limits are currently set by the Minnesota legislature. The Public Works department is working with legislators to allow the city to set its own speed limits.
More short trips
People are making more short trips these days, and the city would like to see them use something other than a car to get to and from their destinations. Currently, 30% of all trips are less than three miles. The average trip for a bicyclist is three miles; the average trip for a scooter is 1.3 miles.
Scooters are low-carbon options for getting around, and you can expect to see more of them in the bike lanes (not on the sidewalks). Mobility hubs for scooters will be in place this summer. (By the way, 1,587 trips were made on motorized scooters last year, according to Public Works statistics.)
Although bike use is up considerably, there have been fewer bike-related crashes in recent years, compared to the 1990s.
That’s a fancy name for shared fleets of vehicles, preferably electric. Presenters talked about having a “connected infrastructure” of these vehicles that would give them the ability to “talk” to each other.
Increasing use of mass transit
The city is studying ways to increase ridership on buses and light rail. Public Works planners noted that 18% of the 30,000 people who used public transit in 2016 do not have access to a vehicle.
Increased freight movement
The city expects the movement of freight through the city to increase 40% by 2040. That’s due to the package “delivery boom” brought on by the increase on online ordering. They hope to “incent” delivery companies to use lower-carbon-emission vehicles. Planners are working with trucking companies to determine where they actually make deliveries, and are taking a hard look at truck route systems in the city.
Streets make up 22% of Minneapolis’ land area. Making streets safer, easier to navigate and more pedestrian-friendly is one of the city’s goals. Calming traffic with speed bumps and roundabouts, planting shade trees on busy streets such as Lowry Avenue and figuring out how to deal with all the new, higher-density developments that have been built in recent years will send planners to the drawing board.
Your input wanted
Community workshops will be held around the city to give citizens a chance to share ideas with Public Works planners. The first, to be held in Northeast, may have already occurred by the time this issue of the Northeaster reaches your doorstep. It’s Tuesday, April 16, 4-6 p.m. at the Northeast Recreation Center, 1530 Johnson Street NE.
Other dates and locations include April 22, 4-6 p.m., Doty Boardroom, Central Library (downtown); April 24, 5-7 p.m., Farview Recreation Center, 621 N. 29th Avenue; May 9, 5-7 p.m., Longfellow Recreation Center, 3435 36th Ave. S.
On April 30, an Online Open House will be held, 6:30-7:30 p.m., https://www.facebook.com/cityofminneapolis/;