Progress in Minneapolis: Businesses can now board their windows up
“Minneapolis is a city steeped in a rich heritage of progressive politics.” So wrote a researcher in 1995. We saw a sign of that progress this week. Last August,…
In what should have been a headline in The Onion or the Babylon Bee, and not the Star Tribune, the City of Minneapolis delayed the rebuilding of businesses destroyed by riots in South Minneapolis because a business owner wanted too much parking. The business in question is a dental office that was seeking to expand its practice and provide more convenient parking options for its patients, many of whom are low-income households.
According to the Star Tribune article:
“[Dr. Ali] Barbarawi, who operates as a solo practitioner, has been hoping to add another dentist or two to the practice since he bought it three years ago. As one of the few dentists in the area who accepts Medicaid, Barbarawi has been able to attract 3,000 mostly low-income clients. But he constantly has to send some patients elsewhere for specialized services such as oral surgery or pediatric care.
“I have always wanted to expand the dental clinic to serve more patients in the community, especially children,” Barbarawi said.
Barbarawi also has been looking for a better parking arrangement. With seven employees and just 13 spaces outside his dental clinic, Barbarawi said his patients were often forced to wait for a space or seek parking elsewhere, causing complaints.
Over the summer, Barbarawi struck a deal with Blyly to buy the bookstore property. With three large concrete slabs, the parcel offers ready-make parking for as many as 10 cars. But the plans hit a roadblock when Barbarawi shared his proposal with a city inspector, who insisted that all of the slabs be removed immediately.”
Poor said the project was stopped because the Minneapolis City Council limited parking in the neighborhood years ago. Though Barbarawi’s building would normally be allowed to have up to 15 parking spaces, the code change brought that down to 12.
Barbarawi was told he could seek city approval for a new parking lot once he finalizes his expansion plans, but he and Blyly objected since it would cost another $25,000 to remove the slabs and meet the city’s other requirements, and even more money to rebuild the parking lot.
“It’s such a waste of resources that doesn’t need to be spent,” said Andy Ristrom, the project manager at Bolander who has been overseeing the demolition work.
The City of Minneapolis continues to make life more difficult for its residents and business owners in order to try and control their behavior. Namely, the City has been allowing fewer parking spaces in town, banning new drive throughs, and enacting “road diets” to reduce the number of lanes available to make driving so miserable people seek to use public transit or bike to their destinations.
A 2017 Star Tribune article may as well have been an American Experiment billboard:
“It is no accident that drivers are spending more time and money to park in Minneapolis.
City officials have been holding back downtown parking construction for years. Lately they have doubled down, investing in bicycle lanes and approving new apartment buildings with few parking spaces that encourage people to find ways besides cars to get around.”
The year 2020 has laid bare that the City Council of Minneapolis is inept and incapable of running the city. From requiring tax payments before issuing cleanup permits to burned-down businesses, to allowing the businesses to burned in the first place, the council members aren’t capable of correctly diagnosing what’s wrong with the City, and sadly, this means they will never be able to take the correct steps toward fixing the problem.
Minneapolis is a great city with a lousy government. Local governments are supposed to take care of local problems. As such, elected officials in the city need to worry more about the business climate and public safety, and less about addressing issues like the global climate, of which they have virtually no control or influence.