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Backlash? Apparent Protest Planned Over Minneapolis Bike Lanes

Drivers in Minneapolis continue to have a rough time of it, as more car lanes go the way of bike lanes. Our recent report on traffic congestion highlighted one case in point on Washington Avenue from Hennepin Avenue to Fifth Avenue South. Commuters have endured road construction for months. But the wait may get even worse once work wraps up. Drivers will have two fewer lanes to get to the freeway, four instead of six, thanks to two newly installed lanes for bikes. Never mind the detrimental impact on the environment and economy, pointed out in our report.

This congestion would increase both fuel consumption and air pollution. The analysis estimated an annual congestion cost to motorists and transit riders of more than $15 million due to delay, vehicle wear and tear, and extra fuel consumption.

But a backlash has broken out among some Minneapolis drivers on Facebook vowing to “take back our city!” The leader of the group, Jeremy Piatt, has announced a bike lane protest for October 14 in south Minneapolis.

26th and 28th streets in Minneapolis have become congested driving nightmares since the protected bike lanes were installed a few weeks ago. Between Lyndale and Hennepin it’s down to 1 lane for cars making driving a mess. The crusade this city is on to be bike friendly has gone too far. With the Greenway just a few blocks away there is no reason to give up a full lane of traffic to the cyclists! Join us as we protest the bike lanes this Saturday, October 14th. Bring a sign, a loud voice & alert the media!

To be inclusive, Piatt has even invited Minneapolis City Councilor Lisa Bender, a big fan of more bike lanes, to join them.

The protest has sparked dozens of supportive and not-so-supportive comments on a public Facebook page titled Minneapolis Bike Lane Protests. For instance:

“Where do I go to burn my bike. I mean traffic is so bad, Im gonna have to bike there obv. Don’t be concerned, total solidarity, hence bike burn. #dontforgetthegas” (Susan Optiz)

“I can’t tell if this page is sarcastic or what … hilarious either way.” (Robert Schroedl)

“Get out of your cars! The bike lane is a lot less congested.” (Sam Adams)

“That’s for sure. In fact, they are hardly ever used.” (Greg Kline)

“Agreed. Right now it’s taking me 15 minutes to drive three blocks from my house to the corner store! That’s insane.” (Jesse Meyer)

The Facebook page includes a map of the protest route and helpful graphics touting the virtues of automobiles.

                                      

But some biking advocates are evidently so accustomed to having the ear of city planners, MnDOT and the Met Council that they lash out at the planned protest and people behind it.

 

“If this is a real and not a fake protest. It has a very similar tactic as the NRA or white supremacist. Claim oppression when actually many want safe streets and equal rights. The communities need for safer and sanity streets is bigger then your inconvenience. If this is a joke then Jeremy Piatt is a big a##h###.” (Christopher Wlaschin)
“ill (sic) bring the eggs. to eat for snacks, ya know.” (Connie Voltaire)
“Next step, turn the entire road into a bike line and abolish cars and let the roads disintegrate. Let grass grow. Go camping on Franklin. Die there. Let your body become a tree.” (Jonathan Adams)

“I’m gonna ride my bike all over your feet and thoroughly enjoy it!” (Caren Cooper)

So far, 51 have signed up to attend the protest on Facebook. More than 150 have indicated interested in the event. Piatt’s message is simple.

“WHAT DO WE WANT? LESS CONGESTION! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? RIGHT NOW!”

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