Council Race Jump to the mayoral race »

Question

Michael Howard

Michael Howard

Herbert Perry

Herbert Perry

Do you ride a bicycle? If so, what kind of riding do you do? (e.g., for errands, to work, for exercise, for
recreation)
Yes. My wife and I both enjoy biking, mostly for recreation and exercise. No longer own a bicycle.
Do you believe Richfield is a good place to bike today? I see it as a place where our city is improving, but where more progress is needed. The bike lanes that were added when 76th place to bike as well. But we have more work to do to make Richfield an easier and safer place to bike. I want to build a future in Richfield where it is easier to get around by biking. Sure.
Do you believe Richfield is a good place to walk today? It depends where you are and why you are walking, but in general, there is a lot of room for improvement to make Richfield a more walkable city. There is a definite lack of sidewalks throughout the city, including in some high traffic areas. We need to make sure that our public investments, including upcoming large road projects, are creating better pedestrian spaces. Sure.
What role should biking and walking have in future comprehensive planning and land-use decisions? A vital role. Making Richfield more attractive to all-comers means having a transportation system that is attractive to all users- not just people driving cars. From my perspective, more people today want to live in walkable neighborhoods with many transportation options. I believe that desire will only grow stronger in the future. We want our city to respond appropriately. In our transportation decisions- both large and small — we should consider its impact on drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians and we should consider what we want our transportation system to look like not just now, but 20 and 30 years down the road. We want a city where the people of Richfield have many safe, practical transportation options to commute in their neighborhoods and city. Depends upon where and when.
Are you supportive of protected bike lanes on major streets, even if that means acquiring more right-of-way? (Protected bike lanes or “cycletracks” are bike lanes physically separated by curbs, bollards, or planters from the driving lanes.) I think Richfield could use protected bikeways. They are a good way to provide safe and practical road access to bikers and should be an option that we are considering as we undertake major road projects. Safety issues would need to be addressed
Much of our transportation planning is based on future motor vehicle traffic forecasts. Should we build our roadways for anticipated 2030 motor traffic? Why or why not? We need to do our best to plan for the future, but I think it would be mistake to put too much credence in traffic assumptions. What people value in their transportation options is changing and there’s evidence that people want to use their car less. That is a positive development — for our neighborhood and our planet. We should assume that more people are going to want to walk and bike in their community in the future rather than only look at anticipated motor traffic. Depends on which streets that are city-controlled.
What role should collaborations with Minneapolis, Bloomington and Edina play in our transportation planning? Richfield is not on an island. One of its assets is that we are connected to other communities like Minneapolis, Bloomington and Edina. We should seek to improve existing connections and build for a future where bikers, pedestrians and drivers can easily commute between our cities. In my work in the state legislature I have built strong relationships with leaders from across the state. I plan on working to build strong inter-governmental relationships so that I can be a strong advocate for Richfield outside of the city- because the reality is many decisions that will impact our city are not just made at City Hall. Depends on what the collaborations would entail.
Are you supportive of additional sidewalks in Richfield? If so, to what extent? Yes. As I mentioned above, I think there is a lot of room for improvement to make Richfield a more walkable city. I think a good place to start is areas where we can ensure that access to transit is supported by Street was redone was a positive step. I live right off Diagonal Boulevard and that is a good sidewalk. At what cost and where?
Are you supportive of additional requirements for businesses to provide bicycle parking? Additional bicycle parking would be beneficial for Richfield. I would like to learn more about this issue and I am open to learning how business requirements for businesses could improve access for bicycle parking. It is up to the individual business to determine the need and value.
The City of Edina recently established a fund using the utility franchise fee to generate over a million dollars a year toward bike/ped improvements, including bike lanes and sidewalks. Should Richfield establish a similar dedicating funding source? Further investment in bicycle infrastructure is needed for our city’s future and we should consider a variety of funding sources to accomplish this goal. I would like to learn more about this initiative that Edina is undertaking to help evaluate whether something similar would be a good idea in Richfield. There is enough fees and taxes already.
Bonus question: Currently, the City of Richfield allows bicyclists of all ages to ride on any sidewalk in the city. This is different from most other cities — including Edina and Minneapolis — which prohibit riding on the sidewalk in business districts. Which is better policy, and why? This policy makes some sense at the current time because in many areas there isn’t very good on-street bicycle infrastructure. Ideally, we should work to improve our bicycle infrastructure so that bicycles do not need to be on our sidewalks. Depends on the numbers.

Mayoral Race Jump to the council race »

Question

Debbie Goettel

Debbie Goettel

Incumbent Mayor

Marty Kirsch

Marty Kirsch

Former Mayor, Current Chair of Transportation Commission

What have you accomplished (or did you accomplish) for bicycling during your time as mayor? With the help of SHIP dollars and Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN we were able to establish a bike advocacy group that has liaisons to commissions that affect the biking community. This group meets on a regular basis and has input at the city level. We have established safe routes to schools for kids — to bike and walk to school. We have provided training on bicycle safety and provided safety equipment such as helmets for kids. Bicycle racks have been provided at all schools and other businesses throughout Richfield. We have developed a bike master plan and it includes connections to neighboring cities along with the Three Rivers Park District regional trails. The city has developed best practices and desired trail criteria for improvements as the bike way system expands and is implemented. Began discussions on trails and bike routes.
Do you ride a bicycle? If so, what kind of riding do you do? (e.g., for errands, to work, for exercise, for
recreation)
I do ride a bike. I ride for pleasure and once in a while for running errands close to home. No.
Do you believe Richfield is a good place to bike today? Yes. In parts of Richfield where improvements have been made to accommodate bikes Richfield provides a great experience. There are options for all levels of riders. Where the improvements are yet to be accomplished, the ride can be more challenging. Yes.
Do you believe Richfield is a good place to walk today? Yes. In parts of Richfield where improvements have been made in sidewalks such as moving the sidewalks farther off the street, making them wider, including handicap access — the experience is great. We have areas of the city where sidewalks are scheduled for improvements; these areas are not great places to walk currently but are on a schedule to get upgrades. Upgrades to sidewalks are also taking place currently in the city with regard to safe routes to schools. Yes.
What role should biking and walking have in future comprehensive planning and land-use decisions? Biking is already integrated into the planning process along with all modes of transportation. New developments should and do include access for bikes and pedestrians in the planning process. Connections and establishment of possible trails, amenities, parking and leisure activities is also considered in redevelopment projects throughout the city. Should always be a part of any discussing involving any planning and land-use decisions.
Are you supportive of protected bike lanes on major streets, even if that means acquiring more right-of-way? (Protected bike lanes or “cycletracks” are bike lanes physically separated by curbs, bollards, or planters from the driving lanes.) Yes. I am supportive where it is appropriate. Currently the city has a protected bike lane across the city on 76th Street. The Three Rivers bike trail is off the street and protected by a boulevard and trees. Where the city has the ability to do these types of trails they should be looked at and thoroughly vetted.Cycle tracks, another protected bike lane idea, are an interesting innovation and provide a barrier on street. This provides for more safety in highly congested roads where there are all modes of traffic. I have viewed the pop-up cycle tracks on the open streets events in Minneapolis. I am aware of some large cities such as Austin Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago, Illinois that have instituted this new cycle lane innovation.I like innovation and will consider this cycle track concept if it is appropriate. I am not sure where this might fit into Richfield. But as the years go by, and Richfield grows, this could be an asset in the city. I will continue to watch the northern cities and how they will work through the winter weather issues in keeping these bike lanes plowed and cleaned along with the adjoining street and pedestrian crossings. Our winters are challenging for our public works employees and even for the best of bikers. Yes.
Much of our transportation planning is based on future motor vehicle traffic forecasts. Should we build our roadways for anticipated 2030 motor traffic? Why or why not? Currently traffic forecasts are the best tools we have available at the city to make future transportation decisions. To qualify for certain funding to make transportation improvements it is required to perform these types of studies. The city by itself is not financially able to improve all these roads so we rely on county and state dollars to fund major portions of these improvements. These studies are a vital part of applying and garnering these dollars to make improvements such has bike lanes and bike trails. However, I also am an advocate for customizing these solutions to best work in Richfield — not just a cookie-cutter approach.We also need to push MNDOT to live up to its responsibility to provide adequate traffic flow on major highways like the Crosstown/62 — this has been an ongoing problem that is forcing Richfield to accommodate more traffic than necessary on 66th Street. We want to better provide for higher quality pedestrian and biking experiences on 66th Street — not more cars moving faster every day through the city. The majority of our major roads in Richfield will more than likely not be reconstructed for another 50-75 years. So now is the time for the Transportation Commission, with the help of our consultants and city staff, to consider all the means of transportation now and in the future. With this information, we can make our best forecast of uses in recommendations to the City Council.
What role should collaborations with Minneapolis, Bloomington and Edina play in our transportation planning? We have been for many years at the staff level collaborating on a regular basis with our surrounding communities to link our bike trails together. Should meet at least once a year with the Transportation Commissions of each city.
Are you supportive of additional sidewalks in Richfield? If so, to what extent? Yes, where appropriate. For example: We have sidewalks on all major county roads, the downtown areas and business districts of the city. A safe route to schools is a great example where we can justify the need for more sidewalks. Other areas are to make business and service connections for pedestrians to increase walkup traffic. Currently neighborhoods can poll their neighbors; and if a majority wants a sidewalk, one can be provided at the expense of the residents.Maintenance and reconstruction of deteriorating sidewalks in Richfield is our first priority requiring our resources to bring those back to a better standard. Currently many sidewalks are in poor to bad conditions on most county north south roads and on 66th Street.These are all examples of appropriate additions for sidewalks. Only if a neighborhood makes a request to the City Council.
Are you supportive of additional requirements for businesses to provide bicycle parking? Yes, in part. The city has been asking developers to include bike amenities with the redevelopment and has met with no resistance. Businesses want all types of traffic in their businesses and have been open to including bike racks where there is the ability to do so. Yes.
The City of Edina recently established a fund using the utility franchise fee to generate over a million dollars a year toward bike/ped improvements, including bike lanes and sidewalks. Should Richfield establish a similar dedicating funding source? Because I may have to make a vote on this issue in the future I will only answer this is what our current process is for funding roads and multi-model transportation options.The city of Richfield includes the bike and pedestrian improvements in with transit/road resurfacing upgrades as a part of the review of all road work. This is not limited to franchise fees alone but encompasses several sources, including partnerships with other government agencies and grant dollars form non-profits. Currently bike funding is included with all transit dollars not a separate fund. The city has been a recipient of several grants for bike improvements. We will continue to seek these opportunities. This way of funding bike improvements seems to be working well for the city currently. No.
Bonus question: Currently, the City of Richfield allows bicyclists of all ages to ride on any sidewalk in the city. This is different from most other cities — including Edina and Minneapolis — which prohibit riding on the sidewalk in business districts. Which is better policy, and why? The policy question may come up again for a vote by the council so I will answer in what the current practice is and why. The current policy in the city of Richfield is to allow bikes on sidewalks. This is in part because of safety, especially for children and because our bike master plan is in the implementation stages. This is part of the safe routes to schools for children and to allow for a safe experience in parts of the city where the bike system is scheduled for construction and not yet implemented. Children – Sidewalks
Adults – Roads

Safety.

(Additional comments submitted by candidate) Richfield is a fully developed first ring suburb of mostly working class individuals; we are not an affluent suburb. As we redevelop we seek partnerships with other agencies and non-profits. We stretch our dollars as far as we are able. When redeveloping, we are careful not to create an imbalance in revenue that will not justify the outcome. There are tradeoffs when managing a fully developed city. These have to be weighted carefully before making changes that will affect the next 50 years of our community. We will continue to make all modes of transportation available to all residence and work to overcome barriers.