Why this all matters

Map of critical areas, conflict between drivers and pedestrians
Image from the City of Minneapolis Crash Study

We’ve touched on the significance of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix Hennepin Avenue. It goes beyond just this city-controlled street. What happens here will influence other streets, including county-controlled streets like Franklin, Lowry Ave NE, Lake, Lyndale, West Broadway—streets that currently threaten the health and safety of Minneapolis residents. Many of us involved with Hennepin for People have participated in this process since it started back in 2018. That’s a long time. This is deeply personal to us, it’s where we live. Many of us have had close calls on Hennepin Avenue. It’s not an abstract or philosophical question. This street impacts our daily lives. We can’t accept less than significant pedestrian improvements, along with dedicated space for transit and bikes. 

Hennepin filled with cars. A place for cars not people.

Hennepin Avenue doesn’t work for anyone in its current form. It’s stressful to drivers, it’s a hazard to vulnerable users like pedestrians, bikers and transit users. Our streets need to reflect our values—how we care for our neighbors and for the environment. We are the only inclusive side with a vision. The outcome for Hennepin should be a street that reflects our priorities and ambitious policies like the Transportation Action Plan, Complete Streets, and Vision Zero. A safer, more vibrant street is inclusive and works for drivers, pedestrians, bikers and transit riders.   

Looking at the City of Minneapolis Crash Study, the takeaway is Hennepin Avenue is a dangerous place for people walking and biking. And this only includes reported incidents. How often do you report a dangerous encounter with a vehicle as a pedestrian or biker?

1. Pedestrians and bicyclists are involved in a low percentage of overall crashes (11%), but they make up the majority of crashes that result in injuries (57%) 2. The Hennepin Ave Corridor has a larger percentage of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes (11% overall, 57% severe injury) than the city as a whole (approx 5% overall, 38% severe/fatal) 3.All pedestrian/bicyclist crashes resulting in incapacitating injuries (5) occurred either at the 25th Street intersection or between 27th Street and Lagoon Avenue 4. The majority of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes at intersections involved vehicles turning onto or off of the corridor (54%) 5. Parked or parking vehicles were involved in the majority of crashes coded as crash type "other" between intersections (80%) 6. Half of the pedestrian crashes on the corridor occurred in relation to parking activities, three of which resulted in incapacitating injuries. 7.All crashes resulting in incapacitating injuries occurred between 25th Street and Lagoon Ave. 8. The majority of crashes (69%) occurred at signalized intersections. 9. There are sustained crash issues between 24th Street and 25th Street, 26th Street and 28th Street, and 29th Street and Lagoon Avenue 10.Rear-end crashed make up 32% of all crashes along the corridor 11. Weather does not appear to be a significant contributing factor as 65% of the crashes occurred when the roadway was dry 12. Speeding was not reported as a contributing factor in corridor crashes

Here and now, we have an opportunity to change the system with this reconstruction. We can have pedestrian improvements, but only if we prioritize space for people over cars. For transit riders, dedicated bus lanes will bring faster travel speeds and better schedule reliability in congested corridors. Climate change is real and the simple fact is we need to reduce car trips to meaningfully reduce emissions.

1. Total of 69 crashes over the 6 1/4 years (including one scooter crash) 2. 76% Pedestrian involved crashes. 3. 24% Bicyclist involved crashes. 4. The action of a vehicle making a left turn was involved 42% of the time when right turns were involved 9% of the time. 5. Vehicle factors resulting in a pedestrian crash involve failing to yield (28%), improper turn (2%), distraction (3%) and disregarding the traffic control (5%). 6. One scooter involved crash (Given the change in scooter usage during this time period and new coding under crash reports, this low scooter percentage is unlikely to represent current trends).
Crash Study Trends

Dedicated space for people biking will encourage more people to travel to the local businesses along Hennepin. With the Greenway, 24th St, 26th St, 28th St, Bryant, and Hennepin we’d have a nice biking network. Students, parents, and teachers at Jefferson School deserve safe routes to bike and walk to school. With the anticipated changes coming to the school district and Jefferson, even more kids will be crossing from the west and north and moving along Hennepin. A raised bike path and pedestrian improvements would mean a safer, more pleasant, less chaotic trip to and from school. You don’t have to bike but you can support other people biking, that means less traffic for you. We can’t all drive in a city, you’d never get anywhere. We have to be forward thinking. 

The status quo is a stubborn thing but we can change the system together. Support a street that works for everyone and all the potential that is ahead of us: sign our petition and contact your council member.