Outrage Ensues After Minneapolis Bicycle Job is Posted

A few days ago we let you know about a position that had been created with the City of Minneapolis to coordinate the pedestrian and bicycle projects, apparently we weren’t the only ones to notice.

Perhaps the timing of the job announcement wasn’t great, coming the day after Mayor Rybak vetoed an effort from the Minneapolis City Council to prevent the layoff of 10 firefighters.  On Wednesday the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an article with the following title;  “Despite fiscal woes, Minneapolis aims to hire bicycle coordinator

At issue?  How can the City simultaneously claim to not have enough money to pay 10 firefighters and at the same time hire someone for a “Fluff Program”?  You can imagine the outrage.  Particularly upset about the issue Mark Lakosky, president of Minneapolis Firefighters Local 82 who you can attribute the previous quote to.

Why has this one position become the lightning rod for criticism on how the City manages their budget and allocation of State funding (which has been majorly slashed).

Lets take a look at the actual points surrounding this job;

1) The salary is coming from money that was already in the budget for the department of public works.  Essentially, instead of hiring a few different part-time staff members (already in the budget) they chose to create this position.

2) The city’s employment practices and budget is not a zero sum equation, it isn’t like they said we want to hire this one position therefore we need to fire someone else.

3) The DPW isn’t asking for special funding and took their cuts just like most other departments, they are just choosing to spend the money allocated to them in this fashion.

4) Why is this position being singled out in the title of the article?  In addition to this position the article also mentions that the City is hiring a database engineer, a stationary engineer, an internal auditor and a manager of intellectual properties for the police department.

Cycling and walking has become a focus and priority for the City for a number of reasons, including as a method to ease increasing vehicular traffic.  Why does it seem like despite the best efforts of many, cycling still seems to be treated like a glorified recreational activity only?

Be sure to read the entire Start Trib article, and if you can handle the rage check out the comments section.  Also visit the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition’s website to see what you can do to help make sure that this position remains a priority.

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8 Responses to Outrage Ensues After Minneapolis Bicycle Job is Posted

  1. Will Zager says:

    The comments section on that article is mind-blowing…I wouldn’t even know where to start responding. Every now and then there would be one well laid out argument but then it would basically end in ‘this is stupid and so are bikes’ …blows my mind

  2. To level so much outrage at the prospect of creating a “Bike Coordinator” position when the big banks have gambled with the economy and the big oil companies have damaged the environment seems so misdirected. How did riding a bicycle become a “liberal” activity? I seem to remember former President Bush inviting Lance Armstrong to ride on his Texas ranch.

  3. Paul Smith says:

    Here is the letter I sent to the Star Tribune today.

    Letter to Editor:
    If you think the hiring of a Minneapolis Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator is a
    frivoulous use of city funds consider this. No matter what vehicle we use to
    get around, each and every one of us is a pedestrian every day. It’s good to
    hear the city will soon have someone responsibe for pedestrian issues.

    The Bike/Ped Coordinator will also work with city departments to develop roads
    designed for bicyclists and to promote bicycle traffic safety. One of the main
    elements of the program will be to encourage safe and lawful bicycling (all in
    favor, please raise your hand). With more bikes on the street it is essential
    for bicyclists to know and obey the traffic laws. Motorists can share the road
    with bicylists safely when everyone operates responsibly.

    A goal for every community should be safe and livable streets. A Bike/Ped
    Coordinator is a big step toward achieving that goal.

    Paul Smith, Minneapolis

  4. acyclist says:

    Sounds like an education problem. I am sure people won’t complain when the ped/bike illustrates to the uneducated. “Bicycle tourism adds to Minneapolis’s sales tax, and the rest of Minnesota”
    By Mr. ped/bike
    Please note: Including the section on where I increase those dollars.

    It’s not the paper’s intent to educate.

  5. alex says:

    Merp. Thinking about the rage strib comments give me.. provokes a bit of rage.

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