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Group holds Minneapolis rally against Mayor Frey's veto of Hennepin Avenue bus lane

Neighbors push for permanent bus lanes along Hennepin Ave in Uptown
Neighbors push for permanent bus lanes along Hennepin Ave in Uptown 03:10

MINNEAPOLIS -- A group of around 50 people rallied and marched during rush hour in Uptown, Minneapolis Tuesday night to bring some attention to big changes they want to see on Hennepin Avenue, the main corridor in that area.

This rally comes after Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed a plan to create 24/7 bus lanes, eliminating street parking between Douglas Avenue and Lake Street on Hennepin Avenue.

A group, called Hennepin For People, want the city council to override the mayor's veto.

Right now, Metro Transit buses on Hennepin Avenue are only given a dedicated lane to pick up and drop off commuters, Monday-Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. These dedicated lane are marked by solid red lanes. Outside of that two-hour window, those red lanes are street parking.

"Ridership is continuing to increase, people are going back to work and, you know, they've changed their habits. It's time think about how can we make this city more welcoming for them," said Katie Jones of Hennepin For People.

She says the group wants to reimagine this busy corridor to be more equitable and safe for all commuters, including bus riders and cyclists.

"I have people who tell me, 'You know I'm not going to Uptown because there's drag racing, because it's just generally unpleasant, it's loud,'" said Jones. "We want to flip the script."

Hennepin For People

Hennepin For People created a rendering of their reimagined Hennepin Avenue, which shows the 24/7 bus lanes, as well as sidewalk elevated bike lanes. Jones says the dedicated bus lanes will prevent drivers from forgetting to move their parked cars during rush hour, which would prevent buses from having to move in and out of car traffic.

"When we're really thinking about balancing all of these needs, it's having everyone in their lane will allow for the greatest amount of efficiency in travel," said Jones.

Mayor Frey says he vetoed this plan because Metro Transit services don't run 24/7, so 24/7 lanes should not be dedicated to them. He also said he worries eliminating street parking would hurt businesses.

Jones argues that cars can park on side streets, and buses can bring more business.

"A typical car can hold four people, a bus can hold 40," said Jones.

The Minneapolis City Council approved this plan 8-5 before the veto, and it takes nine votes to override the mayor's veto, so Hennepin For People hopes they can convince at least one council member to switch their vote.  The council is reconsidering this proposal on Thursday.

Mayor Frey's office gave this updated statement following Tuesday's rally: "The Hennepin Avenue redesign is an important project for transportation infrastructure in our city and our community. Mayor Frey looks forward to continued collaboration with the City Council and City staff to make sure we're all working together towards this progressive vision."

For all the planning efforts on the Hennepin Avenue redesign, click here

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