Battle Brewing Between Bicyclists and Businesses in South Minneapolis

May 10, 2017 07:11 AM

A proposed bicycle lane on 38th Street between Minnehaha Avenue and West River Parkway has some small business owners worried.

The current proposal would mean there would not be any street parking allowed on either side of 38th Street between Minnehaha Avenue and River Parkway.


Mother Earth Gardens has operated on the corner of 38th and 42nd Ave. South for more than 20 years, and its owners are fearful the new project could be an insurmountable challenge.

"If they take 15 parking spaces it would hurt and if they take 35 spaces it would be very impactful and if they eliminate all parking along 38th Street, it would be just devastating", said owner Paige Pelini.

Pelini said it seems as though the city of Minneapolis is saying all the right things about seeking neighborhood input, but its actions are much different."

"I would say they are just placating us at city hall and are not really considering our legitimate concerns and it is frustrating because we are not against the bikers, but we just want to make sure there is a compromise that allows small businesses to keep doing what we're doing and still have the bikers", said Pelini.

More than 100 people turned out for a public meeting on the issue Tuesday night at the Longfellow Community Center. Cyclists were sympathetic to the concerns of the business owners.

"I think the city is pretty good about planning the designated bike lanes pretty well and you see all over the city where businesses thrive even though there are bike lanes on the business routes", said Peter Ireland.

"And, the bike lanes are critical for the safety of bikers and motorists and 38th Street has a lot of traffic, so a bike lane seems to make sense from a public safety standpoint, too", said Ireland.

The city has told business owners that it will work with them to establish loading zones, as well as short-term parking spaces for pick up orders to alleviate any disruptions the bike lane might cause.

The Minneapolis City Council still needs to approve the plan and if it does the city intends to start the project when 38th Street is repaved this summer.


Jay Kolls

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