Media Coverage: What others are saying about the Met Council
Duininck a good Met Council choice: but burden will be on him, and Dayton, to bridge political divides
Star Tribune Opinion - January 19, 2015
The Metropolitan Council, which exists to transcend political, geographic and philosophical divisions, is increasingly embroiled in debates over issues that are, well, political, geographic and philosophical. It’s imperative that the agency work through these problems, because its work is vital for the region and the state.
With about 4,200 employees and a $935.8 million budget, the Met Council is the region’s planning agency, tasked with assessing needs and implementing many aspects of transportation, housing, water management and parks in the seven-county metropolitan area. The council’s efforts have a direct impact on millions of Minnesotans as well as on the region’s economic competitiveness.
The council, in short, should not be dismantled, as some suggest. But the debate over the 17-member body’s unelected status is legitimate, and should be part of a conversation about how to increase public confidence that the council is responsive to citizens’ needs.
Take the long view on transportation in Minnesota
Star Tribune Editorial -January 9, 2015
It will take new money to “get real” about roads, bridges and transit.
Can the decay and neglect that afflict transportation systems in Minnesota be corrected by a one-time infusion of cash, a drawdown of uncommitted funds and a tighter operation at the Department of Transportation (MnDOT)? Or will a fix require enlarging the state’s transportation revenue stream with increased taxes?
Those questions roughly outline the debate that took shape last week as the 2015 legislative session convened. To their credit, both sides voiced openness to other ideas. But the opening bids by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the new state House GOP majority reveal markedly differing notions about what will be required to end the deterioration of the state’s transportation systems, let alone upgrade them to serve a growing population. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/288112031.html
Met Council weighs in on protecting water supplies
Star Tribune - December 29, 2014
A final report on protecting water supplies in the northeast metro area confirms a price tag that could exceed $600 million. But it also cautions that lots of unknowns remain.
“This evaluation of alternatives stops short of identifying the best way forward,” the Metropolitan Council said in a study released Monday, adding: “The best option for moving forward may be a hybrid of the examples considered in this study, and could involve approaches that were not considered in this study.”
The study is just one in a sequence, from multiple sources, examining ways to deal with water problems in the area. The poster child is lake levels on White Bear Lake, which has lost a quarter of its contents in a decade. http://www.startribune.com/local/east/287059521.html
Despite Cheaper Gas, Public Transit Ridership is Up, Trade Group Reports
New York Times, Dec. 21, 1024
David Needham thought he would need to buy a car when he moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul from San Francisco in February 2013, but was pleasantly surprised to find that his adopted city has an extended transit system that meets all of his business and social needs, allowing him and his family to remain car-free.
Mr. Needham, 29, a website developer for nonprofits and small businesses, lives a five-minute walk from a new light-rail system that runs every 10 minutes and takes him into downtown Minneapolis in about 30 minutes for a fare of about $2. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/22/us/despite-cheaper-gas-public-transit-ridership-is-up-trade-group-reports.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad&_r=1
As diversity grows, disparities plague Twin Cities
Too many are being left behind as metro area becomes less white.
Star Tribune (Opinion) November 6, 2014
A new report from the Metropolitan Council describes something that’s probably obvious: Our complexion is changing. The Twin Cities metro area is gradually looking more like the rest of America.
Fifty years ago we were outliers — 98 percent white. Now, one of every four residents of the seven inner-ring metro counties is “of color.” Latinos, blacks and Asians have accounted for 92 percent of the region’s growth since 2000. By 2040, they are expected to make up 40 percent of our population.
The Met Council report shows that, from 2000-2013, Anoka, Scott and Washington counties more than doubled their shares of nonwhite population, while Hennepin and Ramsey counties lost white population. And different racial and ethnic populations are driving our “of color” diversity: Latinos in Minneapolis; blacks inBrooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center; Asians in Woodbury andShakopee; blacks and Latinos in Bloomington and Burnsville, and Asians and blacks in St. Paul. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/281861601.html
Suburbs lead in diversity growth
Populations of color have more than doubled in the five suburban counties since 2000.
Star Tribune - November 4, 2014
Over the past 13 years, populations of color in Hennepin and Ramsey counties grew about 40 to 50 percent. In each of the Twin Cities area’s five purely suburban counties, that number was more than 100 percent.
According to a new Metropolitan Council report, growth ranged from 114 percent in Dakota County to 229 percent in Scott County, compared with the 64 percent average across the Twin Cities region. Among the suburban communities with the most significant growth were Burnsville, Shakopee, Woodbury and Brooklyn Park, which all gained more than 8,000 residents of color between 2000 and 2013.
This mirrors what’s happening across the state. Between 2000 and 2010, all but two Minnesota counties saw growth in populations of color. According to the Met Council report, based on census data released in late October, two in five Twin Cities residents will be people of color by 2040. http://www.startribune.com/local/north/281547811.html
How the Twin Cities got transit right:
Money.cnn.com - October 14, 2014
Big projects often divide cities. But Minneapolis' light rail line is creating jobs and driving development in underserved areas.
The right way to renew a city. When the Minneapolis metro region went to build a light rail line connecting downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, the initial reaction was not good. Several community groups from lower-income neighborhoods along the proposed route opposed the project. They'd been scarred from a previous highway project that cut right through the neighborhood, dividing homes from the retail district and resulting in hundreds of evictions. They were afraid the new rail line would do the same.
Yet many of the train's supporters wanted to run the line through the neighborhood. They saw it as not only a tool to move people but also one to drive economic development. The 11-mile, billion dollar Green Line opened in June. Not everyone loves it - the chief complaint is that it's too slow. But many are hailing it as a model urban project. Supporters successfully addressed many of the concerns of people along the route, and there are many benefits. http://money.cnn.com/interactive/technology/minneapolis-light-rail/index.html
Mapped: How public transit changes your job prospects
Washington Post - October 7, 2014
Public transit dramatically changes the shape of a city for people who live near (and rely on) it. A job that may be five miles away feels much closer if it's on the other end of a subway line. A supermarket in the next neighborhood over may feel remote if there's no bus to get to it.
The amenities in a city, for many people, are only as accessible as its transit system. And the better that transit system — with broad coverage, short waits, easy transfers — the more accessible the city is. This is true in all kinds of ways, for all kinds of destinations, but it's particularly relevant for regional economies — and even social mobility — when it comes to talking about jobs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/07/mapped-how-public-transit-changes-your-job-prospects/
Equity, empowerment: how community-driven TOD is transforming green line neighborhoods
The Line - October 1, 2014
In June, Twin Cities’ residents celebrated the Green Line's opening with free rides, performances, activities, and restaurant and brewery stops along the new railway. What many may not have known, however, is that in neighborhoods adjacent to Green Line, community-driven planning had been underway—for almost a decade.
In order to “get out ahead of” changes the new Green Line would bring to their neighborhoods—to forge, in other words, a powerful community-generated alternative to the transit-driven gentrification that often occurs in cities—area residents, business owners, neighborhood development associations, support organizations and planning authorities got together long before the tracks were laid.
Their goal was to transform Central Corridor communities from the inside out, by boosting prosperity and creating new economic opportunities for residents. They also wanted to ensure their neighborhoods’ unique cultural characteristics and institutions were preserved. http://www.thelinemedia.com/features/LISCcommunitytransformation10082104.aspx
RailVolution showcases Minnesota transit successes
Crossroads - September 26, 2014
Before a national audience of 1,400 urban planners and transit enthusiasts, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin and others told the story of how the Twin Cities metropolitan area was transformed into a community that embraces “livability” and mass transit, including light rail.
“The growth was horizontal and there were lots of people who were saying it wouldn’t work in Minnesota,” said McLaughlin, during the opening plenary of the RailVolution conference in Minneapolis.
But the metro region bucked years of infighting and helped pass a transportation bill in 2008 that allows counties to tax for the expansion of transit in the metro area. Anoka, Ramsey, Hennepin, Dakota and Washington Counties decided to pool their resources from the quarter-cent transit sales tax, which is why the Southwest Light Rail Line is able to move forward. http://mntransportationresearch.org/2014/09/26/railvolution-showcases-minnesota-transit-successes/
A new threat to Twin Cities water quality
Star Tribune - updated July 3
Cities, Met Council need to address impact of excessive stormwater. Why does a torrential rainfall compel people to flush the toilet a dozen times, take another shower and wash an extra load of laundry? Obviously, it doesn’t.
How, then, did all that extra water get into the metro area’s sanitary sewer system during June’s relentless rainstorms, so much of it that the system was overwhelmed and forced to discharge raw sewage into local waters, most notably into Lake Minnetonka, temporarily closing several beaches?
Met Council’s regional plan changes for the better
Star Tribune - Dec. 21, 2013
A sneak preview of the Metropolitan Council’s next regional plan, “Thrive MSP 2040,” appears — even as a rough draft — to break important new ground in describing and addressing the Twin Cities’ most vexing problems in the decades ahead.
The council updates the regional plan every decade or so to keep pace with demographic trends and changing conditions. And this council, appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011, seems especially eager to shed traditional discussions about transportation and land development and take a wider view. Here are the highlights. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/236810221.html