Update from the Mayor – October 7, 2005
October 7, 2005
News from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
Superior Transportation Option
Downtown Minneapolis has been awarded as one of 17 business districts in the nation as "Best Workplaces for Commuters" by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Minneapolis is the only city to receive this award in the EPA’s Upper Great Lakes Region that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Minneapolis received the award for our superb combination of incentives for carpooling, bicycling, transit and other alternative commuting options. Sixty percent of the 160,000 people who commute to work in downtown Minneapolis everyday use an alternative commuting method other than driving alone.
This recognition proves once again that Minneapolis has a thriving downtown that is a great place to do business and is one of the many reasons why downtown is the economic and cultural engine of the region. In a region grappling with traffic gridlock, Minneapolis is still the best place for employers to build a business.
Minneapolis offers free parking spaces for registered car and vanpools in the municipal parking lots downtown, as well as on-street parking locations in downtown for pool participant drop-off and pick-up during peak travel periods.
Minneapolis also boasts one of the most comprehensive bicycle lane systems of any city in the nation, while providing a system of bike racks, enclosed lockers and encouraging employer sponsored showers and lockers for commuters who wish to bike to work.
This recognition is an exciting achievement. Commuters win by having an easier trip to and from work, businesses win by having a happier workforce and better productivity and the community wins with improved economic vitality and a cleaner environment.
More Trees For A Greener City
Downtown Minneapolis is also getting greener, thanks to a grant from the EPA. City crews are planting 40 new trees in the median of Washington Avenue, from Hennepin Avenue to Interstate 35 W. Earlier this year I decided to use a $100,000 grant from the EPA to buy the trees and prepare the boulevards for planting. Honey Locust and disease-resistant Accolade Elm trees were chosen because they are hardy trees that can thrive in the Minnesota climate.
Planting new trees downtown is about ensuring that our city is a beautiful, walk-able place to call home. Greening up our downtown streets is not only a good idea environmentally; it’s also an important way to make the area more welcoming for residents, visitors, and everyone doing business downtown.
Although the city has lost many trees in recent years to disease, the Center for Urban Forest Research found that Minneapolis has more than 198,000 trees, approximately one tree for every two residents. Forty more trees on Washington Avenue is a good step in the right direction, but we need to keep working to make Minneapolis the greenest city in America.
Published Oct. 7, 2005