2/14/12 Minneapolis Transportation & Public Works Committee

The Land Between the Lakes will soon have streets as smooth as the surface of those blue dollops that give it shape

If you need an intro, please see the last three summaries.

1-4.  Street Resurfacing in Linden Hills and Ventura Village, plus three blocks of 1st St S  This meeting contained public hearings on street resurfacings reported here earlier.  The owners of 25 properties on or near Linden Hills Blvd will be removed from the assessment list because they were assessed in the late 90s when that street was resurfaced by the Park Board.  One of the fun things about having two independent governmental bodies with the same jurisdiction is that they have decided on different assessment methods, which means that often properties get assessed twice when they are near projects conducted by each body.  In this case, CM Hodges asked the City Council to benevolently wipe the assessment burden of affected properties.

5. 33rd Ave SE Street Reconstruction Project (Como Ave SE to E Hennepin Ave)  There was also a public hearing on a (re)construction of 33rd Ave SE, an industrial street on the east side that was featured in an excellent Whistleblower article in the Star Tribune on July 4th, 2010 (it seems to no longer be available through startribune.com, but if you have a Hennepin County Library card you can use their NewsBank subscription to read it).  33rd represents a quarter-mile of the 6 miles of roadways in Minneapolis that have never been paved, and are referred to as oiled dirt – in what the Simpsons might call the American way, they’ve just patched over the dirt surface whenever the road gets a bit rough (which seems to be quite often).  James Eli Shiffer reported that the day after he visited the City patched 33rd with 17 tons of asphalt, so you’d think that at some point it may be more efficient to just construct the road.

6.  Agreement for Delegated Authority on Federal Aid Projects  I guess the theme of this meeting is Fun with Overlapping Levels of Government.  The City has an agreement with MnDot, which receives and redistributes funds (known as pass-through) when the City gets Federal money for projects.  It has changed in ways that no one will care about.

7.    Transportation Management Organization (TMO) Executive Committee  Kevin Lewis, Katie Viere, and Jim Durda are joining the Downtown TMO board.  They all are employees of commercial property management companies, except for Mr Lewis, who is Executive Director of BOMA, a trade association for commercial property management companies.

An unattributed illustration of the Battle of Puebla from wikipedia

8-9.  Block Event Permits for two Cinco de Mayo parties  The anniversary of the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 is especialmente feliz in Minneapolis, where we get two block parties to celebrate – one on May 5th at Bloomington and Lake and another on May 6th at Portland and Lake.

10.  Bid Approvals Aplenty First off, Blacktop Repair Service Inc’s bid of $162,220 for trail seal-coating and up to 7500 lineal feet of crack filling was approved.  Sorry to let you down, dear readers, but I was unable to ascertain which trails are being seal coated.  Hopefully all of them.  Second, Ti-Zack Concrete Inc will be paid a cool $2.8m to construct sidewalks, curb and gutter, alley and drive approaches on City projects this year.  Lastly, Belair Builders will be handling that quarter-mile construction of 33rd Ave SE referred to in Item 5 above, charging $485,446.

This picture could apply to either item 11 or item 12

11. Restrictions on Plastic Bags for Yard Waste Collection  The state has made it illegal to put yard waste like leaves and grass clippings in plastic bags (see MinnPost’s coverage here).  This was done because, by law, yard waste can’t go to landfills, but apparently plastic flecks make for bad compost.  So just do your part and use one of those flimsy compostable bags without too much grumbling ok?  Actually they give you the option of using a 33-gallon trash bin with sturdy handles, which they’ll empty and leave for you, which will work fine if you have half a dozen 33-gallon trash bins and a way to attach them to your curb so they won’t blow all over after being emptied.

12. Cedar Ave Sidewalk Reconstruction and Lighting (from the West Bank Central Corridor Light Rail Station to I-94)  In case you’ve never walked on Cedar in the West Bank, the venerable Joe Bernard has put together a presentation that shows what a mess the sidewalks are, as well as a map of all the properties that could be developed if the sidewalks weren’t such a mess.  The $700k of improvements, paid for by the City, Hennepin County, and the Central Corridor project, are welcome; they will remove the safety hazard posed by uneven pavements and missing pavers.  The improvements do not represent, however, a long-term improvement in walkability.  Maybe suburbanites will better understand the reprehensible situation for Cedar Ave pedestrians by imagining a two-lane 35W or a Lindbergh Terminal with only one concourse; there just isn’t enough room for all the people who want to walk here.  But hey, I’ll take new pavement in the meantime.  According to the RCA “inconsistently maintained”, “non-standard” paving materials will be replaced with “standard” materials; I’m not sure if that means plain concrete or stamped concrete.

13. Bottineau Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement  MinnPost again has good coverage of this issue; see my last TPW summary for background.  I’ll give away the ending: the Council agreed to an LRT alignment down Olson Hwy and through Wirth Park, but cleverly made their agreement conditional on the County and Met Council’s investment in North Minneapolis, “potentially including” a streetcar on West Broadway, Emerson/Fremont or Penn.  I don’t think this is the last we’ll be seeing of Bottineau…




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.