Around 70 people marched down Hennepin Avenue South on June 28 in protest of Mayor Jacob Frey’s recent veto of the Hennepin Avenue South redesign plan–specifically the sections that call for no parking in the bus lanes.
Organizers with Hennepin for People asked people to contact their councilmember and either thank them for supporting the all-day bus lanes or ask them to flip their vote from a no to a yes for the all-day bus lanes. The redesign plan would be veto-proof with a 9-4 council vote. On June 16, the council voted 8-5 in favor of the plan. The mayor vetoed parts of the plan the next day.
Before participants marched down Hennepin Avenue South, people gathered at Smith Triangle Park and heard from organizers about why the all-day bus lanes are important for addressing climate change.
The owners of the barber shop, One 21, and Fit 1st Running observed the gathering from outside their stores. One of the barbershop owners laid on a motorcycle horn while people spoke at the pre-march gathering.
In between the horn blares, Manny Mitter, the owner of Fit 1st Running said, “We’re just sitting here, wondering what [the protestors] are doing across from our businesses.”
Once I filled in Minter on the purpose of the protest, he responded, “It’s ridiculous. I mean, I don’t even recognize most of the people. I live three blocks down from here. I recognize maybe three or four people.”
One of the owners of the barber shop said he does not support the all-day bus lanes either.
“Just make it make sense for everybody,” Tyler Kazlow, an owner of One 21 said, as the motorcycle horn continued to blare. Kazlow is concerned about how his business will be impacted with a lack of on-street parking.
“I have customers that come from the hood, Bloomington, Eagen, Edina, everywhere. Not just from a three-block radius,” Kazlow said.
The owners of One 21 and Fit 1st Running did not join the march but one person counter-protested next to the speakers at Smith Triangle Park.
Around 5:45 p.m. the march began, heading south on Hennepin Avenue South. The protest was large enough to take up a full vehicle lane as people marched to the Metro Transit Uptown Station just north of Lagoon Avenue. Multiple cars were parked in the bus lane during no-parking hours as the crowd chanted, “cars in the bus lane have got to go.”
As people marched down the street, organizers led chants that included:
What do we want? Veto override! Where do you want it? Now!
When do you ride the bus? Morning, noon, and night!
The climate is changing, this street needs rearranging!
Full time bus lanes now!
Once the march reached the Uptown Station, protestors lined the sidewalk, showing their signs to people traveling on Hennepin Avenue South.
The full City Council meets June 30 at 9:30 a.m. The council’s agenda was not available at the time of publication but it’s likely the council will discuss the mayor’s veto and how to proceed with the redesign plan.