As Minneapolis continues to grow in population, and residential density increases, we must design our transportation corridors to meet the needs of how residents and visitors actually move about the city. Studies indicate that over the last 10 years the share of residents using buses, cars, bikes, and walking as their primary means of transportation has remained essentially unchanged. Despite large investments in light rail transit and other mass transit investments the share of riders has fallen precipitously, and that was even before the pandemic. The increasing prevalence of electric and, relatively soon to be, autonomous vehicles means a phasing out of greenhouse gas emitting vehicles meaning a future where we can more quickly meet our CO2 emissions goals.
Therefore as we upgrade and reconstruct our streets it is not wise to remove parking availability or restrict street access to vehicles in most cases. Reducing traffic lanes and parking hurts access to businesses and disproportionately impacts the elderly, less mobile, families, and people of color. Believing that most people can easily go about their daily lives without a vehicle or access to convenient parking is rooted in privilege and does not take into account the realities that most people face daily.
Our Hennepin Avenue businesses which provide so many necessary services and jobs for area residents and attract customers to the area have been united in their opposition to the current proposed Hennepin Ave redesign options. Most businesses rely on on-street parking for customers to access their businesses which will be removed under he plan. Also, the removal of traffic lanes and restricted left turn opportunities will cause congestion along the main corridor as well as further impact the availability of parking on adjacent side streets.
I join area residents and businesses on their opposition to the current proposed redesign and urge the city council to delay the process for further study.