Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nice Rides Bikes In North Loop!

Stock photo by John Hoff, Nice Rides bikes on West Bank,
blog post by John Hoff

There has been a lot of public discussion lately--some of it right here on this blog--about how Nice Ride doesn't have any bike racks in North Minneapolis. But tonight (almost by accident) I found out this statement is not ENTIRELY true.

There is a Nice Rides rack in North Loop. And North Loop is considered by some to be--ever so technically--part of North Minneapolis.

However... terms of its issues, demographics and development, North Loop has aligned itself with Downtown for (so I am told) the last few decades. But North Loop is still attached to North Minneapolis, has "north" in the name, and in so many ways seems spiritually "part of" North Minneapolis.

I do not write this for the purpose of taking the wind out of the sails of the "Let's get a Nice Rides bike rack in North Minneapolis" movement but, rather, I think it is best to have all the complex and nuanced facts on the table for a meaningful discourse and discussion.

Certainly, while North Minneapolis advocates push for Nice Ride racks to be installed in North Minneapolis, the fact at least one rack exists in North Loop will NOT miss being mentioned.


M. Clinton said...

Sorry, I don't consider the North Loop the same as North Minneapolis. It's close, and that's great, but it is not North Minneapolis.

Johnny Northside! said...

And I don't either, but that's not what the lines on the MAP say!

M. Clinton said...

Oops: Here's the wikipedia link:

M. Clinton said...

Wikipedia has a break down of MPLS neighborhoods. North Loop is definitely considered part of downtown - even if the street signs are "N 2nd, 3rd, etc." Other areas of downtown have "S" before the streets, but they are still downtown. That does not make them part of S MPLS. That said, I think it is an awesome amenity that N MPLS is close to North Loop. And actually, the fact that the North Loop has bikes takes weakens the other argument why W Broadway did not get even one kiosk - because they wanted kiosks to be within close proximity of each other.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it's helpful to characterize the north loop as north. especially when we think about who will be served by that kiosk.

if they were to put two kiosks in north as an extension of the DT network it would probably be:
1. farmers market
2. heritage park
3. international market square
4. maybe down glenwood a bit more towards milda's.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I'm not even going to bother with Wikipedia. Let's go to the city's website.

How do you want to define "north" Minneapolis? You can't do it by district lines for Congress (federal or state), city council, county commissioner, or park board. If you go by anything with a "North" on the street sign then we'll have to annex parts of the Bryn Mawr and Downtown West neighborhoods.

The only objective way to do this is through neighborhood and community boundaries. North Minneapolis has the Near North and Camden communities. North Loop isn't in there. End of debate.

M. Clinton said...

Thanks Hawkman!

M. Clinton said...

I just read the MPR article about this issue. The response was that they may move a station to the Farmer's Market. While again, this is getting CLOSER, the Farmer's Market is still North Loop - part of downtown. Yes it's on the edge of downtown - right near the edge of North Minneapolis, but for crying out loud, can we ever get any amenities on West Broadway or is everything always going to be placed near, but not actually *in* North Minneapolis?

We need to quit fearing West Broadway if we ever expect it to become a better place. Yes, I think the farmer's market should have a station. But that should not be a token effort to appease the North Minneapolis issue.

The article also indicates there are not kiosks South of Lake Street. What does that have to do with anything? West Broadway is equal in proximity to downtown as Lake Street - if not closer to the Warehouse District and Twins Stadium - major entertainment destinations. Let's quit trying to make excuses, realize a faux pas occurred and correct it instead of putting out more excuses.

la_vie_en_rose said...

I can't ride a bike (my ability to balance on one has always been terrible; last bike I rode was a tricycle), but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see one of these around here (maybe I'd like to learn someday)...and I wasn't shocked when they didn't put one in this part of the city. One doesn't need the power of mind-reading to know that the company probably 1.) worries about the safety of their bikes in this area (even if the stations are secure), and 2.) they probably also think that precious little people in this area can afford the $250 cardhold, and the ones that can don't justify a station going up. I hate thinking it's that, but honestly, what other reason would they have for not putting one around here considering our proximity to Downtown?

Think about it. A station on Broadway? Bam, ride a bike over to a game at the stadium (do they have a station by the stadium yet? if not, they need one)! Or ride a bike down to the stadium to hop on the train. Hell, I'd learn to ride just to be able to do that.

M. Clinton said...

My understanding is that the $250 hold is only for debit cards. For credit cards, the cost is something like five bucks. And they don't need to worry about the bikes being stolen - if not returned, they are charged to your credit card. Besides, these bikes are soooooo identifiable, I don't believe anyone could steal one with the thought that this would become their new ride and nobody would notice! LOL

I had the exact same thought about using one of these as a way to get to the light rail station. I wonder how many other people have thought of that. Of course a kiosk at the Farmer's Market would be close, but it wouldn't serve Northsiders - maybe others from other places for which the Farmer's Market is a destination. For its intent to be accessible to Northsders, it has to be in proximity to where Northsiders LIVE.

Finally, not that economics are not important, but it seems that I've hear another genre of argument I hear is that Nice Ride has to consider what is financially viable. I feel though that the fact that this was funded through a HUGE federal subsidy is reason that equitable access should be a consideration.

When I moved to North Minneapolis, as much as I had people reacting with shock that I would do so because of crime, I was amazed at how many people were just as shocked (if not more) that I would go somewhere so void of amenities. We need to change that. Again, Im not saying FLOOD NoMi with Kiosks. I'm saying at least one. Again, we are in close proximity to downtown with a major commercial corridor - there is no other part of the city with that scenario that was skipped over. The Northside is never going to improve and gain amenities until we begin treating it as it is just as deserving as other parts of the city. And until we start taking some chances and bringing amenities here, the lack of amenities is going to be a reason that folks will not want to settle here. It begins with taking chances. Let's do it.

la_vie_en_rose said...

I honestly doubt they could be stolen. The stands look pretty secure to me. I was more or less referring to the company worrying over possible damages made to the bikes (perhaps while secure to the kiosks). Not saying it would happen, but you never know.

Trudrud said...

Yes, the bikes are easily identifiable, but I wouldn't doubt that there would be at least a few cases of the silly things being stolen, or at least going missing after a stolen credit or debit card is used to check them out. Never underestimate how dumb our local criminals are, after all, if they were smart, they'd get real jobs.
Some of our neighborhood miscreants steal stuff just to steal it. Three years ago somebody pried the top part of my fence post toppers off, breaking them in the process. They didn't even get a single one intact so that left us both with unusable plastic junk, but damned if they didn't steal them anyway. What I'd be interested to see is whether or not the scrap yards actually notice, or rather, care, that the brightly painted, spanking new, odd looking bike that is being turned in for scrap by some drug-addled lowlife is one of the nice rides before it ends up in the crusher.

la_vie_en_rose said...

People will steal anything right now to make money. My dad's tailgate from his '96 Dodge Ram was stolen a few months ago in the tiny town of Rising Sun. The insurance adjuster told him that there's been a lot of cases of that lately because you can easily get $400 for one at a junk/scrapyard (and those guys buy things, no questions asked).

Cost him $1700 to replace the damn thing.

Folwell Fox said...

M. Clinton, thank you for pointing out the fact that Nice Ride was in some manner actually funded through a tax subsidy. I must have missed that somewhere. My contention was that it is not private business's responsibility to provide public services to a community. While it is still the responsibility of the citizens to make an area attractive for business a tax funded endeavor should be spread equally and without prejudice.

M. Clinton said...

@ Folwell Fox - I'll qualify this with saying that I am just repeating what is reported by Insight News - I have yet to confirm the information myself. BUT Insight reports that Nice Ride is 100% funded from the award money from Blue Cross's lawsuit against big tobacco with the purpose of attacking health issues, primarily obesity, that are attributable to inactivity. If I'm not mistaken, the Northside scores the lowest in the city for populations with poor health indicators. Not that I think the bikes should be placed wherever people are overweight and lazy - I mean, thay have to be used for sure and the business model needs to be successful. HOWEVER, the reasons West Broadway should have received at least ONE kiosk are adding up - closer proximity to downtown than Lake Street (which received kiosks), other kiosks nearby in the North Loop (as are intended to be clustered with others in proximity), funded to improve health of inactive populations (we are most in need), Nice Ride representatives indicated phase one would include commercial areas nearby but outside of downtown (perfect description of W Bro). We need to recognize that a faux pas occured and quit trying to justify it. I think to continue to attempt to make justifications about it is only going to taint Nice Ride's reputation. I have NO animosity towards Nice Ride. I wanted it here because I thought it was AWESOME. However, the more folks that are knee jerk reacting to justify the faux pas instead of recognizing it are creating a backlash where now you find citizens and the media basically calling them evil little symbols of classism and racism. That is not the direction I want to see this go. I am all for supporting Nice Ride - but at the same the longer this festers the more the words "Nice Ride" are going to have negative, stained connotations in MPLS.

Anonymous said...

Trudrud is right.
Bikes=Scrap Metal.
That's all you need to know.

Anonymous said...

Let the theft begin. They will make an exemption for North because no one that lives there can get credit (hello!)

Under the stimulus grant, a community outreach process will explore barriers to using the rental bikes, such as lack of access to credit cards among certain populations. At a community meeting on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at 2001 Plymouth Av. N., Nice Ride is seeking advice on where it should expand kiosks. The system has recorded about 57,000 bike rentals since being launched June 10.