State shutdown could impact Minneapolis

As you may have heard, the Minnesota State government is preparing for a possible government shutdown, which could occur on July 1, 2011.

City impact

There is a staff team (comprised of Pam French, Human Resources Director, Otto Doll, Chief Information Officer, and Kevin Carpenter, Chief Finance Officer) working to identify all of the potential impacts that a State government shutdown could have on City government operations.

Based on the preliminary work done by this group, the areas where departments are impacted generally fall into four categories:

  1. Financial Impacts, which could include funding that typically comes from the State (such as grant funding) as well as dollars that flow through the State (such as federal grants that flow through the State and to the City).
  2. Information Access & Exchange, which includes access to State data that is needed to conduct City business.
  3. Certification & Licensing, which includes any State certifications that City employees need to conduct their jobs.
  4. Partnership Dependency, which are areas where the City relies on the State for certain work (such as the Minneapolis Convention Center relies on State electrical inspectors for any needed inspections of the facility).

It is clear from this preliminary work that some departments – such as Health, Community Planning and Economic Development and the Minneapolis Police – will be impacted by a State government shutdown more than others. The next step will be for the staff team, working with staff from the City Attorney’s Office and the Intergovernmental Relations Department, to work with those departments that may be most impacted in the next two weeks to dive deeper into the details, with a goal of providing a comprehensive report to the Committee of the Whole on June 30, 2011.

As you know, Minnesota State government plays a significant role in conducting City business – both financially and operationally. In the short term, City leaders believe we can manage a State government shutdown; however, the report to Committee of the Whole on June 30 will provide more details on how a shutdown may impact City government and City staff in the longer term.

Transit user impact

Although a state shutdown does not necessarily mean that transit will stop operating, transit users are encouraged to start making alternative plans to get to work. (In 2005, transit was deemed an essential service and continued to operate through the shutdown.)

With 40 percent of commuters using transit regularly to get to work, a transit shutdown will make getting into and out of downtown very difficult. In order to maximize a limited amount of parking in downtown, employees are encouraged to consider options such as carpooling, bicycling or walking.

Carpooling

Several major parking providers offer substantial parking discounts for carpoolers who work in Downtown Minneapolis.

Here are some suggestions from Commuter Connection on how to get started in forming a carpool:

For more information about carpooling options log on to Commuter-connection.org.

Bicycling

With 46 miles of streets with dedicated bicycle lanes and 84 miles of off-street bicycle paths, lots of bike parking and even a bike share program, Minneapolis is the best bicycling city in the nation. If you havent ridden to work before, you can check out your route with a map.

For more information and tips about bicycling, visit MinneapolisMN.gov/Bicycles.

Walking

Walking is a free and healthy way to travel. The average person walks approximately 3 mph, or 20 minutes per mile. You can measure the distance of your trip.

Published Jun. 22, 2011