The Push to Get MN Drivers off the Roads

Minnesotans are seeing a push to move commuters from their cars to mass transit, bike paths and sidewalks.  

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson says the majority of his fellow commissioners support eliminating driving lanes to add things like bike paths and covered sidewalks.  Johnson says, “When you’re building bike trails at the direct expense of road lanes in order to get people out of their cars and saying that’s somehow going to relieve congestion, it’s just not going to work, it’s absurd.”

Hennepin County commissioners voted to eliminate driving lanes in order to add bike lanes and turn lanes to “relieve congestion” in an intersection at 35W and Washington Avenue. Johnson says these changes will make the problem worse.

Johnson’s colleague, Hennepin County Commissioner Janis Callison disagrees with Johnson, saying, “In short, our county engineers believe that the geometric improvements that are included in the reconstruction will meet the needs of drivers.”

Johnson says he believes the Washington Avenue project is part of a massive effort to move Minnesotans to biking and mass transit.  

Last week Governor Dayton and state legislative leaders left a meeting still in disagreement over funding another mass transit project, the South West Light Rail.

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Johnson believe that if House Republicans block funding for the project, the Metropolitan Council will “find a way” to get taxpayer funding.  Johnson says, “the problem is it’s not going to stop the project, it’s still going to get funded, the money is just going to come from a different pot of taxpayers. So, rather than being spread throughout the state, metro taxpayers are going to end up paying for it.”

Alpha News reached out to the Met Council for comment and did not receive a response. 

Governor Dayton says legislative leaders will meet Thursday to continue special session negotiations.  

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