Minneapolis master plan for bikes

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On Wednesday, June 19, about 70 people crowded in a pungent room on the third floor of Minneapolis city hall for the city’s Bicycle Master Plan public open house. Around the room, maps for proposed new trails, and other proposals had sticky notes where bikers could write down comments.

Donald Pflaum, the city’s bicycle coordinator, led the discussion. Dressed in a tan suit, Pflaum spoke softly as he laid out the plan using an overhead projector. The proposal can also be found on the bicycle program page on the Minneapolis Web site. The purpose of the plan is to “establish policies, procedures, and standards that improve safety and mobility for bicycles and increase the number of trips taken by bicycle.” Pflaum stressed that the plan was still a work in progress, and that the committee intended to use feedback from the city’s riders to make adjustments.

Christopher Bassett, a Minneapolis resident in the audience, pointed out that the bike trails on the North side of Minneapolis were much worse than those on the South side, and that the roads were also too narrow to accommodate bikes.

Many of audience members were unhappy with the presentation.

“He’s a suit,” said Megan Williams, a Minneapolis resident about Pflaum. “And we’re a room full of passionate and committed cyclists.” Williams did point out that change is going to evolve naturally, especially given the rising cost of gas.

Both Williams and Basset agree that a lot needs to be done to change attitudes of vehicle drivers toward cyclists.

“I was taking a left turn on Quincy,” said Williams, “and I had to wait for traffic to make the left turn… this woman started yelling obscenities at me.” Williams said there should be a task force dedicated to figuring out the best way to change people’s thinking.

In the Daily Planet’s Arts Orbit, Brian Moen admires the new MSP bike posters.