1/17/12 Minneapolis Transportation & Public Works Committee

Are you ready for some outfall?

I know you all have been anxiously awaiting a report on the Minneapolis Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting of Jan. 17th.  Which rough and crumbly streets will finally receive a smooth new layer of asphalt?  Which ancient combined sewers will finally be separated, sparing our rivers the pollution from our societal effluent?  I apologize for delaying the answer, and promise I’ll get the summary of the next meeting, which coincidentally was held today, a bit sooner.  Now without further ado:


1.  36th St and W River Rd Stormwater Outfall  Minneapolis has more than 400 outfall structures, which discharge storm water into water bodies and are maintained by the City.  Apparently a sinkhole clued someone in to the need for maintenance at the outfall at 36th and West River Road (actually a Parkway, last I heard).  The sinkhole was likely caused by missing mortar in a wall, since fixed, and they’re hoping to add some rip rap or boulders for the stormwater to spill onto, for the purpose of controlling erosion.

Funding sources for the $12.4m Nicollet project (NDB=the city and MSA=the state)

2.  Nicollet Ave Reconstruction and Lighting Project  The reconstruction of Nicollet between Lake and 40th shouldn’t be controversial in and of itself; the roadway was built in the 50s for the land yachts of the time and is now basically a pile of rubble.  The controversy was in what the new street should look like and who it should accommodate.  Perhaps no less controversial is the fact that the new street will cost money and someone will have to pay for – apparently $1,695,435 for the street and an additional $324,000 for lighting, to be paid for over 30 years by adjacent property owners.  Let’s hope they’re community-minded adjacent property owners.

3.  Waste Disposal Services Contract  The City has been paying Hennepin County $45 a ton to dispose all garbage from 1 to 4 unit residential properties at the scenic downtown garbage burner.  The fee will be increasing to $47 a ton, estimated to cost the City $200k more a year, but please note that the “increase is due to normal operation costs” and has nothing to do with the City denying a permit to expand the garbage burner.

4. Management of Special Service Districts  You can thank a company called Urban Works for the cleanliness, signage and seasonal decoration of Minneapolis’ 15 special service districts.

5.  Pioneers & Soldiers Memorial Cemetery Fend Restoration Project  American Express is granting $20,000 for the restoration of a most excellent and pointy fence around the oldest surviving cemetery in the city; looks like the whole job will be costing $425,517.05.

6.  Bike Walk Ambassador Program – Contract Amendment  The Bike Walk Ambassadors will be back for a 4th year.  Thanks Jim Oberstar!  Read the Request for Council Action (RCA) for the Ambassadors’ achievements and plans.

7.  Amendments to the 2012 Capital Budget Program and a Report of the Specific Projects Proposed with the Expanded Program  This is the much self-heralded accelerated repaving program that the mayor paid for by arm wrestling the Police and Firefighters Pension Funds.  The $9.23m program was increased by $415k, which Public Works estimates “will provide for nearly 30 additional miles of infrastructure improvements over the next 5 years.”  Check out the RCA for the specific additional projects.

8.  Riverside Ave Street Reconstruction and Street Lighting Projects  Riverside seems to have been a less controversial project than Nicollet, although maybe I just perceive it as such because I like the design better.  The half-mile Phase 2 of this project, from 23rd Ave S to Cedar Ave, will cost $5.85m, with an additional $272,800 for new lights.

9-11.  1st St S, 11th Ave S, and 39th St W Resurfacing  Three blocks of 1st St S between Hennepin and 3rd Ave S, three-quarters mile of 11th Ave S between 8th St S and 24th St E, and eight-tenths of a mile of 39th St W between Sheridan and France are about to get smoother.  11th Ave S has bike lanes, and I’ll be curious to see if there is a detour while the road is milled.  39th St W is a block south of a bikeway proposed in the Master Plan, but it’s only a signed bikeway (why are we still talking about signs?) and 39th is too narrow for any dedicated lanes.  So these projects will do nothing for bikes/peds, but motorists will enjoy a non-noteworthy road surface.

A helpful graphic from the Bicycling Account

12.  2011 City of Minneapolis Bicycling Account  If you haven’t paged through the Bicycling Account yet, it’s worth the 15 minutes or so.  Rueben had a nice review of this PR exercise a few weeks back.

13.  Quarterly Submittal of Traffic Zones, Restrictions and Controls  In 1995 the City Council ordained that Public Works report on a quarterly basis all the signs that go up or down, any striping changes or any other streets miscellany.  It’s kind of fun to page through the report and see which crazy neighbor was finally successful in their life quest of getting the City to install ‘No parking within 3 feet of driveway’ signs in front of their house.  This quarter there were a lot of traffic controls related to bike lane installation, which most would agree is a fair trade.  Here’s a summary:

14.  Solid Waste and Recycling Collection  I hate to say I told you so.




Alex Bauman

About Alex Bauman

Alex enjoys blogging on his iPhoneDroid while stuck in traffic on his 90 minute daily commute to Roseville from bucolic Staggerford.