Council Member’s Message
The Eastside has seen tremendous growth in bicycle infrastructure over the past eight years, including the implementation of 18+ miles of bikeways, and that work continues. At the end of November the Transportation & Public Works Committee, which I chair, approved easements and a project layout to remedy the current gap in the 18th Ave NE Trail between 6th St NE and Washington NE. This gap will be filled with an off-street multi-use trail, ADA accessible ramps and a raised street crossing at 6th Street NE. The layout also allows for a future trail extension through the intersection of Washington St NE and Adams St NE. The project is expected to be completed in 2018.
That same day at the Community Development & Regulatory Services Committee meeting we voted in favor of a land sale in the Holland neighborhood. The tax-forfeited property at 1919 Monroe Street NE will be sold to Northeast Minneapolis Properties LLC to be developed into a single family home. This property sale is unique in that the parcel is adjacent to the Northeast Green Campus, which has been the site of several major sustainability projects, including the Edison Community Plaza & Greenhouse; the greenest athletic field in the state; a solar installation on the school roof; and a parking lot renovation that includes a Swedish tree trench and other cutting edge stormwater management infrastructure.
Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association (HNIA) worked with city planning staff to offer the property through an RFP that reflected the sustainability vision and goals expressed by these surrounding projects. As a result, the new home will be passive energy certified, a rigorous standard that dramatically lowers energy usage. Other features will allow the building to approach or be “energy neutral” in its performance.
As 2017 comes to a close, these are just two examples of how Ward One’s momentum in terms of livability and sustainability continues into 2018 and beyond.
Station 15 Renovation Update
The renovations at Fire Station 15 on Johnson Street are nearing completion. The apparatus floor, where the fire trucks park, has been completely torn out and replaced (photo at right). Significant work has also been done in the building’s basement and on the HVAC system.
The building re-do is scheduled to be completed in December, at which time Engine Company 15 and Ladder Company 7 will return. Stay tuned for further information about a community celebration of the newly renovated Fire Station in January!
City’s Pedestrian Crash Study
Most pedestrian crashes in Minneapolis are concentrated to a small number of streets, according to a new study presented to the City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee.
The study is part of a larger City effort to increase pedestrian safety. The City Council recently approved a Vision Zero resolution outlining a goal of ending traffic deaths and injuries on Minneapolis streets within 10 years. The council also adopted the Complete Streets Policy in 2016, which prioritizes walking followed by biking, transit and motor vehicles in the public right-of-way.
The City’s Public Works Department commissioned the study by Kimley-Horn to better understand where, how and why pedestrian crashes are occurring in Minneapolis. The study analyzed more than 3,000 pedestrian-motorist crash records over 10 years from 2007-2016.
Key findings from the study include:
- Eighty percent of all pedestrian crashes occurred on 10 percent of streets.
- Seventy-five percent of all major pedestrian crashes, defined as crashes resulting in fatal and incapacitating injuries, occurred on 5 percent of streets.
- People of color are over-represented in pedestrian fatalities.
- Streets with fewer lanes have fewer pedestrian crashes.
- Pedestrian crashes resulting in severe injuries rise with higher speed limits.
- Crashes involving turning vehicles accounted for 47 percent of crashes at intersections.
- Pedestrian crashes involving left-turning vehicles occurred three times more often than pedestrian crashes involving right-turning vehicles.
- Drivers were at fault in 62 percent of the crashes with driver inattention and the driver failing to yield the most common contributing factors in pedestrian crashes.
The data in the study will be part of the foundation of the City’s work toward its Vision Zero goal of eliminating fatalities and serious injuries from traffic crashes on City streets by 2027.
Solicitation of Technical Assistance, Training or Coaching For B-TAP
The City is requesting proposals to provide training or technical assistance to Minneapolis small businesses through its B-TAP Professional Series program. The Professional Series, a component of the City of Minneapolis’ Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP), aims to respond quickly to opportunities to support small business growth. The goal is to sponsor a series of events in 2018 where local professional experts provide training or technical assistance on topics that help entrepreneurs, particularly those who have been underrepresented, take their businesses to the next level.
Awards will range from $2,500 to $7,500 and up to five respondents will be selected. If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please click on the following links for further information:
Franchise Fee Increase Public Hearing
The City and its partners are making progress toward the City’s energy and climate change goals, but to continue moving forward at the accelerated pace needed, reliable, ongoing funding sources are required. Raising the franchise fee by half a percentage point – about 59 cents monthly for the average household – would provide one of those sources.
What is a franchise fee?
The City of Minneapolis collects a utility franchise fee from Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy in return for their agreement to operate in the city. These fees are passed on to customers as a line item on their monthly energy bills. Fees are set by ordinance as a percentage of charges: currently 4.5 percent for residential customers, 5 percent for commercial customers, and 3 percent for industrial customers. The amount paid on a monthly bill correlates with energy use, which can vary by season.
Why is the city proposing to raise the fee by half a percentage point?
The money would help residents and businesses participate in and make the best use of the utilities’ energy conservation programs and City programs. It would help the City reach its goal of reducing energy use by 1.5 percent each year, annually resulting in about $8.5 million in new savings that benefit residents and businesses throughout the city. Achieving the City’s climate and energy goals would help more residents afford to own or rent their homes, help more businesses succeed and create significant environmental and economic benefits to the city.
How would the costs affect rate payers?
The average residential customer currently pays a franchise fee of about $5.30 per month (about $64 a year). If the increase passes, it would be another half percentage point, which would cost the average residential customer about 57 cents more a month (about $7 more a year) for a total franchise fee of less than $6 a month (about $71 a year).
The average commercial customer is expected to pay about $86 more per year or about $961 total for the 5.5 percent annual franchise fee. Due to significant differences in energy use between small and large businesses, a broad range of impacts (smaller and larger) than this average can be expected.
A public hearing will be held during the City Council’s Ways & Means Committee meeting:
1:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 4
City Council Chamber, Room 317, City Hall, 350 S. Fifth St.
Save The Date
Public Hearing on Proposed City Budget
Wednesday, December 6, 6:05 p.m., City Hall Room 317, 350 S. 5th Street.
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
Saturday, December 9, 7 p.m., Lions Park at 37th Ave NE & Stinson Blvd. This family-friendly event includes music and kids’ activities and supports the Metro Food Program at East Side Neighborhood Services. This year your non-perishable food donation will be matched pound for pound by Land O’Lakes. The Holiday Train will arrive at 7:45 p.m. For more information, visit http://esns.org/.
“Urinetown” Edison Theater Production
Thursday, December 14 – Saturday, December 16, 7 p.m., Edison High School Auditorium, 700 22nd Avenue NE. Tickets for this award-winning musical comedy are $10 for adults and $5 for students.
Northeast Winter Market
Sunday, December 17, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Solar Arts Building, 711- 15th Ave NE. The market will feature 30+ local vendors, as well as music, children’s activities, meat raffles, and local beer.