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How Met Council, Local Governments Deny Affordable Housing to the Working Poor

Nearly everyone acknowledges that the lack of housing available for people of low and middle income is one of the most serious problems facing the Twin Cities today. Experts use a standard measure to determine whether housing is affordable: If a household spends 30 percent or more of its income on housing expenses (mortgage or rent), then that household is considered “cost-burdened” and their housing is not affordable. By this measure, more than 27 percent of Twin Cities residents were cost-burdened in 2017, according to Minnesota Compass, using U.S. Census Bureau data. And the poorest are hit hardest. Nearly 85 percent in...

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Confirmed: The Met Council’s dangerous “transit-oriented development” crusade

The Metropolitan Council is on a crusade to “densify” the Twin Cities, and that means reorganizing our metro area around public transit. The Council’s guiding principle is “transit-oriented development." But the coronavirus pandemic should be a wake-up call that “transit-oriented development” poses risks we previously hadn’t dreamed of....

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How the density craze is ruining urban life

Today’s Star Tribune features an op-ed headlined, “The density craze is ruining urban life in Minneapolis.” It’s a reader’s response to my April 5 article entitled, “Density in a time of coronavirus.” Donald Wolesky, who wrote the piece, says he has lived in Uptown Minneapolis for over 30 years and has seen the “new urbanist” obsession with density play out. In this vivid, “on-the-ground” piece, he documents its lamentable results....

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Gov. Walz Fails to Stay the Execution of Kenilworth Trail until SWLRT is funded

The Met Council has been saying for years that it is ready to apply for a federal grant. Yet, here we are in 2019, during the Trump administration, without an invitation to apply for $929 million federal funds and the State has pulled support, leaving Hennepin County as the source of funds. Local officials are nervous. And the clear-cutting of trees has begun. ...

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Kenwood Resident Makes Impassioned Plea to Reroute Unsafe SWLRT and Save Urban Oasis

If we want to build for the masses and reduce human impact, why are we destroying environment and sticking mass transit where there aren’t many masses? Why are we encouraging suburban sprawl? One commented on how the line will encourage population density along the route. Where? Do we plan to tear down single-family homes erect apartment buildings in all single-family neighborhoods? Place a Starbucks or Wal-Mart along the lakes? Where do we draw the line? Is this line supposed to serve the interest of builders who look at greenspace and see cash? Must we pave over whatever we can find?...

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Stop Clear-Cutting of Trees for SWLRT: Residents Petition Gov. Walz

Something is up. The Met Council is spending $200,000 in taxpayer dollars on lobbyists to secure the federal funding. Why spend bucks on lobbyists if you are certain of funding? Maybe I was wrong to write that the federal funding train has left the station. I am happy to be wrong about that. Let's cheer these petitioning residents on. ...

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Metro Transit: The most dangerous LRT system in America?

This post originally appeared at katana community on January 24, 2019. This last Friday you may have seen a story on KARE11 or KSTP about how a Metro Transit Light Rail Transit (LRT) driver killed Nicholas Westlake in July 2017 when the train's driver blew through a clear stop signal and broadsided Westlake's car.  Representative Linda Runbeck of Circle Pines is now introducing a bill in the Minnesota House that would allow criminal charges to be brought against LRT drivers in such situations, as state law currently disallows this.(!) I recommend you  watch the stories to get the full details. But the detail I want to...

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Dayton Approves Huge Raises for Government Employees On His Way Out the Door

Gov. Mark Dayton has approved large pay increases for 22 government officials, including 7 employees of the Metropolitan Council, who already make well over $100,000 per year. This is why people have little faith that their government is working for them, and not the other way around. According to a CBS news report, Minnesota law says local governments cannot pay employees more than 110 percent of a governor’s salary, which is $127,000. But they can apply for a waiver. The state does give permission, but not often: out of hundreds of requests, it has agreed to only 77 times in the last 21 years:...

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Someone Better Tell the Met Council Planners: Millennials Moving to the Suburbs in Droves for Better Schools and Bigger Houses

Uh-oh. Someone at the "density is destiny" crowd in Minneapolis and at the Met Council that millennials may not be the lovers of urban living they have been chalked up to be. As, millennials marry later and have kids later, it may prolong their stay in the cities, but it appears that once they start having children they prioritize the larger spaces, more-affordable housing, and better schools found in the suburbs. The story posted below originally appeared in Axios. For years, an unwavering certitude of industry, think tanks, demographers, policy-makers and city planners everywhere has been that humanity is moving to the...

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Southwest LRT funding has left the station: Will Trump Insist that Met Council Appointments Follow Federal Law?

Minnesota is now on track to spend $2.03 billion for about 15 miles of track. Note that you can add road lanes for about 10% of that cost. My theory has always been that Hennepin County voters think that someone else is going to take the LRT so they can drive with less congestion. When Southwest LRT fails to reduce congestion in the west metro, perhaps Minnesotans will choose more wisely at the polls. The construction phase of the LRT ought to provide plenty of down-time in traffic to think about it. Is there anything you can do to help? ...

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