Applause to Emma Nelson for her well-balanced article on the status and future of Twin Cities’ bike lanes (“Bike lanes divide cities,” Oct. 22). Something to consider: Would it be reasonable to close a number of the lanes from, say, December through March, months with shorter daylight hours and decreased visibility? There will certainly be fewer bicyclists. By allowing better plowing, there will likely be a reduction of the distance from vehicles to bicycles, thus increasing safety for both sets of users. For the moment, Minneapolis and St. Paul might consider this a reasonable compromise.
Paul Waytz, Minneapolis
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Bike paths on city streets — a thorny issue.
It would seem that a bike-lane add-on to the current street size is a hazardous and inconvenient plan.
The streets that are in neighborhoods often need both sides to support the car parking needs.
The streets that are busy with heavy traffic during rush hour accommodating bus traffic as well most certainly make for dangerous decisions when straddling or trying to bypass a biker.
Add to all that irresponsible bikers who bear no consequence for their unsafe practices, making you responsible for their lives in the process as they wear no helmets, no reflective items when biking at night, and taking all the rights and none of the responsibilities of traffic rules.
This is altogether ignoring what I would call monoxide poisoning by their close encounters with cars and buses.
The concept is one I could easily embrace, since we are a very outdoorsy-proud state and this should be us for sure, and I don’t envy the city planners in finding the better way to implement bike traffic.
Safety might be measured in annual number of fatalities or permanent impairments of bike accidents, suggesting the ultimate significance of such numbers, such as: Are certain streets more dangerous?
As new streets are constructed, perhaps they should be wider? Or we should start making bike and walking paths instead of sidewalks?
Perhaps more city revenue could be found with bicycle riders requiring helmets and reflective wear, and ticketing those without or not following the rules of the roads as cars do?
Marilyn Mauritz, St. Paul
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I would rather see Minneapolis rank as a leader in lowering rates of poverty, hunger and homelessness rather than in bike-lane miles. When fewer than 5 percent of our citizens suffer these problems, then let’s spend “hundreds of millions” of dollars for bike lanes. When I see homeless people sleeping in my neighborhood park every morning, it’s hard to support bike lanes.
Joann Y. Nordin, Minneapolis
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To all the people up in arms about making space for bicyclists, I suggest that you take a trip to a city that really respects bicyclists as having equal rights to commuting space. This past summer, I visited Utrecht and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, for example, places where every single main street has protected bike lanes, separate traffic signals for bikes, and a culture in which drivers, bikers and pedestrians genuinely respect one another’s space. In comparison with those (or similar cities like Copenhagen or Strasbourg), drivers here can rest assured that on the vast majority of streets in the Twin Cities we bicyclists still ride as second-class road users in danger of being hit at any time by distracted or enraged drivers on most of the cities’ streets.
Jason McGrath, Minneapolis
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I drive a car 12,000 miles a year, and ride a bike 2,000 miles a year, and I can say with certainty that cars are much more of a problem for everyone. For every thousand times my path is slowed by cars, there might be one time it’s slowed by a bike. The demand for space and resources for cars far outweighs what is needed for bikes. Each bicyclist could be in a car, adding to the congestion. Pictures of Chinese cities from a few years ago show massive numbers of people moving very efficiently on bikes. Today, those same cities are choked with cars in near-gridlock. A huge amount of land has been taken for roads, but the problem just grows. Supporting bicycling with a small slice of the resources given to cars means fewer cars on the road. Let’s have more bikes!
Bill Middlecamp, Apple Valley
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Attention to everyone navigating our shared highways: It would help a very great deal if every biker/driver could be counted on to observe stop signs. Nonobservance puts us all (including pedestrians) in jeopardy.
Ann Buran, Minneapolis
An election issue in the metro, and a concern across the state
I appreciate Lori Sturdevant’s description of how the loss of housing affordability has become a hot topic in high-profile races in Minneapolis and St. Paul (“Guess what? Affordable housing is an election issue,” Oct. 22). While this year the housing issue is not similarly prominent in other jurisdictions, the shortage of affordable homes is just as urgent, and just as tough to address, in many Minnesota cities. Across the state, those considering running for office in 2018 should be honing their housing policy talking points.
Chip Halbach, Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS PARK BOARD
This election season, may voters remember what really matters
I read with interest the article regarding Minneapolis’ candidates for Park and Recreation Board. What a diverse and interesting group of people choosing to represent and manage the true jewel of Minneapolis. As fascinating as the candidates’ politics and world views may be, I would be more interested in their plans to renovate and improve things that are more concrete, like the bathrooms at Minnehaha Park and Lake Nokomis beach. If any of them have had the chance to frequent either of these spots, they would know that the need for improvements is long overdue. “Big pictures” are important, but let’s not forget the basics.
Linda Skoglund, Minneapolis
It’s ‘game on and on,’ but it doesn’t have to be that way
The recent articles on the changes to youth sports have been excellent (“Game on and on” series, Oct. 15, 20 and 24). Children’s increasing levels of commitment have yielded ever-better performance at elite levels. The cost in terms of time, money and other activities, including just being a kid, is significant.
Parents should know that there are opportunities for children to participate in athletics, and other programs, that are lower-key and affordable. Minneapolis and St. Paul are fortunate to have rich programs offered through their park boards that are truly “recreational.” The participants may move on to traveling and commercial programs, and they may also move back.
For example, at Minneapolis’ Pearl Park, where I’m involved, we offer hockey to players from 4 to 15, with the most expensive program being $95 for a season of 25 games and practices. Families who need equipment may borrow most of it at no additional cost. Other Minneapolis recreation centers offer programs for hockey in the Park and Recreation Board league. All rec centers offer a slate of activities such as basketball, soccer, arts, dance, etc., that are fun and affordable. Families from the ’burbs are welcome to participate.
Glen Larson, Minneapolis