I was happy to see the Mayor choose economic inclusion as his theme for the State of the City address last month, and I want to share some of the progress we’ve seen in Ward 3 on that theme, which should always be one of our top priorities:
We’re continuing to build a pipeline of new affordable housing projects in every corner of Ward 3, and we’ve been successful at preserving existing affordable housing that we were at risk to lose when it sold.
Last December, we passed an interim inclusionary zoning policy to require affordable housing units in projects that seek to build at a significantly greater level of density. Last month, we passed a policy for using Tax Increment Financing to make projects with more than the minimum affordable units possible, and I authored an amendment to ensure that projects receiving this public funding for inclusionary units will pay prevailing wage to the workers constructing those units.
Our city attorney and her team have successfully defended our Minimum Wage and Earned Sick and Safe Time ordinances, ensuring that workers in this city will see their incomes grow and will be able to care for themselves and their loved ones without putting their jobs at risk.
Last week, I attended the opening of Chameleon – a new retail incubator space in Gaviidae organized jointly by the Downtown Council and the West Broadway Business Association to give local entrepreneurs a chance to try their businesses in our bustling downtown.
We’re closely monitoring progress at the state level on worker protections, and, as the Mayor announced in his State of the City speech, I’m working with Council Members Palmisano and Cunningham on a Wage Theft ordinance to increase our ability locally to ensure workers get paid for the work they do.
There are, of course, lots of areas where we still need to improve. We wouldn’t need to talk about economic inclusion if everyone already had access to opportunities to thrive and prosper, and I could write as long or longer a list of ways that race is still predictive of access to opportunity in our city.
Still, we’re seeing signs of real promise: citywide crime is down, unemployment is low, our Minneapolis Public Schools are posting improved graduation rates and decreased outcome gaps for students of color, and I want to double down on our successes until every part of our city really is for everyone.
In the meantime, we’ll also keep making sure that everyone has the infrastructure and access to get where they’re going, whether it’s to their job, to school, to our vibrant downtown entertainment district, or for a peaceful walk or ride along the river. As we’ve entered construction season, you’ll notice that Public Works takes a starring role in this month’s updates – as it should. One of the City’s core tasks will always be to make sure you can get where you’re going safely and efficiently, and we’re making some big improvements in Ward 3.
Bde Maka Ska
A couple of months ago, at a meeting of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board, I joined County Commissioner Angela Conley and Park Board Commissioner Chris Meyer in amending a request for funding for visitor maps to make the funding contingent on correcting the place names on the maps, because the maps erroneously labeled Bde Maka Ska as “Lake Calhoun” (among other naming errors).
It seemed like a minor thing at the time, but in light of this week’s news, I’m particularly glad we took the time to do that. The state court of appeals took issue with a procedural question about how the name of the lake was changed, but there should be no doubt that this community is honoring the area’s Dakota history, present, and future by restoring the lake’s proper name, and this procedural hang-up is a temporary glitch. The lake is properly and proudly called Bde Maka Ska, and it’s a spectacular asset of our city, named to honor a community and culture that our city celebrates.
Downtown Parking Meter Rates and Time Limits Have Changed
The City has updated parking rates, hours of enforcement and maximum times for downtown parking meters, and since these changes went into effect, I’ve heard from many of you about locations and situations where the shorter parking time limits make things very difficult.
When staff originally shared this plan last year, it did not include 2-hour limits across the board, and I would not and have not agreed to that. They are going to make some changes to include a mix of 2-hour and 4-hour zones, and you should see these changes on the street within the next few weeks.
The main goal of downtown metered parking is to provide convenient short-term parking, so if you’re parking for longer times downtown, the City encourages you to use off-street parking options. Many meter rates in the downtown core haven’t changed for more than 20 years, and were definitely overdue for an update. Please continue to share your feedback on the mix of meter zones via 311 or to my office.
City Selects Operators for Motorized Scooter Pilot Program
The City of Minneapolis has selected four operators — JUMP, Lyft, Spin and Lime — to enter into license agreements to participate in our shared motorized foot scooter pilot program.
Under the extended pilot program, the number of scooters allowed in the city is capped at 2,000 to be divided evenly among the operators. A maximum of 800 scooters are allowed downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, and at least 600 scooters must be distributed in areas of concentrated poverty in north, northeast and south Minneapolis. The extended pilot program runs through March 31, 2020.
The goal of the scooter pilot program is to determine how to best position scooters as a long-term viable transportation option for all in Minneapolis, and align with the work of the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan update.
To be considered for participation in the 2019 pilot, vendors submitted responses to an RFQ which included specific questions to evaluate how well the vendor aligns with requirements and goals of the pilot.
Equity and safety are key focus areas for the pilot program. Beyond the scooter distribution requirements, operators are required to have low-income pricing programs and alternative access options for people who don’t have smartphones or require a cash payment option. They are also required to have ongoing education and outreach on safe riding and proper parking behavior, as well as the previously mentioned equitable pricing and access initiatives.
State law regulates how motorized foot scooters can be operated. Scooters must follow the same traffic laws as bicyclists. They can’t be ridden on sidewalks and must be parked upright using the kickstand outside of the pedestrian path of travel.
The City’s 2019 construction season kicked off last month with projects planned throughout Minneapolis, including several in Ward 3, to improve the transportation network and underground utilities, making travel safer and more efficient for all travel modes.
The increased investment in the City’s street network is a result of a landmark agreementpassed by the Minneapolis City Council in 2016 that provides $800 million over the next 20 years to help maintain streets and neighborhood parks. Improvements to pedestrian, bicycling, water and sewer infrastructure are also planned.
2019 construction projects in Ward 3 include:
Hennepin Downtown: Hennepin Avenue between Washington Avenue South and 12th Street will be reconstructed to make the street more functional for all travel modes and update aging utility infrastructure. Utility work began Monday, April 15, on Hennepin between 7th and 12th Streets. Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction on that five-block stretch of Hennepin. (Note: Hennepin bus routes have moved to Nicollet Mall.) Work will not begin between Washington Ave. and 7th St. until 2021.
Fourth Street reconstruction project: 4th Street will be reconstructed from 2nd Ave. North to 4th Ave. South. Utility work 80 feet below the road surface is underway, and roadway construction is expected to start in 2020.
10th Avenue Bridge rehab and water main project: The 1929-era bridge over the Mississippi River will be rehabilitated. The existing water main suspended from the 10th Avenue Bridge will be replaced with a new water main under the river. The water main relocation is scheduled to start in late April, and the bridge work will begin later this fall.
North Loop paving and pedestrian improvements: The paving project will reconstruct five streets, restore historic street material in some areas, widen sidewalks and add greening, among other improvements. A bikeway connection will also be made along Fifth Avenue North to Target Field Station. Pedestrian safety measures will be installed at 16 intersections throughout the North Loop. Construction will begin in May 2019 and is expected to be completed in spring 2020.
The City is working to minimize construction impacts as much as possible. Visit minneapolismn.gov/traffic to sign up for citywide traffic alerts and for traveling tips.
City RFP for 2019 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program
The City of Minneapolis is seeking funding proposals for the 2019 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. ESG program funds may be used to renovate, rehabilitate and convert buildings for use as emergency shelters for people who are homeless. ESG program funds may also be used to deliver essential case management services to single adult users of emergency shelter facilities. Proposals are due no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 31, 2019.
City Council Reaffirms Commitment to Fighting all Forms of Human Trafficking
The City Council passed a resolution reaffirming the City’s commitment to combating commercial sexual exploitation, labor exploitation and all forms of human trafficking.
Minneapolis is one of three cities in the country participating in the Pathways to Freedom city challenge led by Humanity United and the NoVo Foundation, which provides funding for the development of a coordinated, citywide response to trafficking and exploitation. Minneapolis’ initiative is led by Shunu Shrestha, the City’s senior advisor for human trafficking prevention. A blueprint with policy recommendations will be delivered to the City Council by June 2020.
The City of Minneapolis has been a leader in addressing juvenile sex trafficking and has expanded its scope of work to include labor trafficking as well. The Civil Rights Department, for instance, recently formalized an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to collaborate on investigations and public awareness of labor standards including the City’s minimum wage ordinance.
The resolution notes that “people who are living in poverty, experiencing homelessness, facing chemical dependency, overcoming mental health issues, and who identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ and/or undocumented immigrant community are more likely to become the targets of exploitation and trafficking.”
The City is collaborating with The Advocates for Human Rights, a Minneapolis-based organization, to develop a City response to labor trafficking. The organization recently released new Labor Trafficking Protocol Guidelines, which provide a roadmap for local governments, service providers and other organizations to prevent labor trafficking, support victims and hold traffickers accountable.
City Council Approves Vision, Mission and Values as part of City’s Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan
The City Council has approved the City’s vision, mission and values as part of the Strategic and Racial Equity Action planning process — a framework that will set the direction for the future of the City and ensure the implementation of racial equity goals.
The Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan is a four-year plan that will embed racial equity principles into all aspects of the City’s work, aligning work from City leadership to departments and defining goals at all planning levels that can be objectively measured and inform resource decisions. The council is expected to vote on a final version of the plan in June.
The City’s vision adopted by the City Council reads as follows: “Minneapolis is an intentionally compassionate city where each of us can reach our full potential while caring for one another, eliminating racial disparities, improving our environment and promoting social well-being. We lead in innovative and creative ways, focused not only on our present needs, but also the success of future generations.”
The adoption of the vision, mission and values follows the approval of eight City goals earlier this year. The goals were informed by community engagement from the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Minneapolis 2040’s first goal is to eliminate disparities and a targeted number of policy areas from the plan have been identified as policy priorities for the Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan.
Mayor Frey and the City Council have also directed City staff to focus on strategies in 2019 for three top priorities: reduce evictions among communities of color, increase the number of businesses owned by people of color and eliminate the disproportionate impact of violence in communities of color, immigrant and indigenous communities.
Additionally, the City Council adopted City enterprise goals in December 2018 that call for increasing the retention of racially and ethnically diverse employees, diversifying the City’s vendor base, improving the use of racially disaggregated data in policymaking, and improving the capacity of the City’s boards and commissions to advance racial equity work.
Responding to the urgent need to prioritize and address historic racial disparities in Minneapolis, this is the first time the City has merged its strategic planning with a racial equity framework. To learn more about the plan, visit the plan’s website or contact RaceEquity@minneapolismn.gov.
Janette Sadik-Khan Visits Minneapolis
On Tuesday, April 23, our Public Works Department welcomed a very special guest to Minneapolis for a tour and a speaking engagement, especially for urban design nerds like me: Janette Sadik-Khan, former New York City Transportation Commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and current Chair of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. Her book, Street Fight, has informed innovative thinking in cities all over the world.
During her tenure and due to her leadership, New York redesigned countless city streets to put people first, prioritizing transit and making them safer for pedestrians and bicyclists — just as Robin Hutcheson is doing with our own amazing Public Works staff here.
We took her on a bike tour of Ward 3, including some things we get very right (Stone Arch Bridge! Samatar Crossing!) and some real opportunities for improvement. We stood together at the intersection of Central, Hennepin, and 5th and tried to work out the puzzle it presents to unlock that public space’s potential. It was a great opportunity to think big and bold about how we can reclaim our streets for people and make our City work better for everyone.
Local Public Health Hero Awards
Last month, I had the honor of presenting a Local Public Health Hero award to Dr. Amy Kircher, Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute at the University of Minnesota, who has been instrumental in changing the way we think, plan and act about Food Defense.
During the two years of planning for the Super Bowl, Dr. Kircher assisted the Minneapolis Health Department staff in developing plans to both prevent and respond to intentional adulteration or sabotage of the food supply. She provided training for staff at US Bank Stadium and the Minneapolis Convention Center; and, during preparations for the Final Four, Dr. Kircher held Food Defense table top exercises for Minneapolis hotels and staff at the Armory and other entertainment venues.
The partnership between Dr. Kircher and Minneapolis Environmental Health broke new ground during Super Bowl LII as this was the first time that food defense was an integral part of the planning and operations for a large-scale event.
Dr. Kircher’s work has helped transform how Minneapolis tackles large events and its everyday work to protect our food supply. Recognizing the importance of this work, the NFL now requires all of its stadiums to incorporate Food Defense into their security plans, and this is now being incorporated into the planning of Super Bowls and other large events around the world.
Congratulations to Dr. Amy Kircher and the Minneapolis Health Department for this groundbreaking work in public health and food safety, and to all of our Local Public Health Hero award recipients!
Join me for Good Morning Ward 3 on Wednesday, May 15!
Join me for my next Good Morning Ward 3 on Wednesday, May 15!
I will be joined by Ralph Sievert, Forestry Director for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, to talk about trees and tree management in our city.
Good Morning Ward 3
Wednesday, May 15th from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Kramarczuk’s, 215 E Hennepin Ave.
The Park Board has authority to care for Minneapolis trees from our City Charter and ordinances. The Forestry Department has established a set of standard operating procedures that guide that work, including an urban forestry policy.
MPRB plants, prunes, and removes all trees on public property, including nearly 200,000 boulevard trees on 1,100 miles of streets, 400,000 park trees on more than 6,000 acres of land, and trees on other City properties, such as police and fire stations, stormwater retention ponds, and Public Works facilities.
So bring all your tree questions to GMW3 on May 15! See you there.
Next Ward 3 Happy Hour on Wednesday, June 19
Please join me at my next Ward 3 Happy Hour on Wednesday, June 19:
WHEN: Wednesday, April 17 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Coffee With Your Council Member
Council Member Fletcher holds regular open community office hours at 5:00 p.m., normally on Wednesdays, at a rotating neighborhood coffee shop in Ward 3 for constituents to drop by, ask questions, and raise any issues you see in the community.
All are welcome! RSVP on Facebook or just show up. If you want to discuss a specific issue or project, email email@example.com and we’ll add you to the agenda.
Proposals to build and renovate streets, buildings, bridges, park facilities and other parts of Minneapolis’ infrastructure over the next five years are collected and prioritized every year.
The advisory committee that does this work (the Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee, or CLIC) wants to hear from you about your priorities — you can share your thoughts at one of two upcoming input sessions or at a joint public hearing:
Wednesday, May 8 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), 2001 Plymouth Ave. N., Room 107
Wednesday, May 15 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Phillips Community Center, 2323 11th Ave. S., South meeting room
Joint Public Hearing – CLIC / Planning Commission Committee of the Whole, Thursday, May 16 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 319
The CLIC reviews capital budget requests submitted by City departments and independent City boards and makes recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on how those projects should be prioritized and which ones should be funded in the committee’s annual report.
Broadway St. NE Repaving – Hennepin County Open House – Tuesday, May 14
Broadway Street is in need of repaving, and like other county roads, this corridor serves a variety of roadway users from people walking to transporters of regional freight. Additionally, this two-mile segment connects to diverse land uses, such as business districts, residential neighborhoods and industrial parks.
In coordination with the upcoming repaving project, neighborhood organizations and community members have urged the county to explore possible opportunities to make the roadway safer and more comfortable for all users. As part of the process, the county and city are reviewing data about vehicle volumes, turning movements, speed and crashes, and reviewing city and county documents to provide a basis for next steps.
Please come to the next Broadway NE Task Force Study Group open house:
There will be no formal presentation, but the Task Force Study Group will share their evaluation and discuss proposed improvements. This is an opportunity to come discuss any concerns and ask any questions you might have about the project.
Metro Transit E Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project Open House – Tuesday, May 21
Metro Transit is planning improvements to the Route 6 corridor with the E Line Bus Rapid Transit project. The E Line will substantially replace parts of Route 6 in the Hennepin Avenue corridor, serving uptown Minneapolis, downtown, and potentially the University of Minnesota. Bus Rapid Transit brings better amenities, faster service and a more comfortable ride.
In late 2018, Metro Transit began evaluating more potential end points on the north/east end. Based on that evaluation, they are now recommending that the E Line continue along University Avenue and 4th Street SE to the southeast, terminating at the METRO Green Line West Gate Station or Stadium Village Station.
Come to Metro Transit’s upcoming Open Houses to get more information about the routing options and some early ideas about connecting bus service:
WHEN: Tuesday, May 21 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Marcy Open School, Multipurpose Room, 415 4th Avenue SE, Minneapolis
The Loft’s Wordplay will launch May 11–12, 2019 and aims to be the biggest celebration of readers, writers, and great books that Minnesota has ever seen — featuring Stephen King, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Bill McKibben, Tommy Orange, Jared Diamond, and many more! There will also be a Friday night author concert with the Rock Bottom Remainders at First Avenue.
Imagine a weekend full of famous authors and celebrated books; a weekend of readings, conversations, workshops, kids’ activities, demonstrations, and one-of-a-kind happenings with outdoor stages, cooking stages, book signings, quiet reading corners, boisterous parties, food trucks, beer tents, and books, books, books.
WHEN: Saturday, May 11 & Sunday, May 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Doors Open Minneapolis is your chance to explore the buildings that tell our City’s story. From theaters to business hubs, sacred spaces to private clubs, sports complexes to engineering wonders, historical gems to not-even-open-yet buildings, Doors Open Minneapolis will give you a FREE behind-the-scenes look at 115 exciting venues. Caretakers at these sites will be providing unique experiences that illustrate why these venues, and the people and businesses that work in them, are such marvels.
An expansive program guide with maps and much more will be inserted in the Star Tribune on Thursday, May 9, and can be found in City Pages magazine racks beginning Wednesday, May 8.
You don’t need to pre-register. Just show up at your choice of venues and enjoy. Join us May 18-19 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. throughout Minneapolis.
Doors Open Minneapolis is a new civic celebration that is a collaboration between the City of Minneapolis and the American Institute of Architects (AIA-MPLS), and sponsored by the Minneapolis Foundation and a variety of businesses.
Open Streets 2019
The Open Streets calendar is set for 2019 with seven events scheduled around the city beginning Sunday, June 2 on Lyndale Avenue South. Mark your calendar for one or all seven! These are the details for the two in or near Ward 3:
Oak St SE from University Ave SE to East River Pkwy
Open Streets Minneapolis is a free event series that opens city streets to folks biking, walking, rolling and playing. At each Open Streets Minneapolis event local businesses, artists, community groups and institutions come out into the street to play.
Open Streets Minneapolis is hosted by Our Streets Minneapolis and presented by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. Find more information at www.openstreetsmpls.org.
Neighborhood Event Calendars
Want to know what’s happening around Ward 3? Check out these event calendars!