Ward 6 News ~ August 3, 2012

Minneapolis Ward 6 Council Member Robert Lilligren
August 3, 2012

Streetcars on the Greenway


At today’s city council meeting, my colleagues unanimously voted to appoint me to represent the City of Minneapolis on the Midtown Corridor Policy Advisory Committee (PAC). This group will provide overall policy guidance on the proposed streetcar line on the Midtown Greenway. Council Member Schiff, another Midtown area representative, was also appointed.
 
I have been very supportive during my time on the city council of our efforts to plan and promote reintroducing streetcars in Minneapolis. Our city grew up around streetcar lines. Modern streetcar systems are desirable because they generate new ridership. People who will not take buses will ride streetcars because of their confidence in a system with rail and the better quality of the ride. This in turn gets more cars off the streets – important to improving our air quality, to achieving American energy independence and to living active, healthier lives. Streetcars encourage greater investment in the properties along the lines. When tracks are laid in a street it represents strong public sector commitment to that corridor. This encourages a higher level of investment from the property owners which creates more jobs, brings amenities and allows for the appropriate higher density that helps make our city livable. 
 
The Midtown Greenway was identified as one of the seven streetcars lines to be included in our “Primary Network” as part of Access Minneapolis,our ten year transportation action plan. Access Minneapolis expresses our city’s priorities in transportation investment for the next decade. The origins of Access Minneapolis came from conversations with our Public Works Director during my first term on the city council. I was seeking a way to better express Minneapolis’s priorities when representing our city at a number of different transportation related boards. The Access Minneapolis plan was a major undertaking that addresses all regions of our city and all transportation modes.     
 
In 2010 the City of Minneapolis applied for and received a $900 thousand federal grant to further plan the Nicollet Avenue and Central Avenue streetcar line, our number one priority line. At the same time the Met Council received a similar $300 thousand grant to study the possibility of streetcars on the Greenway. Met Council is the lead agency on the Greenway study. The Nicollet/Central and Greenway studies will happen at pretty much the same time and will support each other. The cooperation of the City of Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Council, as well as other governmental jurisdictions, shows real progress in the area of streetcars.
 
The Midtown Greenway, originally a freight rail corridor, was purchased by Hennepin County to be a transit corridor. The much-used bike and pedestrian paths were built well in advance of transit because of the engaged activism of Minneapolis residents, primarily through the Midtown Greenway Coalition. Before running for city council I served on the board of directors of the Midtown Greenway Coalition.
 
The Midtown Greenway Coalition has long been supportive of streetcars as the appropriate transit for the Greenway. The Coalition has done some of their own preliminary planning around the line and the possible station areas.
 
When completed, the Midtown Greenway streetcar line would connect the Hiawatha and Southwest light rail lines and intersect the proposed I-35W bus rapid transit line (BRT). When fully operational, the 35W BRT will become the most used transit corridor in the state! The Greenway streetcar will serve Lake Street business, the large employers along the line, area residents and visitors. I am very supportive of these efforts and look forward to representing the interests of my constituents – and all of Minneapolis on the Midtown Corridor Policy Advisory Committee.
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Mondays with Robert

Council Member Lilligren has always believed that it's important for people like you and me to have access to government. Robert remains committed to that value today. For that reason, Council Member Lilligren makes himself available to community member visits on a walk-in and appointment basis.

You can meet with Robert on the first four Mondays of the month at each of the neighborhoods he represents. Call or email Alondra at 673-2206 or alondra.cano@minneapolismn.gov to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, however - you will be asked to wait if there is a scheduled appointment.

First Monday of the Month
Whittier Alliance, 10 E. 25th Street
9:30am - 11:30am

Second Monday of the Month
Phillips West, 2400 Park Ave.
Center for Changing Lives
9:30am - 11:30am

Third Monday of the Month
Stevens Square, 1925 Nicollet Ave.
9:30am - 11:30am

Fourth Monday of the Month
Ventura Village, 2323 11th Ave. S.
2nd Floor of Phillips Community Center
9:30am - 11:30am

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Native American/Somali Peacemakers

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Congratulations to the Native American-Somali Peacemakers project for being voted as the winner of a $100,000 grant from the Connect for Health Challenge! This initiative is based on the Native American and Somali community’s strongly held and deeply respected shared cultural values of conflict resolution, consultation with wise elders, and co-created reconciliation processes. This program has had significant success in stemming the tide of intercultural violence between the youth of the Cedar Riverside and Phillips Neighborhoods and funds will be used to move this effort to the next level of work from crisis management to building strong youth leadership skills.
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Insulation & Solar Energy in Mpls

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Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF) is a community energy cooperative helping neighbors to save money on insulation and solar panels by buying in bulk – making the process easier, cheaper, and fun. Last winter, CEF ran a bulk purchase program for home insulation in Minneapolis, helping a team of neighbors hire qualified installers of home insulation at a lower cost. CEF’s new Grow Solar program applies the same model of community purchasing to solar-electric panels. CEF is also helping to promote weatherization work parties where neighbors can come together for a lively work party to prepare your home for winter. Folks who are interested in solar hot water or solar air heat, should check the Make Mine Solar bulk-buying program run by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society. You can reach Cooperative Energy Futures at 612-568-2334 to learn more about ways to save money on energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and generate clean energy. 
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Special Service Districts

We would like to congratulate Dave Burill and David Johnson, Jr. for their appointment to the Chicago-Lake Special Service District. Congrats also go out to Linda McHale, Denise Arambadjis, Linda Ashland, John Meegan, and Cole Rogers for their appointment to the Lyndale-Lake Special Service District. Last, but not least, we also send another round of congratulations to Lucy Brown-Minn, Joanne Christ, and Tammy Wong for being appointed to the Nicollet Avenue Special Service District. We are very proud to have such active and committed business owners and business representatives who are stepping up to contribute towards the overall improvement and beatification of their economic and cultural corridors! Learn more about special service districts.

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Indigenous Music & Movies

The Indigenous Music & Movies Series at Father Hennepin Bluffs Park has begun! The series started August 1 and will run throughout the rest of the month. New this year, Dream of Wild Health will be on hand each week selling fresh produce and native food, Jim Rock will be sharing Dakota astronomy knowledge and look for the tipi. A highlight this year is that the Mankato Symphony Orchestra and the Maza Kute Drum group will play on Tuesday August 21st followed by the courageous and healing film “Dakota 38.”

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Remember Primaries are August 14

Learn more about voting at the City of Minneapolis' Elections division!

From the Office of City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren
350 South 5th Street, City Hall, Room 307, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Robert.Lilligren@minneapolismn.gov · Ward 6 website · (612) 673-2206

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