In regard to the March 10 article asking if Minneapolis has enough bike lanes (“Minneapolis is riding high in making way for bikes”), I’d say no. I believe the construction and design of bike lanes is not just about adding more paths for bikes and limiting those for cars but, more important, concerns a city’s purpose. It appears to me that the main goals of a city are to build for and thrive within density, both of which are limited by the considerations we make for personal cars. The city loses space to develop and potential property taxes because of what is allocated for roads and parking spaces. Another goal of a city is to increase accessibility, and this is not achieved by creating more turn lanes. Prominent car presence shuns the basic unit of civilization, the human. There are numerous places in Minneapolis where it feels weird or unsafe to be a pedestrian because of the amount of space given to cars, especially downtown.
Building for transit, pedestrians and bikes before cars will lead to a more efficient city design. Car ownership is not an affordable endeavor for all. By prioritizing car transportation over more equitable forms such as transit, biking and walking, we perpetuate the income and racial inequalities that are ever-present in Minneapolis today. A protected bike lane on 3rd Avenue S. is not just another bike lane, but a much-needed shift away from the paradigm that considers the car on the street before the person on the sidewalk.
Galen Ryan, Minneapolis
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A more appropriate question would be: “Does Minneapolis’ bicycle infrastructure encourage more cycling?” As the city itself has a goal of 15 percent modeshare by 2025 — current modeshare hovers stubbornly around 5 percent — we need to get going on a network that will make new cyclists feel safe on our city’s streets. Currently, there are no safe north-south routes through downtown, and 3rd Avenue S. will provide that. It’s worth reminding everyone that cycling is a fiscally responsible (very cheap), environmentally friendly (no air pollution) and invigorating (it gets you physically fit) mode of transportation. In other words, it’s a noble mode of transportation that our city has wisely embraced and ought to continue embracing. I hope that our City Council will act virtuously in this respect.
Jeremy Bergerson, Minneapolis
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As one of the many bike commuters in Minneapolis, I want to remind everyone that we’re out there (many of us are iron-willed) but that there are many more who want to join us to get some fresh air, a little exercise and a nice safe alternative to a car to save a little cash. Minneapolis has provided me many opportunities to choose other options than a car, and that has improved my health and well-being. I can choose to reduce my impact on city infrastructure (roads) by taking the bus, train or a car rental, or go by bike. If these options weren’t accessible and a comfortable alternative, I wouldn’t be able to live my life the way I want, and I wouldn’t have chosen to settle and spend my money in this awesome little metropolis. I commend the hard work on walking and biking to ensure a safer and healthier city for future generations. It keeps the city competitive and happy, and it boosts our local economy.
Mallory Anderson, Minneapolis
POLYMET MINE PROPOSAL
If questions were honestly answered, the plan would die
The “4 tough questions” posed in a March 10 commentary regarding the just-approved environmental-impact statement (EIS) by PolyMet are both well-posed and critical. It has been clear throughout the process that the proposed copper-nickel mining in Minnesota is fundamentally flawed. The reason that these four questions remain unanswered is that if they were accurately answered, the mining proposal would fail under its own terms. There will be unacceptable water pollution affecting both the BWCA and Lake Superior; the Minnesota rules on long-term treatment of poisons will be violated; the company cannot adequately insure against future problems, and the company has no answer for remediation of lost wetlands.
The EIS fails on its own terms and should have once again been deemed “inadequate.” The inevitable damage is too great, by far, and the proposal must be rejected at the next level.
Robert Lyman, Minneapolis
Pension issue shows that state leaders, foreign policy don’t mix
So, the Legislature decided to play at foreign policy by requiring Minnesota pension funds to dump stock invested in companies doing business with Iran (“Pension funds face an Iran dilemma,” March 10). Few, if any, legislators have experience in foreign policy. Rather than placing at risk only the hard-earned retirement income of thousands of former employees, the Legislature should amend the law to provide that current and future losses to our pension funds be made good by the state’s general fund. Legislators should have the courage to explain to all Minnesotans why they should potentially pay for the ill-advised attempt to enforce U.S. foreign policy and engage in partisan political maneuvering, both of which should be left to Congress.
Boyd Beccue, Monticello, Minn.
State Capitol worker’s article was just the reminder we need
Carlin Polaszek is working simultaneous double shifts these days — one as a skilled insulation and duct worker at the State Capitol and a second as a writer reminding us of the bigger picture of infrastructure and all that we so easily take for granted (“Why you should care about the ‘Capitol mess,’ ” Opinion Exchange, March 10). He only gets paid for the former, that first shift, but he deserves respect and gratitude for his equally skilled reminder of that work’s significance — and of all who do that labor. How timely his counterpoint as a new season of pothole repair and road construction heaves into view. Fines double in highway work zones, but more mindfulness of the kind Polaszek calls for is priceless, especially in this season of ugly political discourse.
James McKenzie, St. Paul
Overly exuberant audiences have become a distraction
Watching what passes for “debates” these days in the presidential race, I would offer a few fixes. Remove the audience. Put the debaters in a plain room with only the moderators and the cameras. Never, ever let them interrupt one another. Basically, just remove the spectacle. Then let’s see what they’ve got to say.
Luke Soiseth, Lake St. Croix Beach
Regarding Clinton, Trump …
Steve Sack’s message about the Democratic presidential race (March 10) was clever — noting the states’ primary results. Sack missed several other Jenga sticks that add to the real meaning of gravity: personal e-mail server, violation of Special Access Program (SAP), Whitewater, Chinagate, Travelgate, Benghazi, Clinton Foundation and cronyism, etc., etc.
Mike Welbaum, Edina
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Since more than half of Sack’s editorial cartoons of the past week were against Donald Trump, I am wondering if he’s on the payroll of the Republican National Committee or the anti-Trump super PAC?
Dennis Hoyne, St. Francis