Streets.mn Voter Guide – Kevin Reich, Ward 1

No foolin’! The first candidate response to the Streets.mn Voter guide for the city council candidates has been received. The following is the response from Kevin Reich, (incumbent) candidate from Ward 1, which includes parts of northeast and southeast Minneapolis.

1. What do you believe is the most significant land use and/or transportation issue facing Minneapolis in the next 5 years and how do you hope to address it in office?

As a city and region, we are behind in rail transport infrastructure and there is a need for production of even denser transit oriented development.  Even before I was elected to this office I was a leading advocate for both transit and housing on Central Ave NE and continue to push development and investment in that direction.  To that end, over a million dollars has been put towards advancing the Central/Nicollet streetcar line and affordable artist apartments are currently being built.

2. How do you think the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and drivers can be met most effectively? Would you prioritize one or more of these modes over others?

To emphasize non-motorized transit is not necessarily to be “anti-car”.  It is recognition, that a region can’t grow with increasingly congested auto roadways and that mode shift is becoming a necessity not just an ideal.  So, presently, there needs to be a greater emphasis on accommodating non-motorized modes (and mass transit) to move towards a system that is more balanced.   This must be done intentionally; places like Copenhagen that have very balanced mode share didn’t gain this “naturally”.  It was achieved over decades of planning and investment to that end and I hold that approach as the model.

3. Minneapolis has many plans for land use, transit, road and cycling infrastructure improvements in plans like Access Minneapolis, the Bicycle Master Plan and the city’s comprehensive plan. How do you think the city should fund these improvements in the future? Other than funding, are there other obstacles to realizing these plans and how would you address them?

The City’s transit plans are there to be implemented and every year there needs to be funded projects to that end.  I view these as capital projects that are as essential as other infrastructure.  And it is true that even when funding is in place, implementation in a built urban environment can pose challenges.  But, that is the advantage of having good plans to guide activity over time especially with phased projects like the Cedar Trail and with the 18th Ave NE (I personally have been involved with this for some time and there is still several phases to go..)

4. As a council person, how would you respond to concerns about development impacts in your ward? Outside of your ward? Is there a recent controversial project (land use or transportation) that you would have handled differently?

The Lowry Avenue Plan, though embraced by many stakeholders, was controversial in my part of the city.  Stakeholders in this area questioned the “clear cut” road widening approach proposed.  There are now early conversations around redeveloping targeted intersection{s}, adding density and commercial activity along with traffic calming measures.

5. Where is your favorite place to walk (in or outside of Minneapolis)?

I still enjoy walking around the different nooks of Northeast where rail lines, older homes, pubs, cultural buildings and old brick factories mingle together.  It has a texture and feel that I find interesting. There is the familiarity of my childhood neighborhood as a backdrop to this perpetual reinvention of the community as areas get creatively adapted to new uses.

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