Streets.mn Voter Guide – Ken Kelash

Here’s part two in our series of Voter Guides for the open seat in Hennepin County’s 3rd District.

1.) As a Hennepin County Commissioner, what would be your top transportation or land use priority?

Transit oriented development was an issue I worked on while in the State Senate. I still believe that jobs, housing, sustainability are closely tied to our ability to move people to and from work and play efficiently.

2.) Hennepin County includes rolling farmland near the Crow River and fifty story skyscrapers near the Mississippi River. What strategies would you use to reconcile the competing needs of these very different constituencies and their representatives on the county commission?

Demographers expect the metropolitan area to grow by between 750,000 and 1,000,000 residents in the next 30 – 40 years. The county must plan for this influx of people by working with the federal, state and local municipalities to construct transportation options to move these people to and from work and play. In western Hennepin County the county roads need to be planned for the growth with green corridors for bike and pedestrian use while maintained for agricultural efficiency.

3.) In 2009, Hennepin County adopted a Complete Streets Policy, and today they’re moving forward with a Washington Avenue reconstruction that accommodates all modes of transportation. In your opinion, what road or street in District 3 would be a candidate for this kind of consideration? How would you make it happen?

Richfield Boulevard along Cedar Avenue from the Minnesota River to Lake Nokomis and then north on Bloomington Avenue would make a great north/south corridor through South Minneapolis.

4.) Hennepin County has jurisdiction over many major thoroughfares in Minneapolis including Lake Street, Lyndale Avenue, and Minnehaha Avenue. What would you do to balance regional mobility with local quality of life?

Hennepin County should encourage the Met Council to add BRT type buses and stops.

5.) What, specifically, is your stance on the current Southwest Corridor colocation vs. relocation debate? Or do you support reconsidering the process that selected the Kenilworth corridor, or do you support another plan?

The decision is in the hands of the Metropolitan Council and I would like to wait for the studies to be completed to see the impact of moving the freight lines on St. Louis Park. We should not reconsider the process that selected the Kenilworth Corridor. The options were considered prior to choosing Kenilworth and rejected, nothing has changed that would alter the original decision. The community input could have been handled better by the Metropolitan Council.

6.) Tell us about a formative experience you’ve had using transit, cycling, or as a pedestrian.

I’ve been riding the bike trails in Minneapolis and St. Paul for the last 40 years. My job didn’t allow me to use transit very often, but when I could work downtown I used it. I am committed to improving transportation options for all of Hennepin County as funding becomes available. The County needs to lead the State and Municipalities to find funding and create complete street corridors everywhere practical.

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