Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew on Thursday identified the bicycle infrastructure projects he would make a priority if elected.
In a campaign event at Farview Park, the former Hennepin County Board commissioner said he would advocate for development of the North Minneapolis Greenway, a proposed north-south greenway on Irving Avenue. The greenway, combined with a redesign of the 26th Avenue North on-street bike lanes, would connect North and Northeast neighborhoods and attract investment to North Minneapolis, Andrew said.
“As mayor, I am going to be at the forefront of community-based development projects to improve connectivity and quality of life for all Minneapolis residents,” he said. “This is a big project and a big investment in North Minneapolis.”
Mayor R.T. Rybak’s proposed 2014 budget included $4.5 million to improve the bicycling infrastructure on North 26th Street. The bicycle lanes would connect to Northeast’s 18th Street Greenway via the Northern Pacific-BNSF Minneapolis Rail Bridge railway bridge.
Benjamin Fribley, communications director for Andrew’s campaign, said the North Minneapolis Greenway project aims to bring equitable access to cycling resources, improve the quality of life for area residents and encourage economic investment in North Minneapolis.
“That is not just about the environment but also because of the economic developing,” Andrew said. “Investing in green infrastructure will help build our tax base.”
He said property taxes are too high and green projects could serve as a critical strategy for improving current property values. The bike project could promote new construction in North Minneapolis
“The green investment would help close the economic gap,” Andrew said.
There is no funding yet dedicated to the North Minneapolis Greenway project and the city hasn’t said when construction might begin. Andrew said he’d like to “accelerate” both that project and the plans for North 26th Street.
Andrew said he would partner with the City Council and the Hennepin County Rail Authority to purchase the privately owned rail bridge and find alternative routes for the trains that use the bridge.
Anna Lin is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.