Voter Guide – Elizabeth Glidden, Ward 8

The eighth response to the Voter Guide is from Elizabeth Glidden, (incumbent) candidate from Ward 8, which includes 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?

Our most significant issue involves building density and transportation connections in North Minneapolis, with focus on W Broadway, Emerson/Fremont, and Basset Creek Valley.

  • Ensure plans for streetcar or enhanced bus are underway and funded with one route implemented  in 5 years
  • Ensure the SW LRT connects to North Minneapolis through good stationary design and connections to the broader community
  • Ensure there is laser focus on North Minneapolis as the priority for recruitment of anchor businesses and diversity of economic development projects

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 need to be more even handed in planning for these modes; despite work to move to more pedestrian, bicycle, and transit friendly infrastructure we have a long way to go and almost all existing infrastructure prioritizes cars.
  • Ensure all road projects incorporate improvements for bicycles, pedestrian and transit improvements.  Ensure road and infrastructure projects implemented by jurisdictions other than the City (i.e. Hennepin County, Met Council, and MnDOT) incorporate improvements for bicycles and pedestrians.
  • Finalize and implement the now under development Complete Streets Policy for Minnepaolis.  Better meld existing plans (bicycle and pedestrian master plans) with implementation procedures and schedules for city-wide capital improvements.
  • Set broad vision goals for bicycle, pedestrian and transit improvements and adopt city plans to meet these goals (similar to the proposal to incorporate 30 miles of protected bikeways in the City of Minneapolis, now under consideration by several committees in the City of Minneapolis).

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?

  • State funding could assist – one option discussed is directing a portion of transit tax (if approved by the legislature) to municipalities.
  • Minneapolis is exploring some creative funding mechanisms for transit and related improvements that would need state approval, such as parking surcharges
  • We will need to make hard choices with general fund dollars about how to fund these plans
  • Many of these plans involve trade-offs between modes and uses of land—parking, bike lanes, lanes of traffic, boulevard space, transit stops, bump-outs, and others; these trade-offs become more apparent when the plans are applied to specific roads and force choices.
  • Stakeholders have perceptions about certain modes that must be challenged; one example is the negative perception of help by some regarding transit and more specifically bus stops.
  • City adoption of guidelines and plans for how to address and prioritize conflicts between modes and uses of land can assist in addressing these obstacles.
  • Stakeholder education and outreach to address perceptions is another important component to way to address obstacles to implementing plans.

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 work to be proactive in understanding development opportunities, getting the community ready for potential conversations about development, and helping facilitate community conversation about the development.  Where the neighborhood in which the development is located is sophisticated and experienced in facilitating community process around development and land use, this role is supportive to the neighborhood and helping to ensure all information needs are met.  Policy guidance, including at the neighborhood level, is also extremely helpful.  For instance, Kingfield neighborhood has policy guidance supporting affordable housing projects and also supporting density along key corridors.

When the project is outside of the ward, I do not have the same opportunity to play a proactive role in working with community stakeholders to understand potential development opportunity and challenge. In that case, the role is more restricted to analyzing the record that comes to the city council if an appeal reaches that level.

I can’t think of a recent project I would have handled differently, although I do support better involving existing committees of the city, such as the pedestrian and bicycle and disability committees, on appropriate projects especially transportation.  A recent project that had some controversy while in the planning and application stage, although has been widely well received since implementation, is Nicollet Square at 3700 Nicollet – this is a project where the neighborhood facilitated community conversations exceptionally well and our office helped to ensure detailed questions were answered to the fullest.  I will note that as the representative of a primarily residential ward, I have not had the frequency of controversial development projects as has occurred in other areas of the city.

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

The Zocalo (town square) in Oaxaca Mexico.  In a very small area there is a great mix of businesses, restaurants, produce and meat markets, street food vendors, public (government) buildings, and open space that is used by families and kids.  This area attracts area residents, visitors from nearby towns in Mexico, as well as international tourists.  A great place to walk, watch people, and get the goods you need for the next day.

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