Minneapolis is at a Crossroads with New Public Works Director Appointment

Mayor Betsy Hodges  has the chance to leave a legacy by appointing a new director that can change the culture of the Public Works Department. We support the appointment of a strong leader that will bear in mind the diverse needs of the city and will equitably and fairly build up an infrastructure that reflects the Values of the City of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis is often cited as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation (and the world), and Public Works has played a significant role in achieving these accolades under the leadership of Steve Kotke. However, many neighborhoods that have the greatest need for infrastructure improvements still lack adequate investment. The fact that sidewalk and bike lane gaps are tolerated is in large part the result of a culture that still views biking, walking and transit as alternative means of transportation.

But last week City Council unanimously adopted a nation-leading Complete Streets policy, which will support safer streets for everyone. The policy states: “Minneapolis is committed to rebalancing its transportation network by clearly prioritizing walking, taking transit, and biking over driving motorized vehicles, in a manner that provides for acceptable levels of service for all modes.”  The new Public Works Director must be at the forefront of reshaping the department’s culture,  working cooperatively with neighborhoods, and transforming city streets to make them safe, accessible and friendly to people, not just cars.

Inverted pyramid of Complete Streets mode prioritizationMinneapolis is at a crossroads moment in history. The Public Works Director appointment is a legacy opportunity to expand upon the work that has already begun, promoting equity, sustainability, and access. The new director must redefine the nature of public works and honor the dynamic and diverse residents of this city by engaging in visionary work that places Minneapolis as a national and global leader in quality of life for everyone.

This post is crossposted from the North Star Chapter of the the Sierra Club website and written by Joshua Houdek, Transportation and Land Use Program Manager and Kayla Grover, Sierra Club Green Transportation Intern and a student at Augsburg College in the Urban Studies program.


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4 Responses to Minneapolis is at a Crossroads with New Public Works Director Appointment

  1. John Charles Wilson June 1, 2016 at 9:57 am #

    I looked on the City’s Open Appointment page and found nothing re: Public Works. Does anyone here know how to apply? I know someone who’d be perfect for the job. (No, not myself.)

    • Ethan Fawley
      Ethan Fawley June 1, 2016 at 10:47 am #

      Deadline to apply was more than a month ago.

  2. Sam Newberg
    Sam Newberg June 1, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    It is interesting that the city approves a complete streets policy the same week Public Works director interviews take place. I hope these two things are less of a coincidence than I suspect they are.

  3. Joshua Houdek June 10, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    Please share Steve Brandt’s Strib story: “Naming of next Minneapolis public works director is shaping up as high-stakes battle.”
    http://www.startribune.com/what-should-minneapolis-look-for-in-a-new-public-works-director/382397341/