I am with the businesspeople regarding their concerns over losing parking on Hennepin Avenue with no alternative provided ("Less parking will mean more street life," Opinion Exchange, April 13).
If you want to see how well bike lanes help business, look no further than the short stretch on Hennepin between Lake and 31st Street. Many businesses there now seem to have the same name: "Space for Lease." In the April 5 article ("Businesses fear losing parking on Hennepin"), project manager Becca Hughes grossly understated the failure of the design. She would have been more correct to say the plan was to recreate downtown Bloomington in Uptown Minneapolis.
What are you going to believe? Your own eyes looking at the signs in the windows, or some false equivalence study that an advocate cherry-picks to support her argument?
The half-baked plans for Hennepin raise other concerns beyond the local business impact:
1) Safety: It has never made any sense to me that the "safest" lanes for bicyclists are created by compacting the most heavily trafficked arteries in the city, which in turn will likely push vehicular traffic into the neighborhoods and off the arteries designed to keep them out (or plug up traffic, like 26th Street). How is that safer?
2) Cost and maintenance: The reason most bike lanes are on the most heavily traveled arteries is because these routes are technically state roads and are financed via the State Transportation Committees in the House and Senate, not the city, so it is cheaper for the city to place bike paths there.
Out of the cost of a gallon of gas, 48 cents goes to roads in Minnesota by law. What is the recurring revenue source to cover cost and maintenance of these bike paths? There is no plan to pay for and maintain this that even closely resembles the "user tax" on gasoline. Replacing that revenue in a fair and equitable manner is an important concern that deserves an honest answer.
This is a real city with real consequences to the choices of the current City Council (some of whom are leaving rather than sticking around to raise this baby). This is not Sim City where no one pays taxes. Here, the City Council creates winners and losers (mainly losers) in the business districts affected.
I am tired of the false equivalence marketing the proponents toss at us. It is all smoke.
I want real answers to real concerns and, so far, no answers or ideas regarding safety and cost are part of the public discourse.
Timothy Kleinpaste lives in Minneapolis.