02

Blog

Vision Zero: An Update on Minneapolis’s Efforts to Make Safer Streets

Vision Zero is an international movement to create safer streets for everyone. Minneapolis joined this movement in September 2017, when it committed to a goal of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2027.  

Cyclists & Pedestrians Are Overrepresented in Crashes

According to city data, an average of 95 people are killed or severely injured in Minneapolis each year. Cyclists and pedestrians make up 45% of those severe injuries and deaths. These groups are overrepresented in these crashes, as they only make up 19% of total trips in Minneapolis. As a Minneapolis-based lawyer who handles cases of bike accidents and pedestrian injuries, I see this disproportion first hand.  Vision Zero is mean to remedy it.

Most Crashes Occur on a Small Number of High-Injury Streets 

A significant majority of fatal and severe crashes—70%—occur on approximately 9% of all city streets. Minneapolis has dubbed these “high injury streets.” My firm’s office is located on one of these streets: Lake Street. And we are just a few blocks down from one of the deadliest corridors in Minneapolis: Lyndale Avenue between Lake Street and Franklin Avenue.

The Lyndale Avenue corridor has been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason. Last October, a pedestrian was hit by a car while crossing Lyndale Avenue. He later died from his injuries. His death inspired numerous demonstrations and protests from individuals calling for the city to make its streets safer for all.

Vision Zero & Reducing Speeds to Increase Safety

Minneapolis is focusing on planned safety improvements on Lyndale and other high-injury streets over the next several years. A large focal point for the city is to cut back on the top five behaviors that lead to severe and fatal crashes identified in the 2018 Vision Zero Crash Study: 

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Running a red light
  • Unsafe turning
  • Driving  under the influence

Of these, speed is a significant factor. National data shows the risk of severe and fatal crashes drops drastically when lowering city street speeds down from 40 MPH and 30 MPH to 20 MPH. 

MN 2

This past March, the city of Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, both committed to lowering speed limits on nearly all city-owned streets. According to the Vision Zero website, here is what the new speed limits will look like.

  • 20 MPH for local residential streets
  • 25 MPH for larger, arterial city streets
  • 30 MPH+ for a few city-owned streets

County roads and MnDOT-controlled roads will not be affected by these city-based changes.

20 mph for cylists

Two streets that will not see lower speed limits? Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street. Supporters of keeping these streets to 30 MPH say it is necessary due to the high volume of motorist traffic. 

Protestors argue that one of the major factors in deaths and severe injuries along Lyndale is the speed itself. Refusing to lower the speed while installing smaller safety measures such as plastic posts isn’t going to make a marked improvement.  

Still a Long Way to Get to Zero 

I laud the city for its commitment to making our streets safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. There is still so much to be done, however. I, for one, will keep an eye on legislative updates and infrastructure improvements while continuing to advocate for those who suffer from severe and fatal bike crashes.

Source for statistics and images (unless otherwise cited): Vision Zero Minneapolis website (last accessed 4/3/20) 

 

Comments

SELMA BIKE RIDE
Danny Feldman Jul 24, 2020

This year, before COVID, over 600 bike riders from over 25 states retraced the steps of the Civil Rights Marchers from Selma to Montgomery. The event was about much more than just riding a bike, as participants toured historic sights and were led by civil rights leaders and historians.  The annual ride is an example […]

Read More
BLM Strava
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Jul 22, 2020

Hundreds of athletes are currently in the midst of participating in what may very well be the most significant Strava art project ever – the spelling out of Black Lives Matter from NY to ME in “virtual letters” large enough to be read from outer space.  This BLM Strava art challenge initially began as a […]

Read More
Minnesota Cycling Advocate
Daniel Brazil Jul 01, 2020

I recently had the great opportunity to interview fellow cycling advocate, Dave Sanderson, the chair of Pedal Fergus Falls, a Minnesota bike advocacy group. What began as a simple conversation about advocacy turned into an inspiring deep dive into the work Pedal Fergus Falls has done and continues to do for our cycling community. Pedal […]

Read More
Bike Safety
Daniel Brazil Jun 05, 2020

As a cyclist (and bike crash attorney), I often worry that I’m placing my life in the hands of motorists each time I hop on my bike. And stories like this one about bike safety recently shared on Outside Online heighten my fears, as cyclist deaths continue to rise across the U.S. even in a […]

Read More
Biking After COVID 5
Ann Groninger May 28, 2020

What will biking after COVID be like? Before COVID, it seemed like there was a handful of people in my city who rode bikes to get places, and we all knew each other. We’ve always had a robust recreational road riding community of people who gather after work and on weekends to head out to […]

Read More
Bike Advocate
Bruce Hagen May 26, 2020

If you’ve ridden a bike anywhere in Atlanta, chances are you’ve met Atlanta bike advocate Angel Poventud.  If you’ve stopped for a post-ride beer, been to an important advocacy event, or to any major Atlanta gathering, chances are you have met Angel Poventud.   It may only seem that Angel is everywhere, but when you […]

Read More
Load More