Comments good!

I know I’m down on the City of Minneapolis’ Public Works Department a lot, so I wanted to mention something I found that they did that was really cool.  The Met Council has a new draft 2030 Transportation Policy Plan that is out for comments right now.  The plan itself is an improvement, in that it recognizes more explicitly than before that the region won’t fix congestion by building new highways.  But what I really like are the comments, approved by the Transportation & Public Works Committee today, by a gaggle of planners from the city’s public works department.

The bulk of their comments are on the Transit chapter, and they serve to prod the Met Council to beef up their definition of the Arterial BRT Network to an Arterial Transitway Network.  This is certainly due to the City’s sporadic support of a streetcar network (including, of course, their TIGER II application for an Alternatives Analysis for the Central-Nicollet line(s)), but also opens the door to other technologies along these routes.  I also like that they speak up about the Plan’s emphasis on express buses (as opposed to local or arterial transit).  Their comments include the fact that “urban local bus routes comprise over 3/4 of ridership on Metro Transit bus routes, and bus routes serving the High-Frequency Network comprise over 1/3 of ridership on Metro Transit bus routes.” (p. 5) Vaguely-worded (is the High-Frequency stat a subset of the urban local stat, or separate?), it is an important considering the lack of attention shown to improving those routes.

Also worth noting is their advocacy for a regional bicycling plan.  While most trips are short (as the City transportation planners note), in an interconnected region (read: municipally-fractured) like this one, they often cross city limits.  I might add that there is an important branding effect for regional networks, which would be a boon for the growing cycling tourism industry.

I’m going to try to add the pdf in case it disappears off the city site.Draft-2030-Transportation-Policy-COMMENTS

3 comments on “Comments good!

  1. Do you really think that our region is “municipally fractured”? Can you explain that thinking a bit?

    • According to “Region” by Myron Orfield and Thomas Luce, “every resident in the seven core counties area is served by at least eight local governments – a city or township, a school district, a watershed district, a county, the Metropolitan Council, and three seven-county special districts for airports, sports facilities, and mosquito control.” They give the number of unique combinations of local governments as 1,714. More: “The number of municipal governments per ten thousand residents varies from .07 to 1.75 across the fifty [largest U.S.] metropolitan areas. The value for the Twin Cities is the fifth highest at 1.10.” They go on to correlate municipal fragmentation with sprawl, which residents of sprawling, municipally fractured Cleveland would probably understand.

  2. Interesting. It hadn’t occurred to me to simple add up the number of government bodies as a measure of “municipal fracture”. I suppose you might as well include house reps, senate reps, and executive.

    It’s still not clear to me why this is/isn’t a good thing. I’ve always been very impressed by the willingness of governments in the Twin Cities to cooperate. I spent 5 years in Cleveland, and I can tell you what little-to-no cooperation looks like. It looks like Cleveland!

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