Bradley Smith

Everyone treasures their weekend rituals, and Edina resident Bradley Smith is no exception. On Saturday mornings, Smith likes to wake up early and bike two miles from his home in the Lake Cornelia neighborhood to Byerly's on France Avenue to pick up a box of doughnuts for his family.

Weekday grocery runs are another story entirely. A busy work and social schedule leave little time for leisurely rides - and rush hour traffic makes the prospect of biking across busy France Avenue unappealing. More to the point, "how is anyone going to bike with five or six full bags of groceries? I really don't think you can. You have to drive."
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Smith is sure his neighbors can relate to his experiences, and feels that this is a perfect example of why the City of Edina must carefully monitor and balance the needs of bikers and motorists. Not coincidentally, ensuring a situation in which cars and non-vehicular traffic can coexist is a cardinal aim of Edina's Living Streets initiative.

Bradley and wife Becky have lived in the area for nearly eight years, and feel that the time is ripe for a long-term project like Living Streets. "In the past couple of years, a lot of young families have moved into this area. There are quite a few kids around, and you see them. With people out running, people walking their dogs and kids riding their bikes, it's like we really do have living streets around here."

Smith reports that the sense of community on his street is so strong that it is not uncommon for his family to finish up dinner to find friendly neighbor dogs from around the block waiting patiently outside to play with his two kids.

Smith believes that a concerted effort like Living Streets can go a long way toward ensuring that the City's infrastructure grows in a way that nurtures this "social structure" - "what I think of as the real lifeblood of a neighborhood." Well-placed sidewalks and pathways are an important part of this.

Traffic control is also key, though Smith knows this is another area where a careful balance must be struck and maintained. "Speed limits are well and good, but high-traffic stretches, like 70th Street by my house, present challenges," he said. "You can't quite socially engineer. If you make it unreasonable, people will go barreling down side streets instead, and no one's better off."

The needs of motorists must be accommodated amid the growth and change for another important reason, as well. "It's wintery here six to seven months out of the year. We couldn't bike over to Byerly's or Target for groceries all of the time, even if we wanted to!"