Wednesday night was the monthly meeting of the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), and the room was packed! The first part of the meeting was procedural, but soon the BAC got into some great updates on the status of bicycle facilities in Minneapolis, and in particular Minneapolis city master plan for biking.
As you may know, the Bicycling Master Plan was released for public comment in August of 2010 and can still be found online in draft form. The plan is currently being redrafted thanks to all of the input the BAC and the public gave the City, and will be sent to the City Council by May for final approval. The Public Works representative at the meeting said that a lot of the non-controversial content (in particular the first few chapters) wouldn’t be edited too much, however that Public Works was not comfortable with the plan as it was, and would be making some significant edits to the later chapters.
One concern that was brought up in the meeting was the issue of money to fund further road improvement projects and bicycling projects. The City has been burning through its rainy day fund since the recession started, and is forecasted to run out of those funds by mid-2013. While they currently can fund most paving and street repair projects (and at the same time make simple alterations to improve the bike friendliness of those streets) there is a fear that with that money gone the City will have to rely on federal funds for its projects. Have no fear – the potholes will still get filled – however if federal funds get restricted nationally, the City will have to be much more selective on the projects it pursues. That could mean a lot more emphasis on just upkeep and a lot less emphasis on bikeways and lanes!
There was a lot to learn and talk about at the BAC meeting, and it’s worth checking out if you are passionate about bicycling issues. Meetings are open to the public and held the last Wednesday of every month, 4:00pm – 6:00pm, generally in Room 101 of the City of Lakes Building, 309 2nd Ave S. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm the time and location. If you want to learn more about upcoming projects related to bikes in the Twin Cities – check out the BAC!