News about communities, transit, parks, water issues, regional planning

Posted In: Planning
Date: 7/23/2014 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: McKnight Foundation
710 South Second Street, Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Partnership for Regional Opportunity Meeting is July 23

The Partnership for Regional Opportunity is a region-wide cross-sector collaboration that is a year-long continuation of the Corridors of Opportunity initiative.  The Partnership will meet 6 times in 2014.  The 4th meeting is Wednesday, July 23.  Meeting details can be found at the Partnership for Regional Opportunity website.

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Media Coverage: What others are saying about the Met Council

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?

Rainy June revives the battle to control sewage bypasses

Star Tribune - updated June 25

One of the rainiest Junes on record has led to about 189 releases of untreated sewage from Minnesota communities and businesses — a “very high number,” according to Wendy Turri, program manager for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

“And we’re not done,” she said, as rising rivers and a saturated landscape continue to work against the region’s wastewater drainage systems.

The Drive: Green Line changes face of transit system

Star Tribune - June 16, 2014
The parties and celebrations marking the opening of the much-ballyhooed Green Line are over, and now it’s time to watch the impact the new light-rail line will have on commuters.

Monday is the first weekday that people going to jobs, schools and other destinations will navigate the newly revamped Twin Cities transit system. Along with the train, more than 15 bus lines have been revised in the biggest makeover of routes since the Blue Line opened in 2004.
The changes will be far reaching, affecting as many as 80,000 ­riders, a fact not lost on Metro Transit, said transit agency spokesman John Siqveland.

Green Line debut: 45,000 rides and just as many memories

Pioneer Press - June 14, 2014

Like many Minnesota commuters, Stanley Gordon West rode a Green Line train for the first time on Saturday's opening day. He had been waiting to board for about fifty years.

West, 82, lives in Shakopee but grew up in St. Paul in the 1940s and '50s. He was an avid commuter on the streetcars that ran throughout St. Paul, Minneapolis and beyond. While he said the Green Line "was a lot more fancy," he looked nostalgically out the window as the train made its way through St. Paul on Saturday and said, "The farther we go, the more I see places I used to go. They're still here."

Saturday marked the grand opening of the Green Line light rail, a $957 million transit project that connects the Twin Cities' downtowns.

Green Line trains get the green light, with ribbon-cutting, free rides

Star Tribune - June 14, 2014

From her eastbound train humming through the Minneapolis Warehouse District, Ruth Porter said she expected her inaugural Green Line ride Saturday to become the first of many trips to St. Paul.
It’s taken all of her 94 years for the retired hardware store clerk from northeast Minneapolis to warm up to the notion of regular visits to that other twin city.
“I remember getting motion sickness from the smoky streetcars as a girl, so I’d only get to St. Paul two or three times a year to visit Como Park,” she said. “But this is so easy and such a smooth ride, I think a lot of us will probably start exploring the other city more often now.”
After 30 years of talk and $957 million of public money, that’s precisely what transportation planners and giddy elected officials hope for as the Twin Cities’ second light-rail line began connecting the two downtowns, the University of Minnesota and myriad neighborhoods amid a rain-soaked series of speeches, concerts and free rides along the 11-mile route.

Green Line debut a reason to celebrate 
Star Tribune (Opinion) - June 13, 2014

Now leaders must find a way to approve Southwest light rail. 

Saturday’s opening of the Green Line isn’t just a significant moment for transit, but also for urban revitalization and for regionalism. After decades of discussion, and years of planning, construction and controversy, passengers will finally board trains on the nearly $1 billion, 11-mile light-rail line originally called the Central Corridor.
For forward thinkers who recognize transit’s role in moving people, rooting communities, and attracting and retaining a world-class workforce, it’s a time to celebrate. It’s also a time to assess some of the key issues surrounding the line...

After rocky start, Green Line overcomes community objections

Minnesota Public Radio News - June 11, 2014
When the first passengers board the Green Line light rail trains Saturday, they'll be part of a joyous, 11-mile-long celebration.

The opening-day festivities probably won't carry a trace of the acrimony that long bedeviled plans to send trains between the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In the end, opposition from residents, the University of Minnesota, and businesses proved no match for the largest public-works project in state history. Some of those adversaries have become allies.


Target Field Station is the latest transit milestone

Star Tribune - May 16, 2014 

To realize its potential, Southwest and Bottineau light rail are needed.

Despite not opening until June 14, there’s already significant commercial development along the Green Line (Central Corridor) light-rail route, the Metropolitan Council reported Wednesday. Not counted among those projects, but perhaps most notable, is Target Field Station, which has its grand opening on Saturday.

6 things to know about not letting stormwater just run down the street

MPR News Blog – May 21, 2014

Ali Elhassan and Brian Davis, water experts from the Metropolitan Council, chatted online with us today about the growing interest in making better use of the stormwater that ordinarily falls on the Twin Cities and then rushes down the Mississippi River. 

Biking, walking to work are on the rise, locally and nationally

Star Tribune - May 16, 2014

The number of bike commuters in Minneapolis has doubled since 2000.

Just in time for Twin Cities Bike Week comes a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau that says the number of people who pedal to work rose by 60 percent over the past decade.
Minneapolis, with an estimated 8,300 bike commuters, saw a significant jump in the number of people who said they usually ride to their jobs, from 1.9 percent of all commuters in 2000 to 4.1 percent as of 2012, according to the

Quest for ‘racial equity’ in parks has some wary

Star-Tribune – April 8, 2014

Minneapolis StarTribuneFaced with numbers showing that its parks are underused by minorities and having spent millions to develop parks in largely white suburbs, the Metropolitan Council is moving to impose a “racial-equity” filter as it forms its latest long-term plan for transportation, land use and recreation.

The destination of millions in parks funding is emerging as an early point of conflict in those debates.

“This will make us uncomfortable, but we need to ‘go there’ or we will just keep getting the results we have been getting,” said Gary Cunningham of Minneapolis, chairman of a Met Council committee overseeing parks and planning.
Cunningham convened the first joint meeting this week with the Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission to underscore the importance of the issue.


Far Beyond Rush Hour: The Incredible Rise of Off-Peak Public Transportation

The Atlantic – February 2014

City residents can't get by on great rush-hour service alone. Part of the Atlantic’s “The Future of Transportation’ series

“Now head to the Midwest and take the bus system in Minneapolis-St. Paul. There, too, off-peak service demand has outpaced rush-hour growth along some bus corridors. In response, the Metro Transit agency in the Twin Cities expanded evening and weekend service last summer. Some off-peak frequencies have tripled — down to a bus every 20 minutes instead of one every hour. That puts service ahead of where it was even before the Great Recession. In other words, this isn't just the economy recovering, it's ridership surging.

"There's many routes where the off-peak ridership is growing faster than the peak ridership," says John Levin, director of service development at Metro Transit. "We're always going and finding where we can free up resources and where we need to add resources, and it tended to be that we've seen the most need during the off-peak, in terms of the overall scale."

Has Minnesota reached a critical consensus on eliminating race disparities?

MinnPost - February 14, 2014

If we eliminate these disparities by 2040, and if people of color have the same high-school graduation, employment, and homeownership rates, the region would also have: 182,000 more high school graduates, 137,000 more people with jobs, 216,000 more homeowners, and $35 billion more income to spend regionally on local goods and services, creating a healthy and growing economy.

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.

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