What is up with the city of Minneapolis deciding a bike lane was more important than a woman’s parking spot in front of her house when she has multiple sclerosis? (“Bike lanes cut disability parking,” April 15.) And relocating it ACROSS A BUSY STREET? Deplorable.
Brenda Steinberg, Minneapolis
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Finding a place to park your vehicle can often be a hassle. Metropolitan areas are often the biggest culprit due to a large population. Imagine you are an individual with a disability who has a designated handicapped parking place in front of your home. The point of the handicapped parking place is to make it easier for your continued mobility. Now imagine your city of residence wants to take your handicapped parking place away to make room for a bike path.
As expected, there is a mix of feelings, mostly of insult, hurt and confusion. Individuals who identify as disabled have battled decades for their rights to have more accessibility and improve mobility. Despite decades of individuals with disabilities advocating for their rights, they are still discriminated against.
How much more advocating needs to be done for a voice to be heard? How much louder does one need to scream to local governments to be deemed as important enough?
Even though there has been progress with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Minneapolis native Patricia Fox, featured in the April 15 article about disability parking, is a reminder that there is still a long way to go. She and many others are being overlooked and squashed because able-bodied individuals are seen to be more important. Her needs are not being honored or validated. Many other individuals with disabilities experience the same. For example, not being able to park in a handicapped parking place because someone without proper handicap identification is parked there.
However, having a physical disability does not seem to be enough. Even though someone’s disability may be visible, that does not mean it is normalized by others. Patricia Fox is a reminder that these issues still exist.
Which is enough for yet another call to action. Instead of denying individuals with disabilities their freedom of mobility, we as a community should be advocating for them.
Kathleenjo Peterson, St. Paul
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Drive around our city streets after a snowstorm — no place to park. We read that 855 cars were towed in Minneapolis! This as we’ve also recently learned that the city is considering allowing new fourplexes to be built with no off-street parking.
This is supposed to increase livability in our beautiful city. For whom? Surely not people who own a car and want to live in the city. Surely not bikers who have to manage riding around cars parked in the street. This is crazy. With increased density, off-street parking is a must.
Yvonne Mullen, Minneapolis
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I had to laugh at the irony of the headline for the new Minneapolis public-services building scheduled to be built near City Hall (“City’s new office building will ‘invite public’ in,” April 14). We have long lamented the usurious parking rates and even the lack of parking availability for occasional trips to the area, but now those remaining become even more limited in tearing down the 10-story parking ramp and not replacing those hundreds of lost parking spaces.
City planners likely look to force public transportation and discourage vehicle traffic in the downtown area. Unfortunately, numerous instances of assaults, robberies and injuries on buses, rail, stops and stations discourage that option for many of us. They simply are not a safe alternative.
The public will continue to avoid these services whenever possible despite the fancy $108 million architecture — hardly a wise investment and definitely not a welcome invitation.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
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Minneapolis is a city of bike-lane overkill — verging on murder. I recently rode in an ambulance from the east side of St. Louis Park to Abbott Northwestern Hospital. We took Lake Street the whole way. The driver informed me that he used to go 28th Street but that now because of the bike lane the street is too narrow for cars to move out of his way and he gets backed up. Lake Street, while busier and slower, has enough lanes for the cars to move.
So, the next time you call an ambulance, you’d better hope you don’t need to get to the hospital really, really fast. Or better yet: Should you happen to go into cardiac arrest, just ride your bike there.
Sandy Davis Lerner, St. Louis Park
EIGHTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
DFL learned nothing from 2016, again favors special interests
The recent DFL Party convention in the Eighth Congressional District demonstrated two things: that the DFL learned nothing from the 2016 election and that progressives and environmentalists need to migrate to the Independence Party to restore democracy in this state (“DFL braces for 8th District feud,” April 17).
At the convention, Leah Phifer led all rounds of balloting. Her nomination was blocked by the Iron Range politicians voting as superdelegates on behalf of their pro-pollution corporate patrons. They enlisted the efforts of the state DFL treasurer via the Latino caucus to disrupt the proceedings and oppose the endorsement of a candidate. Thus machine politicians and a DFL official scuttled the work of months by individuals seeking to have a voice in democracy. They did so to ensure that only candidates willing to pollute the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) and the St. Louis River watershed with sulfide mining could advance. (Phifer has since dropped out.)
They have driven a deep wedge in the Eighth District similar to those that dominated the last election cycle. I have grown weary of this form of machine politics. Therefore I resigned as a DFL director in my state Senate district. I think if environmentalists, progressives and independents want to have a true voice, they need to revitalize the Independence Party and abandon the DFL. A party that ignores the fact that more than 70 percent of Minnesotans oppose sulfide mining to please special interests and constituencies is undeserving of support. Make your vote your voice and vote “no” on any candidate willing to lay waste to the BWCA.
Kelly Dahl, Linden Grove Township, St. Louis County
We’re not giving up on new laws, so, media, don’t fluff out on us
On Wednesday, hundreds of concerned citizens (I don’t know the exact count, but at least 850 were expected) — including moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, and many responsible gun owners and hunters — gathered at the State Capitol to express our desire to see bipartisan, common-sense gun legislation enacted before the end of this session. We met with our legislators, listened to heartbreaking stories of survivors, and learned incredibly sad statistics such as 33,000 people were killed by gun violence in the U.S. last year, two-thirds as a result of suicide. We rallied in the rotunda to support proposed legislation regarding universal background checks on all gun sales, Extreme Risk Protection Orders (aka “red flag” laws) to enable courts to temporarily prohibit gun possession by a person posing a significant danger to himself or others, and raising of the eligibility age for gun purchase. As we walked through office buildings to meet with our senators and representatives, we saw several veterans on similar paths, promoting their particular interests.
On Thursday, when I turned to the Minnesota section of the paper, I noticed a big headline at the top regarding the veterans’ push for homes funding. In place of where I thought I might see some mention of the citizens’ rally for gun legislation, I saw a big centerpiece article and picture featuring locals skiing on fresh layers of snow. That was lovely, but certainly not as worthy or important a news item as our rally, which I didn’t see mentioned anywhere at all. Did I miss something? How do you explain this oversight?
Elaine Sloan, Golden Valley