Join the Board to Keep Moving the Conversation Forward

As Bill Lindeke noted a couple of weeks ago, the board needs you to apply to join us! I have served on the board for the last year, after several years of reading, commenting, and contributing. It has been an amazing opportunity to help shape and support an organization I love, and to use my skills to provide a needed service to help sustain this website. is where Minnesota’s transportation and land use conversation takes place

I won’t pretend that’s readership rivals major general media outlets like the Star Tribune. It doesn’t. But it is one of the only major sites specifically focused on transportation and land use issues. It is read by elected leaders, policy aides, advocates, and enthusiastic community members. My own first article — about sidewalks in Richfield — ignited a conversation about my community’s needs. A recent article provided a strong counter to anti-bike lane media coverage and was widely popular on social media. Bill Lindeke, our board chair and most prolific writer, has written countless articles about bicycling and land use in St. Paul, providing more detailed context about his Planning Commission opinions that we rarely see from officials.

Board members Bill Lindeke and Janne Flisrand and more picnic guests in summer 2017

But the organization is also facing challenges and change. Many of the original authors and board members have moved on to new ventures, and we have a mostly second-generation board looking to define and sustain the site for the future. Our political climate for local government has become yet-more-tense, with a divided state government, a gridlocked national government, and dangerous efforts to curtail local government through preemption. The conversation has never mattered more, and serving on the board has never mattered more.

What you can do on the board

The board meets monthly. It is a group of individuals with diverse backgrounds — some are professionals in the field of planning and engineering, others are appointed or past elected officials, and others are everyday people who have a passion for the issues covers. Some are bike commuters, and some aren’t. Most live in Minneapolis or St. Paul; a couple (myself included) live elsewhere in the metro; and at least one lives in greater Minnesota.

The board makes decisions of the overall direction of the organization. But more importantly, the board is a group of doers. My own role has been serving as a volunteer webmaster, using my professional skills in web developer to improve the site’s security, consolidate urbanMSP into the forum, and help provide technical expertise as the board considers a site redesign. Others bring very different, but equally valuable skill-sets and commitments: two have helped shepherd the complicated process of putting on in-person events like our annual picnic and winter fundraiser. Others edit posts and help new writers learn the ropes. Others manage our social media presence, keeping us engaged in the conversation that takes places beyond our site itself.

We need doers from all walks of life, from all locations, and with any skill-set they can bring that can serve the mission of Please apply today. If you have any questions, I am happy to take them. You can ask below in the comments, or DM me on Twitter at @sdho if you prefer.

Apply today. Application closes November 13th

Sean Hayford Oleary

About Sean Hayford Oleary

Sean Hayford Oleary is a web developer and planner. He serves on the Richfield City Council, and previously on the city's Planning and Transportation commissions. Articles are written from a personal perspective and not on behalf of Richfield or others. Sean has a masters in urban planning from the Humphrey School. Follow his love of streets, home improvement, and all things Richfield on Twitter @sdho.