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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has vetoed a proposal that would create 24/7 dedicated bus lanes on Hennepin Avenue as part of its reconstruction.

Frey informed the council of the decision in a Friday letter. Council members had previously voted to include the full-time bus lanes as part of the Hennepin Avenue South reconstruction project, which will affect the street from Lake Street to Douglas Avenue.

The council voted to add the full-time bus lanes to the proposal after the Minneapolis Public Works Department’s final recommendation did not include them.

But Frey cited issues with parking and concerns from businesses along the corridor in his letter. He instead voiced support for the Public Works recommendation, which does include an off-street bikeway and other safety improvements.

Under the Public Works proposal, the bus lanes would operate during the day and allow for parking during off-hours.

“I fully support a bus only lane with specified hours of operation to reduce congestion and vehicle miles traveled,” Frey said. “I cannot, however, support keeping bus only lanes 24 hours a day when buses do not run 24 hours a day. This would ignore the countless small businesses, many of them BIPOC owned, who compromised both for the presence of a protected bike lane and prioritized bus lanes at the expense of a substantial amount of parking.”

The Public Works proposal would save around 20 parking spots during off hours, according to FOX9.

City officials in favor of full-time bus lanes say the change will support pedestrian safety and marginalized communities, including people of color and people with disabilities.

Ward 10 Council member Aisha Chughtai, who supported the amendment for 24/7 bus lanes, criticized Frey’s veto on Twitter. 

Chughtai also said the council would take up the matter again on June 30 and said she and other officials woll continue to rally support for the measure.

Our Street Minneapolis, a nonprofit that supports improved transit, walking and biking infrastructure, also urged residents to call on council members to override Frey’s veto.

The Hennepin Avenue reconstruction project is set to be completed in 2026, with construction starting in 2024. 

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