After setting the vision for the future growth of Minneapolis with the 2040 comprehensive plan, the city is now looking to change its approach to transportation, away from cars and toward sustainable alternatives.
City officials this year are developing a guiding document for the next ten years of municipal transportation projects. Starting this month, they will host meetings asking people how they move around the city and how that mobility could be improved.
"We need to make sure our transportation system really provides options for people, particularly in growing neighborhoods," City Council President Lisa Bender said last week.
It's one of the first topics the city is tackling after the hard-won approval of the 2040 comprehensive plan last year. Improving sustainability, safety and equity in transportation were all goals mentioned in that document, said Kathleen Mayell, the city's transportation planning manager.
In order to reach the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, drivers would need to substantially reduce the number of miles traveled by automobile, according to the transportation plan website. Mayell said this means supporting expected population growth "without having every additional household unit equate to an additional car on the road."
Therefore, the city is seeking to improve pedestrian, biking and public transit infrastructure. This could mean bringing public transit to areas where more housing is expected to be built, improving the reliability of bus service and adding protected bike lanes.
The city is hoping the changes will enable it to eliminate traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2027. For the last ten years, an average of 95 people per year have died or been critically injured on streets, a disproportionate number of them walkers, bikers and people in low-income neighborhoods.
"We have a lot of opportunity within our street network to really increase, I think, people's ability to get around," Mayell said.
The transportation plan would also address how other vehicles and growing modes of transportation, including delivery trucks, ride-share cars and motorized scooters, would fit into the city's overall system.
Several public workshops on the plan have been scheduled in different areas of the city, including two meetings for neighborhood organizations this week. Bender and Mayell said they encourage people to come share their views on the plan's goals.
"We want to hear how people are getting around the city now. What's working, what isn't," Bender said.
The transportation plan is expected to be adopted in 2020.