Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Present: Barbara Olson, Peter Vader, Neal Baxter, Donna Hemp, Julia Curran, Olivia Hovland, Abigail Johnson, Paul St. Martin, Christian Huelsman, Aaron Berger, Julia Tabbut; Matthew Dyrdahl, Steve Mahowald, Emily Kettell, Julie Danzl, Rattana Sengsoulichanh, Sarah Stewart, Heidi Schallberg, Mackenzie Turner Bargen, Eric Bauer, Millicent Flowers; Luís Dax, Breta Carlson, University of Minnesota student
Webber Parkway Reconstruction project
The Pedestrian Advisory Committee supports the Webber Parkway Reconstruction project, with these caveats. We are asking for
- 6-ft minimums for the sidewalks,
- vehicle lanes at 10-ft widths and gutters at 1.5-ft widths,
- mid-block marked crossings, and
- the elimination of driveway openings whenever possible.
We are very glad to see the pedestrian scale lighting and the bumpouts at pedestrian crossings as well as the addition of more trail connections. We appreciate the inclusion of RRFBs (Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons) at some unsignalized pedestrian crossings along the corridor, and ADA-accessible curb ramps provided at all legal crosswalks.
Chair Julia Tabbut called the meeting to order at 4:03 PM, and asked all present to introduce themselves.
Approval of Agenda—Matthew Dyrdahl
Matthew has been asked to change our agenda format to a common standard that all City committees will use. Does the PAC want to include approval of the agenda at each meeting, or not?
Donna: what if we don't have a quorum at the start of a meeting?
The PAC agreed to drop the requirement to vote on the agenda at each meeting.
Approval of the Minutes for January
Aaron moved to approve; Barb seconded. Approved.
City of Minneapolis Sustainability Office—Kim Havey & Kelly Muellman
Kim introduced the PAC to the work of his office. The Sustainability office works on lowering the City's greenhouse emissions and environmental impact; a greener city environment is the goal.
The office works on many issues, including local food and urban agriculture; climate change and clean energy; environmental justice; climate resilience, infrastructure and the impact of change.
Kim cited the following programs.
- Home Grown Mpls, which includes the Minneapolis Food Council, helps make local food more readily available to residents.
- Also, the Urban Agriculture and Garden Lease Program, through which the City leases vacant lots for community gardens. At the moment 50 leases are active.
- The office also promotes and provides soil rehabilitation and composting.
- The Farmer's Markets/Shop Local program provides training for vendors at city farmers' markets. A Food Action Plan is in the planning stage, too.
Climate change efforts include the Clean Energy Partnership, working with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. Begun in 2015, this unique partnership promotes and furthers the city's goals of 100% renewable electricity for municipal facilities and operations by 2022 and citywide by 2030. The City's operations will be completely electric by 2022. The City wants to lower use of greenhouse gases in all 90,500 housing units in the city by 2025.
To raise money for sustainability efforts, the City Council increased the franchise fee on utility bills by 0.5% in 2018. The funds will support no-cost home improvement loans and energy efficiency upgrades for small businesses and rental property. A benefit of this program is expected to help landlords keep rents affordable.
Kim also cited the Commercial Benchmark Program. Since 2013, large commercial buildings (50,000 square feet and over) and city-owned buildings (25,000 square feet and over) must annually report their energy consumption to the City. The program encourages and rewards owners who achieve higher energy efficiency.
Kim also cited several new programs. Through its American Cities Climate Challenge, Bloomberg Philanthropies has given funds to promote mobility transportation hubs, including electrified transit, bikes, etc. The goal is to persuade people to use their cars less often, by making all trips within ½ mile of every resident possible without a car. Other new programs: building an electric fleet for official city use, community solar gardens, promoting a plant-based diet, promotion of solar energy city-wide, and the passive house pilot, which will build low-cost homes without furnaces.
Kim finished by mentioning the Upper Harbor Terminal project. This 50-acre spread on the Mississippi River is planned as a development with no carbon emissions. Sewer and storm water run off will create fuel for heat and operations.
Kelly updated the PAC on the Office's equity and environmental justice initiatives. These include 2 Green Zones, established in 2017 on the near North Side and in Phillips and Cedar-Riverside. The City is working with the neighborhood associations through the Northside Green Zone Task Force and the Southside Green Zone Council to boost health and reduce the cumulative effects of pollution and environmental degradation in these neighborhoods. The goals this initiative aims to achieve include: green jobs for those now living in these areas; improving air, water and soil quality; access to healthy food; and affordable green housing.
Also, Kelly invited PAC members to cooperate with the Community Environmental Advisory Commission. The Commission includes 13 residents and 6 agency and advocacy group members. The members have chosen the following priorities: air quality, carbon sequestration, sustainable transportation, the Upper Harbor Terminal project, community engagement, zero waste and a green workforce.
Other programs Kelly mentioned: Hook and Ladder, which will build 1 building according to the Green Communities standard and 1 per passive house standards. Each building will have 59 units, and the office will compare the energy efficiency of these buildings over the long term. Also, retro-fitting current housing for greater fuel efficiency, using a technique called EnerPHit.
Note the following: carbon emissions in municipal operations dropped 35% from 2008 to 2017, from 96,000 metric tons to 62,000 metric tons of CO2.
In 2012, Minneapolis set a target to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2015 and 30 percent by 2025, with 2006 as a baseline. The city actually reduced emissions by 20.4% in 2016. The city appears to be on track to achieve the 2025 goal, too.
In 2018, the City Council and Mayor Frey adopted the following goals- to move Minneapolis to 100% renewable electricity; by 2022 for municipal facilities and operations, and citywide by 2030.
Infrastructure & Engineering Subcommittee—Barb Olson
We looked at 2 projects last month. The Webber Parkway Reconstruction is at 30%, a joint City & County project. The design calls for sidewalks on both sides of the street, removing one lane of traffic, a 2-way trail on the east side and PED lighting. The committee had concerns about the oblique intersections and sight lines, and we asked for a few mid-block crosswalks.
Barb read a resolution; Neal seconded. Approved, as amended (see above).
We also looked at the Girard Avenue Reconstruction project. Five ideas for changing Girard between Lake Street and Lagoon are under consideration. One plan would limit the street to pedestrian and bike traffic, another would limit vehicle traffic to delivery trucks of small and medium size. The other three plans leave car traffic unrestricted. Business owners want vehicle access on this block. The project includes no funds for greenery and other enhancements. Liz Heyman will return to the committee later in February for a 30% review. The work is scheduled to begin in spring 2020.
Programs & Policies Subcommittee—Julia Curran
The committee heard from Kathleen Mayell about the Transportation Action Plan, which will guide transportation policy for 10 years. The plan's 6 goals (climate, equity, safety, prosperity, mobility and active partnerships) will focus on reducing the City's impact on the climate, boosting mobility for all users and building partnerships to accomplish the goals. The plan's 7 topics (advanced mobility, pedestrians, bicycles, transit, freight, street operations and street design) will provide ideas for implementing the transportation vision of the 2040 Plan. You can see more about the Transportation Plan at: http://www.msptap-staging.com/plan-overview . Engagement phase is underway, a draft plan should be available later in 2019, and the Council will vote on the final draft of the plan in early 2020.
The committee also discussed the PAC's strategic priorities, how to attract new members, and the format of the PAC/BAC annual report to the Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee. The Committee will hear our report at its February 19 meeting, at 10 AM in the Council chamber. Please come.
2018 Year-End Review—Matthew Dyrdahl
Matthew showed us photographs of projects that enhanced non-vehicular traffic through Minneapolis in 2018. Photographs of projects included the pedestrian islands on Emerson & Fremont Avenues in North Minneapolis, traffic calming at 29th Ave. & the Midtown Greenway, wider sidewalks along Hennepin from Lake to 36th Street, and the simplified intersection at Franklin & Bedford.
Peter: I neglected to mention in the P & P minutes that Ethan Fawley cited Abigail Johnson's fine work on the Vision Zero working group.
Julie Danzl: today was Winter Walking Day in the Minneapolis Public Schools. We encouraged walking to school and shoveling sidewalks to help the children do that.
Neal moved to adjourn; Christian seconded. Approved, and adjourned at 5:58 PM.
Last updated Mar 15, 2019