Sunday, March 1, 2009

Crime Fear Increases Risks on Midtown Greenway?

Midtown Greenway in front of the Freewheel Bike shop.

I love the Midtown Greenway.  I ride on it all the time, day or night.  It originally was railway trench dug through the heart of Minneapolis, over 125 years ago.   It was converted to a bike trail about 8 years ago.  It has really changed the cycling culture in Minneapolis, because it has made it easy to cut through 5 miles of city quicker than a car.  It also connects to the Cedar Trail, the Chain of Lakes Trail and eventually may hop the river into St. Paul.

Hiawatha Trail.  The sign says "Riding After Dark?".  If you were riding after dark, 
you wouldn't be able to read it, due to lack of lighting.

Back in November there was a string of evening muggings on the greenway.  Groups of men would stand in the way of cyclists and try to mug them when they stopped.  It became big news, perhaps due to fact that it happened on the Greenway and it involved cyclists(pity the people who get mugged on a plain old street).  Something had to be done!   So... they put up a sign!  It listed thing you should do(and not do).  Number one on the list?  Avoid riding at night.  On a personal level, that may make sense, but by discouraging night time riders, they make it even more dangerous to those who do ride.   While I understand the Midtown Greenway Coalition's concern about not having the Greenway associated with danger, and they are taking steps to make sure it doesn't get that reputation.  Scaring people away from the Greenway at night is not the best way to do that. These muggings started to happen in the Fall, when it started getting dark earlier in the evening.  As soon as the snow fell in December, no more muggings. 

Spring is coming soon.  Hopefully they start taking actions that will actually make people safer.  Such as,  getting the police to increase their patrols and getting funding for lighting on the Hiawatha leg into downtown.  The best way to make it safer on the Greenway is to increase traffic, especially in the evenings.  I hope that they don't keep using scare tactics that keep people away.  


The Jolly Crank said...

Yes to all!

anna said...

Hm, that doesn't sound good. Hope they will do something to increase safety.

m e l i g r o s a said...

so cool a tunnel with such history! too bad muggers lurk around. hope that the situation improves :)

miss sarah said...

Oh that's awful! And also the whole 'get off the street at night' in an effort to try to make it safer. Have they been to Times Square at night in Manhattan? People everywhere! Lots of lighting. Totally safer than hanging out in a sad, quiet alley in the dark. Take a clue and light that stuff up, city!