Cyclists, walkers speak out on Central Corridor

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From writing directly on the plans to voicing their opinions and recommendations, cyclists and walkers at the Bike-Walk Central Corridor Action Plan open house on Feb. 19 at the Central Corridor Resource Center spoke their minds.

“The light rail, the whole point of it, I think is good,” said 24-year-old cyclist Steve Gjerdingen. “As far as the biking goes, I feel like the important thing is that somehow they’re included in the equation.”

The 20-25 people at the open house were surrounded by walls of maps showing proposed bike and walk trail routes with the proposed Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (LRT). Attendees were encouraged to write comments directly on the plans.

“All of our planning on Central Corridor has been really collaborative and involving a lot of community input,” city planner Jess Rosenfeld said. “It’s a good way for us to have a record of what everybody has said.”

One map had about 45 Post-it notes full of comments. Cyclists and walkers know the area better than anyone, so they offered suggestions, such as: “Jackson is too steep here. Not actually a viable route this far north,” and “Big gap here need bike lane on University.”

Consultant on the LRT Greg Ingraham explained that having an open house for residents to come and comment has been used many times in planning the LRT. “It’s not my quote but I stole it from somebody, ‘Entertain all ideas royally because one of them may be king.’ The idea there is, I don’t know everything,“ he said. “People that live in the neighborhood or have biked or walked in the Central Corridor, they probably have really good ideas.”

According to the Bike Walk Central Corridor website, “the goal of the Bike Walk Central Corridor Action Plan is to enhance biking and walking to and within the Central Corridor and foster bicycling and walking as a major portion of the transportation solution.”

Not everyone, however, is enthused about the Central Corridor LRT.

“See, I’ve always been against light rail,” Benita Warns, a member of the Minnesota Nonmotorized Transportation
Advisory Committee
, said. “Actually, I’m not totally against it, just on University Avenue. We wouldn’t be having these discussions today and all these problems if they put it along the freeway where it belongs.”

If you did not attend the open house and would like your voice heard, you can submit comments on the bike/walk blog. For more information and maps of the planned Central Corridor LRT and planned bike and walkways to accompany the LRT, check out the city’s website.

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