Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed a plan calling for a 24-hour bus lane on Hennepin Avenue after the street is rebuilt, one day after the Minneapolis City Council approved those plans.
In a letter to the City Council on Friday evening, Frey said he disagreed with the plan to put in a 24-hour bus lane because buses do not run at all hours of the day. Prohibiting parking during off hours would further hurt businesses who have already been hit by the pandemic, civil unrest, inflation and a workforce shortage, he said.
Bus lanes had always been included in the project, the first major reconstruction of Hennepin Avenue through the Uptown neighborhood in more than 65 years. But in May, city officials and new Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher proposed the transit lanes be used only during part of the day and be available for on-street parking during off hours.
On Thursday the council voted for the 24-hour bus lanes 8-5.
Frey urged council members to follow the recommendations of Kelliher, the city engineer and staff in his administration.
In a letter to constituents, Council Member Aisha Chughtai said she rejected the mayor's notion that an all-day bus lane would be a loss for businesses. The council will take the vetoed items up for reconsideration at its next meeting on June 30, according to Chughtai.
"On one of the most dangerous streets in the state for pedestrians, transit users, bikers, and drivers, investment in people-centered infrastructure is vital," she said. "I've championed this layout because it's one where all community members benefit."
Metro Transit is planning a new bus rapid transit (BRT) line on Hennepin Avenue connecting the University of Minnesota with downtown Minneapolis and the Southdale Transit Center in Edina starting in 2025. The agency has not said if the E Line would run 24 hours.
Katie Jones, a spokeswoman for Hennepin for People, a group that pushed for the 24-hour lanes, said she is committed to making sure there are all-day bus lanes on Hennepin Avenue.
"This fight is long and we'll need your energy," she said to fellow supporters.