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Media Coverage: What others are saying about the Met Council


As diversity grows, disparities plague Twin Cities

Too many are being left behind as metro area becomes less white.

Star Tribune (Opinion) November 6, 2014
A new report from the Metropolitan Council describes something that’s probably obvious: Our complexion is changing. The Twin Cities metro area is gradually looking more like the rest of America.
Fifty years ago we were outliers — 98 percent white. Now, one of every four residents of the seven inner-ring metro counties is “of color.” Latinos, blacks and Asians have accounted for 92 percent of the region’s growth since 2000. By 2040, they are expected to make up 40 percent of our population.
The Met Council report shows that, from 2000-2013, Anoka, Scott and Washington counties more than doubled their shares of nonwhite population, while Hennepin and Ramsey counties lost white population. And different racial and ethnic populations are driving our “of color” diversity: Latinos in Minneapolis; blacks inBrooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center; Asians in Woodbury andShakopee; blacks and Latinos in Bloomington and Burnsville, and Asians and blacks in St. Paul.

Suburbs lead in diversity growth

Populations of color have more than doubled in the five suburban counties since 2000.
Star Tribune - November 4, 2014

Over the past 13 years, populations of color in Hennepin and Ramsey counties grew about 40 to 50 percent. In each of the Twin Cities area’s five purely suburban counties, that number was more than 100 percent.

According to a new Metropolitan Council report, growth ranged from 114 percent in Dakota County to 229 percent in Scott County, compared with the 64 percent average across the Twin Cities region. Among the suburban communities with the most significant growth were Burnsville, Shakopee, Woodbury and Brooklyn Park, which all gained more than 8,000 residents of color between 2000 and 2013.

This mirrors what’s happening across the state. Between 2000 and 2010, all but two Minnesota counties saw growth in populations of color. According to the Met Council report, based on census data released in late October, two in five Twin Cities residents will be people of color by 2040.


How the Twin Cities got transit right: - October 14, 2014
Big projects often divide cities. But Minneapolis' light rail line is creating jobs and driving development in underserved areas.

The right way to renew a city.  When the Minneapolis metro region went to build a light rail line connecting downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, the initial reaction was not good. Several community groups from lower-income neighborhoods along the proposed route opposed the project. They'd been scarred from a previous highway project that cut right through the neighborhood, dividing homes from the retail district and resulting in hundreds of evictions. They were afraid the new rail line would do the same.

Yet many of the train's supporters wanted to run the line through the neighborhood. They saw it as not only a tool to move people but also one to drive economic development. The 11-mile, billion dollar Green Line opened in June. Not everyone loves it - the chief complaint is that it's too slow. But many are hailing it as a model urban project. Supporters successfully addressed many of the concerns of people along the route, and there are many benefits.

Mapped: How public transit changes your job prospects

Washington Post - October 7, 2014
Public transit dramatically changes the shape of a city for people who live near (and rely on) it. A job that may be five miles away feels much closer if it's on the other end of a subway line. A supermarket in the next neighborhood over may feel remote if there's no bus to get to it.

The amenities in a city, for many people, are only as accessible as its transit system. And the better that transit system — with broad coverage, short waits, easy transfers — the more accessible the city is. This is true in all kinds of ways, for all kinds of destinations, but it's particularly relevant for regional economies — and even social mobility — when it comes to talking about jobs.

Equity, empowerment: how community-driven TOD is transforming green line neighborhoods

The Line - October 1, 2014

In June, Twin Cities’ residents celebrated the Green Line's opening with free rides, performances, activities, and restaurant and brewery stops along the new railway. What many may not have known, however, is that in neighborhoods adjacent to Green Line, community-driven planning had been underway—for almost a decade.
In order to “get out ahead of” changes the new Green Line would bring to their neighborhoods—to forge, in other words, a powerful community-generated alternative to the transit-driven gentrification that often occurs in cities—area residents, business owners, neighborhood development associations, support organizations and planning authorities got together long before the tracks were laid.

Their goal was to transform Central Corridor communities from the inside out, by boosting prosperity and creating new economic opportunities for residents. They also wanted to ensure their neighborhoods’ unique cultural characteristics and institutions were preserved.

Transit oriented development: linking community benefits and regional health

MinnPost - September 26, 2014

TOD can give people with fewer resources real choices. How do we best use the intersection between transportation and land use to help people and places prosper?
Transit oriented development is one answer to that question that's gaining favor among both cities and suburbs. In fact, the Twin Cities has become a national leader in demonstrating to other metro areas how to do this kind of development while keeping the good of the community in mind.
Transit oriented development (TOD) means making the decision to build housing and businesses in close proximity to affordable transportation — like bus and train stops. It makes life simpler and more convenient for those who commute to work every day and who want to access life's basic necessities without driving. It provides businesses and cultural organizations near transit stops with more customers and patrons, and it takes thousands of cars off an already overcrowded freeway system.


Transportation funding change aims for equality in Twin Cities

Next City - 24, 2014

From exclusionary zoning policies to trains that stop before reaching areas of racially concentrated poverty, institutionalized racism is literally built into our urban and suburban landscapes. In the Twin Cities, a new method for distributing federal transportation dollars considers the cities’ spatial and economic inequities. Approved last week by a transportation subcommittee of the Metropolitan Council (the agency that oversees planning in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region), the formula for allotting $150 million assigns points to potential projects — roads, buses, bike paths and even pedestrian infrastructure — based on how they stand to improve racial equity.

“[O]ur region has some of the largest disparities by race and ethnicity of any large metropolitan area in the nation,” a document called Thrive MSP 2040 states.

Grant will fuel new, improved bus shelters in Minneapolis, St. Paul

Star Tribune - September 26, 2014

The Twin Cities will get hundreds of new or improved bus shelters next year, thanks in part to a major federal grant awarded to Metro Transit this week.
The $3.26 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration is helping fuel a massive increase in shelter spending next year. Metro Transit expects to install 150 new shelters, replace between 75 and 100 shelters and enhance 75 existing shelters with amenities such as light, heat and more transit information.


RailVolution showcases Minnesota transit successes

Crossroads - September 26, 2014

Before a national audience of 1,400 urban planners and transit enthusiasts, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin and others told the story of how the Twin Cities metropolitan area was transformed into a community that embraces “livability” and mass transit, including light rail.
“The growth was horizontal and there were lots of people who were saying it wouldn’t work in Minnesota,” said McLaughlin, during the opening plenary of the RailVolution conference in Minneapolis.
But the metro region bucked years of infighting and helped pass a transportation bill in 2008 that allows counties to tax for the expansion of transit in the metro area. Anoka, Ramsey, Hennepin, Dakota and Washington Counties decided to pool their resources from the quarter-cent transit sales tax, which is why the Southwest Light Rail Line is able to move forward.

Encouraging steps for light-rail lines:  Southwest, Bottineau receive key endorsements to move forward.

Star Tribune (Opinion) - September 7, 2014

Two crucial approvals for Southwest and Bottineau light rail in late August suggest that however fitfully, the metropolitan area is making strides to move beyond singular light-rail lines and toward a more-integrated transit system.
To be sure, there are many technical, financial, governmental and even legal hurdles ahead. But after a yearslong process, progress on Southwest (also called the Green Line Extension) and Bottineau (also known as the Blue Line Extension) is significant and encouraging.

Riding the Green Line: Why shared public space matters

Bruce Johnson, Community Voices, Twin City Planet, August 25, 2014

I board the Green Line, traveling east from downtown Minneapolis. It’s my first time taking the new line mid-day on a weekday, and I’m riding it just a few stops. It seems quiet. The only person seated in my section—he’s across the aisle, a couple rows ahead of me—is a young man, neatly dressed, with a backpack. He looks like he might be a college student.  Next stop, the doors open, another guy enters, somewhat older than the first, very different style of dress, hair, head covering.

APTA Transit News - public transportation organizations recognized for sustainability achievements -Washington, DC - August 04, 2014
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recognized seven organizations today for their outstanding sustainability achievements which have met specific criteria through the APTA Sustainability Commitment program. Public transit agencies and businesses that voluntarily participate in the APTA Sustainability Commitment program commit to implementing processes and actions that create continuous improvements in environmental, social, and economic sustainability.  
The organizations receiving Gold Level recognition were Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (Urbana, IL), Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (Boston, MA), Metro Transit (Minneapolis, MN), and the Société de Transport de Montréal (Montreal, Canada).  Lane Transit District (Springfield, OR) received a Silver Level Recognition. The two Bronze Level recipients were GO Transit (Toronto, ON) and Stacy and Witbeck, the first construction firm to receive this honor, for the sustainability efforts at its Portland, OR office and four project field offices.

Options whittled to three for sustaining water supply

White Bear Press - July 30, 2014

Someone in the northeast metro is going to be drinking river water. We just don’t know who at this point; or when, or how or for how much. But it will be expensive.

In fact, the Metropolitan Council figures expanding St. Paul’s Regional Water Service, which takes water from the Mississippi, would cost either $5.2 million or $155 million depending on whether the service extends to just North St. Paul or to select northeast communities.

Those select communities on the list to convert? White Bear Lake, White Bear Township, Mahtomedi, Vadnais Heights, Shoreview and North St. Paul.


A new threat to Twin Cities water quality

Star Tribune - updated July 3

Cities, Met Council need to address impact of excessive stormwater. Why does a torrential rainfall compel people to flush the toilet a dozen times, take another shower and wash an extra load of laundry? Obviously, it doesn’t.

How, then, did all that extra water get into the metro area’s sanitary sewer system during June’s relentless rainstorms, so much of it that the system was overwhelmed and forced to discharge raw sewage into local waters, most notably into Lake Minnetonka, temporarily closing several beaches?

Met Council’s regional plan changes for the better

Star Tribune - Dec. 21, 2013

A sneak preview of the Metropolitan Council’s next regional plan, “Thrive MSP 2040,” appears — even as a rough draft — to break important new ground in describing and addressing the Twin Cities’ most vexing problems in the decades ahead.

The council updates the regional plan every decade or so to keep pace with demographic trends and changing conditions. And this council, appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011, seems especially eager to shed traditional discussions about transportation and land development and take a wider view. Here are the highlights.

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