mpls: Rybak's Action Plan

There's a Strib op-ed and a press release about R.T. (Rootin' Tootin') Rybak's meeting this week to unveil his Transportation Action Plan. It's quite exciting.

Here's my favorite bit from the Strib.
Rybak's is a superb vision. But we await the policy, the political will, the funding. We await the actual experience of leaving our car at home, walking down a safe, clean, leafy street lined with interesting shops, condos above, streetcars clanging past, on our way to the library or the ballgame or the farmers market. Then we will believe.

You and me both, Gyllenhaal.

I wish I could have been at the meeting, because if you believe his rhetoric, Rybak really seems to get it. He talks at length about density and diversity, and is working with the Urban Land Institute and the U to plan ways to make Minneapolis a walkable, liveable place.

Apparently job #1 is Washington Avenue.
At the top of Mayor Rybak's list of streets as destinations was Washington Avenue. "Imagine this street transformed into a grand promenade connecting the University of Minnesota, Guthrie Theater, Center for Book Arts, Mill City Museum, Brenda Langton's new farmer's market, MacPhail Center for the Arts, the Central Library, new condos in the North Loop, the Cedar Lake Bike Trail and a new Twins ballpark. The remarkable concentration of new attractions along
Washington Avenue make this an opportunity we have to seize, and in the grandest way possible. The lessons learned here can be applied in streets all across our city," Rybak said.

Except for the new Twins ballpark (won't happen), this sounds good. Washington Avenue (and the riverfront area next to it) are one of the most promising areas of the "new downtown," and a wide street that's been languishing for a long time. Even the Nicollet/Hennepin parts of this stretch are still the pits.

Plus, Rybak talked about bike and transitways, streetcars (!), and the importance of sidewalks. Sure, he was preaching to the choir (the Am. Insitute of Architects), but hearing this feels like winning the lottery.

I can't think of a better thing for the newly elected mayor to spend his political capitol on, apart from forcing the MPD to patch things up with the minority community.

That said, 150 architects sounds like about 125 too many . . .


It appears that Rybak has a planning blog! Join the club, R.T.


Andrew said...

Pretty interesting to see the mayor joining the world of the blogosphere. Unfortunatly, I think the Twins Stadium may actually happen for better or worse, hopefully better. I am disappointed though that the Twins Stadium has become more important than the Gophers Stadium who are tied down to the University and the state of Minnesota. These guys can't be sold with the success from a new stadium, they can't go anywhere!!!

I think the potential of a streetcar or some sort of transit down Washington Avenue thru downtown would be great, however, we already have a ton of Transportation projects on the table and we're still struggling for funding. Once we have a more reliable and dedicated form of funding, we can propose new routes of investment.

Driver2165 said...

if they're serious about making minneapolis a walkable city, why are they focusing on a very small part of downtown, when they can start letting developers build buildings that don't have new parking (required by city code) and granting zoning changes for new mixed residential/commerical lots?

it's like they want to emulated portland downtown, but they still want the rest of the city to look like burnsville.