Thursday night I made a couple stops at two organizational meetings. It was finally time for BikeMinneapolis to get busy!
Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition – Franklin Ave Bike Lanes
First up, I stopped in to visit with the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and volunteers who got together and organize their efforts to advocate for the implementation of bike lanes on Franklin Ave, from Hennepin Ave to Minnehaha Ave. A couple of the volunteers arrived after biking on Franklin Ave and were more than convinced that improvements needed to be made. The goal is to talk with bicyclists who use Franklin Ave and to have them sign a petition, supporting bike lanes on Franklin Ave. The MBC volunteers will be reaching out to local residents, as well as neighborhood and business associations to get their backing, also.
According to a recent study, there are more than 500 bicycles per day riding along Franklin Ave. It is a main corridor between Uptown and the U of M. There are also 8 Nice Ride stations located within a block of Franklin Ave.
If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can still get involved. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how you can help by talking with cyclists and residents, and gathering petition signatures. There will also be an online petition form that you may sign. This link is forthcoming, but will be provided also by inquiring via email.
Lastly, Transit for Livable Communities will be hosting a meeting at 7:30pm Monday, May 7 at Philips Community Center (2323 11th Avenue S.) to discuss future bike and pedestrian improvements on Franklin Avenue. Please come share your ideas and show your support to make Franklin Avenue more bike-friendly.
Midtown Greenway Coalition – Crime Prevention Task Force
After visiting with the MBC Crew, I rode over to the Midtown Greenway offices to sit in on the Crime Prevention Task Force being formed by the Midtown Greenway Coalition. In attendance were Midtown Greenway board members, volunteers, and two representatives from the 3rd and 5th Precincts of the Minneapolis Police.
Susan gave an informative report on Trail Watch, the Midtown Greenway’s own safety patrol, which is staffed by volunteers. Trail Watch riders make nightly rides watching for and reporting suspicious/criminal activity to 911, assist cyclists with break-downs and flats, and help to educate riders. They have even supplied lights to riders without lights. Find out more and learn how to volunteer for Trail Watch. Volunteers are eligible for discounts at Midtown Freewheel Bike!
The 3rd and 5th Precincts representatives from the MPD then made available to the Board and volunteers some crime-report data they had assembled from the last 3-5 months which illustrated just how safe the Midtown Greenway actually is, especially compared to other crime reports from street level. Even though this was good news, the Board was clear in stating it’s platform of crime prevention and improved safety measures for the Greenway. The steady growth in heavy trail usage has dictated that improvements and new measures need to be discussed and implemented to ensure continued safe use of the Greenway.
It was decided that Susan would implement a campaign to sign-up more Trail Watch Volunteers. Gabriel will collect data of lighting conditions throughout the Greenway and report back next month to determine what improvements could be addressed in terms of better lighting. It was agreed upon that any needs for new and improved signage, cameras, and the question of using private security patrols would be discussed at the next scheduled Crime Prevention Task Force meeting on Monday, June 11, 2012 at 6pm.
It was a fun and productive night, and it was great getting to know some of the passionate cyclists we have working in our community for bicycle advocacy. The next time you are riding down Franklin Ave or the Midtown Greenway, please remember that there are many hard working people giving time and resources to make cycling even better in the Twin Cities. Please consider getting involved. It’s easy to become a member or volunteer… Almost as easy as riding a bike!