Voter Guide – John Quincy, Ward 11

Our fifth response to the Voter Guide is from John Quincy, candidate (incumbent) in Ward 11, representing far south Minneapolis on both sides of 35W.

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?

The most significant land use issue facing Minneapolis is not a specific project – but our capacity and dedication to fully implement our commitment to Transit Oriented Development, Transit options, and to build a sustainable, muti-modal transportation system, that provides connectivity and scalability.

From a project perspective, I believe ensuring multi-modal transportation connections and sopporting infrastructure for these major land use projects are critical to their success:

  • 35W/Lake Street Access Projects and Kmart location opening
  • The New Stadium project
  • State Highway 121 development – South Lyndale Master Plan
  • Senior Housing development projects

As a member of the both the Transportation & Public Works Committee and the Community Development Committee, my role as a policy-maker will be to ensure a collaborative process involving community members, county, MnDot, Metropolitan Council, and city officials is followed that have clear and measurable outcomes.

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?

We have a diverse and mobile community. I believe that transportation needs can be best met by providing users with multiple options. As a metropolitan area, transportation needs will vary but, to ensure safety and accessibility, our options need to vary as well. Significant planning and investment is needed at all levels of government to achieve a balanced approach to transportation issues. The priority should not be on the selection of a mode of transit over another, but should be placed on expanding transit options. We should not be in a “Light Rail Transit only” or “bicycle only” mindset when making these plans, as we would fail to accommodate the driver’s needs, or fail to consider streetcar development options. Balance and appropriateness should be the driver of decisions, but the priority would have to be on providing more mass transit options.

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?

It is important to realize that Minneapolis has plans! These plans are not the finished product by any means – but provide a structure and roadmap for our city’s future.  Amazing community members, neighborhood organizations, staff members, businesses, residents, advocates and others accepted the enormous challenges of developing these plans, and putting them into motion. The funding priorities are established and work plans have been instituted to bring the plans to life.

Minneapolis should fund these plans within the existing framework of our 5 year capital budgeting process, where we anticipate and build infrastructure improvements to the plans that have been established.  The other “roadblocks” to fully realizing these plans are: the shifting views of impacted residents and neighbors, as well as emerging opportunities or evolving technologies and market trends.

These should not be viewed as obstacles, but embraced as opportunities to adapt or revise the plans. Continuity is as important as flexibility when planning infrastructure improvements. I would address these challenges by community involvement, open and honest exchange of viewpoints – and a reminder to keep the established plans in mind, and used as touchstones as we move forward to achieve our common goals.

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?

I respond to concerns about controversial development impacts by involving and communicating with neighborhood associations in my ward, and having direct conversations with the neighbors who are affected. Whether in private conversations, or community meetings – we need to be direct and honest with each other. Controversial topics have ranged from airport noise to neighbor disputes, housing developments to installation of bike lanes on streets. I do not think I would have handled them differently, as I feel that controversy in and of itself, is not a bad thing. When addressed by involvement and dialogue, a reasoned and positive outcome will arise.

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

My favorite place to walk is along the Minnehaha Parkway. If one begins the walk at Portland and the Creek, by the whimsical rabbit statue – officially named “Cottontail on the Trail” but better known in our neighborhood simply as “The Bunny” – you have great choices. I like to go either to the west, meandering by the creek up to businesses at Nicollet or Lyndale Avenues, the Washburn Library and onward to the lakes. Or, you can walk the trails to the east, enjoying the diversion around Lake Nokomis, all the way down to Minnehaha Falls Park. Always a good reason, no matter the season – start at the bunny.

Sam Newberg

About Sam Newberg

Sam Newberg, a.k.a. Joe Urban, is an urbanist, real estate consultant and writer. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two kids, and his website is