[The PedalPub on the Stone Arch Bridge -- img. fm Beeractivist.]
I have to say I'm alarmed by this blog post detailing a possible crackdown on Minneapolis's own PedalPub.
Apparently, Minneapolis Real Estate Czar Lisa Goodman may be trying to squelch the PedalPub and its suprirsingly tolerant state statute.
While I've never been on it, I have had the pleasure of seeing the PedalPub go past me a few times while on the sidewalk -- once on West 7th Street in Saint Paul, and the other time in Downtown Minneapolis. Each time I've seen it, a huge smile has cracked across my face. It's so fun to see people traveling at 5 miles per hour through the city and enjoying it. (Compare to this 5 mph experience.)
I'm sure that council members like Goodman see the pedal pub as a vehicle for vagrants, drunks, and assorted riff-raff that slugs about, clogging traffic throughout the city and causing commotion, noise, litter, and untold other public crimes. In other words, it's a nuisance akin to dancing in the streets.
But when I see the PedalPub, I see a real boon to Minneapolis' sidewalks and streetlife. In fact, I'm prepared to argue that the PedalPub is helping Minneapolis businesses, neighborhoods, and pedestrians alike, whether or not they work in the licensed beverage industry. Here are a few reasons why:
- 1) Traffic Calming
The presence of unconventional vehicles on the city streets encourages surrounding cars to slow down, and calms traffic for everyone. And barring the Heart of the Beast bike puppets, the PedalPub is one of the most unconventional vehicles in the Twin Cities. Having a gawky, slow moving drunken crawlmobile well-guided makes makes streets more welcoming for bikers, walkers, gawkers, children, old folks, panhandlers, tourists, and anyone else who isn't rushing along on their commute ...
And, in fact, Minneapolis streets are going to feature lots of different kinds of unconventional vehicles in the future. I'm seeing more and more of them on the streets every day, and higher energy prices will mean more scooters, bikes, motorcycles, electric cars, segways(?), smart cars, buses, streetcars, light rail trains, and probably things we don't even know about yet. I'd say that the era of the monolithic family car is coming to an end...
- 2) The out-of-doors
- 3) Economic connectivity
[Witness this excruciating video of a PedalPub clogging up traffic in Amsterdam.]
The PedalPub is a concept from Amsterdam, one of the world's most walkable cities that boasts with some of the world's most loved sidewalks and streets. Short of legalization of certain substances and activities, you'd think Minneapolis would be doing everything it can to become more like the Dutch.
In fact, I think that the City Council should buy a 13-seat PedalPub where they could hold their meetings. It could be steered by Mayor Rybak, and would take Minneapolis Council Members straight to a walkable, civic, and environmentally friendly future at a stately 5 miles per hour. Plus, there can be no doubt it would greatly boost the City Council's popularity.
I think it'd be a damn shame if the wet blankets on the city council succeeded to bottling up the (open bottles) streetlife of the city. The Pedal Pub is a great symbol of tolerance, neighborhood, street life, and publicly-condoned intoxication. Surely there's room on the street for everyone.
Finally, this from Reetsyberger:
Interested in helping the PedalPub preserve its future in Minneapolis? Take a moment from your busy day to write to your City Councilwomen Lisa Goodman and Elizabeth Glidden; share with them your positive stories about the PedalPub.