Infrastructure

Minneapolis Doesn’t Need this Parking Ramp & Neither Does Our Climate

July 12, 2019

Four people standing together in downtown Minneapolis during a 2017 climate demonstration. One holds a large picture of earth on a tall stick.

This month, the Minneapolis Planning Commission considered allowing a new 800-space parking ramp to be built right next to the Cedar Lake Trail bike path, riverfront walking paths, and transit stops.

With our climate in crisis, a massive parking ramp should be a last resort. That’s why Move Minnesota supported the work of regional allies and opposed this project. You can read our letter to decision-makers here.

On July 8, the project permits for the Heritage Landing Parking Ramp were narrowly denied on a 5-4 vote.

We know the harm that happens when we promote driving above all else. It compromises our air quality. It pollutes our water. It creates housing shortages as we give up more and more land for parking. It forces every family to aspire to car ownership, no matter if they can afford the cost.

Parking structures like this should be a way of the past. Especially in the heart of downtown where transportation options are plentiful. Especially in a city committed to reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Even so, Minneapolis decision-makers had to hear from hundreds of residents and community organizations including The Alliance, Sierra Club North Star Chapter, Our Streets Minneapolis, and Move Minnesota, and the Commission still barely rejected a project that violated the City’s own Climate Action Plan.

The climate crisis is already here. That’s why Move Minnesota will continue to fight alongside our allies to make sure that Minnesota invests in the transportation solutions that protect our environment, increase health and accessibility, and are affordable for all.

With transportation now the largest source of greenhouse gases in Minnesota, we know what the solution looks like: more walking, more biking, and more transit.

Instead, as noted in the Star Tribune, an analysis shows that Minneapolis can expect “an increase of about 1,345 car trips per workday if the ramp is built. Traffic mitigation options would likely lead to reduced safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and add greenhouse gases from the reduced speed of cars, according to the study.”

Unfortunately, although the Planning Commission voted against the Heritage Landing parking ramp, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis reportedly still hopes to advance this project with the Minneapolis City Council.*

The decisions we make today have a huge impact on our future. Instead of building a huge parking ramp that will last over 50 years, let’s build communities that prioritize clean air, abundant housing, and affordable, sustainable transportation.

*UPDATE: Since publishing this story, the Star Tribune reported on July 24, that the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has abandoned their plans on the parking ramp, stating “insufficient support” for their proposal!