Since 2015, Patricia Fox has had a reserved parking space in front of her home in Minneapolis because of her multiple sclerosis. But this year, her parking space will be moved to make way for a bike lane.
"[This] is the ultimate insult of someone who has trouble with mobility being vacated from a spot that helps them function in society by making way for able-bodied bikers," Fox said.
Fox lives on a stretch of Fremont Avenue N. that is part of a project to revamp Fremont between Plymouth and 44th avenues N., along with a stretch of Emerson Avenue between Plymouth and 33rd avenues N.
Such projects reinforce Minneapolis' reputation as one of the nation's most bike-friendly cities. The city added 75 miles of bike lanes between 2011 and 2017, and the 2011 Master Bicycle Plan identified $284 million in projects to be completed by 2040.
Bike lane additions draw praise but also protests from residents, motorists and business owners who lose parking and driving lanes.
The city received federal grant money for the project in 2015, according to Minneapolis Transportation Planner Forrest Hardy. The city plans to start road work sometime this year.
These high-traffic corridors are priorities because they connect several schools, parks and libraries and are frequently the sites of car crashes, said Nathan Koster, city transportation planning manager.
As many as 900 pedestrians pass through each day, according to an April 2017 project document. Thirty-two pedestrian collisions occurred in the area from 2010 to 2015, as well as 588 vehicle collisions.
"Generally, we're trying to just reduce the volume and speed of traffic and improve pedestrian crossings in that area," Hardy said.
Plans include crossing signals with audible timers, crosswalk markings, pedestrian ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a protected bike lane.
The plans on Fremont and Emerson will displace disability parking spaces in front of Fox's home and two others.
Hardy said city employees worked with affected residents to find alternative parking.
Fox said moving her parking space across the street poses safety hazards. The MS that weakens her muscles can make crossing the street hazardous.
"If the parking spot is across the street, then I'd have to jaywalk because I don't trust myself to not fall," she said. "I have [fallen] before by walking down to the corner and crossing legally."
Fox said she understands the importance of bicycle lanes but questions this plan.
"I agree that bike lanes are a progressive idea, but I don't agree with putting citizens in danger as a result of that," she said.
"There [were] some trade-offs," Koster acknowledged. "But there's a lot of improvements to really foster a better environment for people."
Rilyn Eischens is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.