Demanding Minneapolis City Council Vote to Restore Full-Time Bus Lanes to the Hennepin Ave Layout
This Thursday, May 19th, we are showing up at the City Council’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting. We’ll be in room 317, the council chamber, to insist the City Council follow through on full-time bus lanes for Hennepin Ave and not back down from their own existing policies.
For the past 14 months, every option presented to the public for a newly reconstructed Hennepin Avenue (to begin construction in 2024 from Lake Street to Douglas Avenue) has included full-time bus lanes. Now we’ve learned, just days before the first committee vote, and less than two weeks before it heads to the full City Council, that new Public Works director Margaret Anderson Kelliher has decided to pull the full-time bus lanes from the plan.
The case for full-time bus lanes is clear. Some of our points below:
- The entire Minneapolis legislative delegation – 15 members of the MN House and Senate – wrote a letter to the City Council last week, expressing their strong support of inclusion of full-time bus lanes as part of the Hennepin reconstruction: “Schedule interruptions and delays will suppress ridership, and is tantamount to forcing the route to fail, the effort and resource it took to create it will have been wasted.”
- Metro Transit has communicated in a letter to the city: “all-day bus lanes are critical to the success of both the Hennepin Avenue reconstruction project and the METRO E Line.”
- Equity – Over half of bus riders on local routes are people of color. These riders deserve better than a slow bus to their destination.
- Climate – any plan without 24/7 bus lanes or bike lanes is a step backward from achieving the City’s climate goals.
- Math – According to the city’s Public Works Dept: 6,600 bus riders per day are expected to become 14,000 bus riders once E-Line bus rapid transit is added. Transit riders already account for 49% of those in vehicles on Hennepin during peak times.
- The city should follow its own adopted policies – such as the Transportation Action Plan, Vision Zero, Complete Streets.
- Stop the delay – we want the Metro Transit’s E Line bus rapid transit to be successful on the day it opens. The full-time bus lane is essential for the success of this $60 million transit investment.
- Lack of transparency – All publicly presented options over the last 14 months have included full-time bus lanes. The last minute change to this plan, with full-time lanes removed, was only shared days before this committee meeting.
The behind-the-scenes removal of full-time bus lanes from the Hennepin plan is motivated by politics – not data, not equity, not concern for the climate, not good stewardship of public resources. We will be in the council chamber on Thursday calling on the City Council to ensure the plan they approve includes full-time bus lanes on Hennepin Avenue.