Fewer Cars, More Transit: Minneapolis Lays Out Plans for Getting Around in 2030
Courtesy of the city of Minneapolis

Fewer Cars, More Transit: Minneapolis Lays Out Plans for Getting Around in 2030

City officials hope to bring high-frequency transit within a five-minute walk of 75 percent of residents.

By 2030, Minneapolis city leaders hope three out of every five trips in the city will be taken by foot, bike, or transit. That’s one of the overarching goals of the city’s 10-year Transportation Action Plan, which was released on Monday.

The plan lays out a broad strategy to increase public transit coverage and frequency, and to improve public safety. City officials developed the plan after a series of meetings with community members, said Kevin Reich, Minneapolis city council member and chair of the Transportation and Public Works Committee.

Enhanced safety, transit, and mobility were some of the key themes that emerged from the meetings, he said.

“It’s not just a space where a car or bus will move down; it’s our public realm. It’s a key identifier of what a community is,” Reich said.

The city plans to partner with Metro Transit to address the demand for increased public transportation coverage and frequency. As part of the transportation plan, the city aims to bring high-frequency transit within a five-minute walk of 75 percent of residents, and within a 10-minute walk of 90 percent of residents. The end goal, city officials say, is to “lessen the demand for parking.” In downtown Minneapolis, parking remains a persistent issue.

Minneapolis currently has 8,330 on-street metered parking spaces, according to the transportation plan. Going forward, the city aims to increase that number, according to the plan.

“We want a system that creates real choice and access,” Reich said. “Some people are dependent on certain modes––they’re transit dependent, or they’re mobility dependent.”

Funding for many of the initiatives is still unclear. Many of the outlined actions could come out of the city’s budget for transportation and public works, or state and federal funding.

The plan comes as the previous transportation plan — known as Access Minneapolis — expires and a new 20-year city plan begins, said Kathleen Mayell, the city’s transportation planning manager.

“Everything does interact and share the same space on our streets and there’s a lot of competing demands,” she said. “This plan is about helping give structure and priority around that.”

The TAP also builds off 2017’s Vision Zero, which aims to have no traffic fatalities or severe injuries on the city streets by 2027, Mayell said. These injuries are disproportionately experienced in lower income areas, among the Native American population, and those who walk and bike, according to the report.

Unlike the prior transportation plan, TAP addresses freight, and the increased demand for the movement of goods. The plan outlines strategies to reduce carbon emissions from moving freight by incentivizing the use of new delivery technologies, tools, and zero-emissions tech.

“We all depend on freight and the movement of goods for our daily lives. And that’s a critically important function of our right of way,” Mayell said. “There’s a number of strategies and actions that focus on better tools to navigate the city as a freight operator.”

Less congestion and time spent commuting or moving goods would be beneficial to the business community in the downtown core of Minneapolis, Reich added.

“The business community has been very clear: They want the system to work efficiently,” he said. “In a built urban environment you can’t really widen things to make things flow more effectively. You need to work with what you have. You’re physically constrained by the built environment. But within that physical constraint, you can get better flow. And better flow means better business.”