The DFL Senior Caucus seems to believe that the ability to drive and park a personal vehicle wherever and whenever one pleases is an inalienable right granted to every motorist. In the last issue of this paper, Patricia Kelly, Board Chair of the Minneapolis DFL Senior Caucus, alleged that a proposal to close down some of the Minneapolis parkways to vehicle traffic on just two weekends a month over the summer is “discriminatory towards both seniors and the disabled.” This claim is both laughably overblown and totally inconsiderate to the many seniors and people with disabilities who either cannot or choose not to drive themselves. It is, at most, a minor inconvenience to a subset of car-owning individuals who now may have to take an alternate route to the parkway, or park in a different spot on a few select days of the month.
When the city closed down its parkways in 2020, the lakes and rivers became oases for people who wanted to get out of their homes and walk, rollerblade, bike or even just read quietly on a park bench without the safety risk, noise and pollution of automobiles. Now that the parkways have returned to business as usual, I’ve noticed that the walking and bike paths are often over-trafficked, while the roads remain relatively empty – though I have also seen the occasional car barrel through with reckless speed!
If we sincerely want Minneapolis to be a more livable, active and climate-friendly city, we need to stop bending over backwards to appease motorists and start making policy choices that make it easy for citizens to get outside, recreate and connect with each other.