Good evening Council President Stark and members of the city council.
My name is Jessica Treat. I am here representing St. Paul Smart Trips and St. Paul Women on Bikes. I also live at 1509 Lafond Avenue in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood. I’m here with my daughter, Odilia, and my husband, Matt.
We are here today to support adoption of the St. Paul Bicycle Plan.
Adoption of this plan is the first step toward creating a vibrant and accessible city where women and families can safely ride their bikes for recreation, to the library, to school or to the grocery store. Adoption of this plan is an important step in addressing mobility needs in areas of concentrated poverty.
While my work with Smart Trips is very important, my most important job is being a Mom. My family does not own a car so we bike, take transit and use car share to get around. Right now Odilia rides in our cargo bike but she’s learning how to ride a bike and I can safely say there are very few, if any, on-street bike facilities in this city where I would feel comfortable letting her ride her own bike.
We know, from several focus groups held with dozens of women and families over the past year, that I am not the only mom or woman that feels this way. Most women we spoke with expressed a desire to ride but said they didn’t feel safe being in the same lane as car traffic, and didn’t think a painted bike lane would be enough to make them feel safe. Some said they only felt comfortable biking on the sidewalk, and expressed a desire for wider, buffered spaces for biking. By identifying a network of safe routes and including protected bikeways as a facility option, the St. Paul Bicycle Plan can address these safety concerns that are keeping many women and families from biking.
Now is the time to pass the St. Paul Bicycle Plan so we can move forward on designing and implementing St. Paul’s bicycle network.