Podcast #23 – Minneapolis Ward 10 with City Council candidate Lisa Bender

A special extra podcast for you, a conversation with Lisa Bender, who is running for the Minneapolis City Council in Ward 10, which stretches from Lake Calhoun and Uptown north-east to the Minneapolis Art Institute in the Whittier neighborhood. Among other things, Lisa has been an urban planner, nonmotorized transportation advocate, and coordinator of the state’s safe routes to school program, and is one of four people running for the hotly contested seat in Ward 10, currently occupied by Councilmember Meg Tuthill.

I sat down with Lisa late last week at The Beat, a coffee shop just off Hennepin Avenue. We discussed Lisa’s positions on transportation and land use, how cities can foster fruitful discussions about the future, and her ideas about balancing development and density in this diverse and changing section of Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

The link to the audio is here. Subscribe to the entire shebang on iTunes.


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13 Responses to Podcast #23 – Minneapolis Ward 10 with City Council candidate Lisa Bender

  1. helsinki February 11, 2013 at 4:52 am #

    Seems like a great candidate.

    My primary quibble would be with the idea of BRT for Hennepin (floated here very tentatively, not endorsed or promoted).

    The idea of BRT should be put to rest. It resides in the category of trying to get something for nothing, ie politicians like it but it’s a terrible deal.

    The “something” is a high-capacity, high frequency transit line with all the amenities of rail. The “nothing” cost is presumably the lower initial capital expenditure because no rail or overhead wire is installed, and the vehicles themselves are cheaper.

    Ultimately, neither of these benefits are realized. Without dedicated right-of-way, what BRT delivers are articulated busses with boarding platforms. The certainty, comfort, lower maintenance, labor, and energy costs, and development catalyst effect of streetcars are absent.

    • Brendon Slotterback
      Brendon Slotterback February 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      Are the streetcars in Minneapolis being proposed with dedicated ROW?

      • helsinki February 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

        No, I don’t believe so.

      • Matt February 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

        I think the initial segment should be Hennepin Ave instead of Nicollet Ave. The plan to restore Nicollet through the K-Mart stands on its own merits and doesn’t need a streetcar to do it.

        I like David Levinson’s idea to remove much of the traffic from Hennepin Ave, restoring the grid in this area. Then some of the dedicated ROW can be used for streetcars, and those triangular areas where Hennepin is removed when the grid is restored would make great plazas with streetcar stations. 24th/Emerson, Franklin/Colfax etc. Here’s a thought: http://goo.gl/maps/1GGxl

        • Alex Cecchini
          Alex February 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

          David Levinson’s idea to restrict access of 7 heading in to the city makes sense. I wonder if anyone can explain the benefits of having a few restricted access freeways (394, 94, 35W) head all the way in to the city as opposed to having freeways that cease to exist with a good network of many multi-lan boulevards to carry traffic in? It seems like continuing to allow giant freeways (and proposing increasing lane widths) will continue to allow people to justify living far away from where they work as well as be cavernous gaps cutting through neighborhoods. Boulevards might encourage good car travel, but if enforced could be at safe speeds. The marginal increase in time to drive would only encourage those people to consider moving closer in, further limiting the cars on said roads.

        • David Greene February 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

          I too like this idea in theory but I just don’t see how it can possibly work in practice. Hennepin is the way it is because it has always been a major traffic thoroughfare, right back to the time before the Europeans arrived.

          That traffic has to go somewhere. Lyndale is already pretty congested and folks in the Wedge aren’t going to support turning Emerson/Dupont back into commuter highways.

        • Janne February 28, 2013 at 9:37 am #

          As someone who lives at Hennepin and Dupont, I lived here when the grid system was in place, and have lived here with it removed for many years. Comparing the two situations (as they were designed/used/built), the current situation is MUCH more pedestrian/bike-friendly and MUCH more livable.

          That said, I’m curious about the alternative suggestion, and the map didn’t provide enough info to understand the suggestion.

    • David Greene February 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

      I don’t know. If done right, aBRT could be really good. Signal priority is a big deal, as is off-board fare payment. I’m far from convinced but I’m willing to listen and learn.

      From what I have heard, the Met Council is not looking at “no cost” solutions. There are some really smart people on the Council right now and the Council staff aren’t exactly newbies, either.

  2. detroot February 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    Are you doing a candidate forum or is this an endorsement?

    • Matt B February 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

      I thought it sounded like a conversation, which is exactly what it was billed as.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke February 13, 2013 at 6:32 am #

      Neither. Streets.mn is going to send out a candidate questionnaire to everyone running for office in Mpls and St Paul at some point, but this is just a conversation w/ someone running for office. TIme permitting, I’d be happy to put up a podcast with any of our candidates for public office. If you know anyone who’d be interested, feel free to contact me.

      • Janne February 28, 2013 at 9:38 am #

        Are you including park board candidates? While the MPRB provides a substantial amount of the transportation network in Minneapolis, everyone (including themselves) seems to forget that they are part of the transportation network and not just grass, lakes and trees.

  3. Nathaniel M Hood
    Nathaniel February 13, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    What Bill said – Streets.MN isn’t going to endorse any one particular candidate, and time permitting, we are willing to listen and write about any candidate running for office and their thoughts on land use, transportation and urban design.