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Minneapolis Ward 11 City Council Candidates’ Stances on Transit, Biking, Walking, and Rolling

Pictured from left to right: Kurt M. Anderson, Dillon Gherna, Albert T. Ross, Jeremy Schroeder

Move Minnesota and Our Streets Minneapolis have teamed up on a questionnaire for 2021 Minneapolis city council candidates to learn about their ideas and vision for the future of transportation in Minneapolis.

Access to quality transit, biking, walking, and rolling play an essential role in tackling climate change and ensuring equitable access to the opportunities and services the people of Minneapolis need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

This questionnaire is for candidate and voter information only. Participating organizations will not be making endorsements in any Minneapolis city elections in 2021. This questionnaire was sent to all candidates, but those not listed have chosen not to respond.

All candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order last name basis.

The Responses

Question 1

What is your primary mode of transportation? How often do you ride transit?  

Kurt M. Anderson:

I have had a GoTo Pass for decades, and also provided them to my employees.
But I have been home-based since January 2014 and travel much less.
I use(d) the 535 from 46th St Station to downtown, and back. Occasionally
connected via Rt 46 crosstown, but walked to station whenever weather
permitted.


Bicycles – I joined NiceRide in 2019 and used Bryant, 1st Av, and Chain of Lakes
bike routes. From downtown, I have used Nicollet Mall, Loring Greeway and
Loring Park on the way to Bryant Av or the Chain of Lakes.

Dillon Gherna:

I use public transit during times of events downtown, when commuting to and from the airport
from downtown or occasionally if heading to the mall of America from one of the light rail
platform locations throughout the corridor.

Albert T. Ross:

Selected the “rarely” option

Jeremy Schroeder:

I am lucky to live near the Park/Portland bike lanes to downtown. While not a protected
lane, I do appreciate the wide bike lanes in the winter as streets narrow due to snow.

Question 2

Rethinking I-94 & Environmental Justice: Climate change and pollution disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Children in North Minneapolis—particularly those closest to I-94 in the 55411 & 55412 zip codes are hospitalized at rates as high as 4x compared to children in other parts of Minneapolis. During the last Minneapolis freeway reconstruction project, the city withdrew municipal consent for the I-35W reconstruction until the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Council redesigned I-35W with highway Bus Rapid Transit, resulting in the Orange Line I-35W. Currently, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is exploring reconstruction efforts for I-94 going North out of the city; what role, if any, do you see the city playing in rethinking our freeways and addressing environmental injustice and pollution from freeways? Are there specific transportation or transit efforts you would pursue to achieve this?   

Kurt M. Anderson:

The destruction of the north side neighborhood (and the riverfront access) was on
the same scale as the Rondo destruction. Reconstruction should await substantial
progress in actual construction of the Bottineau light rail line; addition of BRT
stations at intervals similar to the I-35W BRT south of downtown; and generous
access to parks and the river through a combination of traffic tunnels and large
greenway overpasses

Dillon Gherna:

When it comes to transportation as a whole, I support creating and making investments in
projects that ensure safe, accessible, and a variety of transportation methods to meet the needs of all residents. The reality of the situation is that transit may not work for all individuals just as much as owning or driving a vehicle may not meet the needs of everyone in our city. By making investments in all modes of transit and transportation, we ensure that we are considering all impacts on the lives of those living in our city. I support investments in projects that continue to ensure access and reduce pollution in our communities such as light rail, biking, ride sharing etc.

Albert T. Ross:

For starters I would;

  1. Utilize zoning to create 15-minute neighborhoods where everything a resident needs is just 15 minutes from their door.
  2. Hire more planning staff to expand capacity and accelerate project implementation.
  3. Imbed a safety impact review for new projects into the existing review processes for new projects that impact sidewalks and streets.
  4. Prioritize small businesses, outdoor dinning, and community spaces over parking spaces.
  5. Eliminat fares and make buses free.
  6. Expand dedicated bus-only lanes.
  7. Expand access to electric vehicle charging.
  8. Invest in a comprehensive ferry system.
  9. Expand the new 2040 plan to ensure that Black Brown People of Color are in the center of every decision being made.

Jeremy Schroeder:

If the City is serious about environmental justice, the City needs to oppose any plans for
I-94 that expands environmental harm to the Northside, whether that is a lack of transit
or an expansion of lanes into the City. I’m proud to have supported my Northside council
colleagues in demanding MnDOT add transit and stop the expansion of lanes in the I-94
project.

Question 3

Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan: State and city studies show that we will need to reduce how much people drive (“vehicle miles traveled”) to reach established emissions-reduction goals. Transportation is the #1 source of climate change pollution in Minnesota. The Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan has highlighted changing “mode split” (the shifting of car trips to transit, biking, or walking) as a critical strategy in reaching and measuring VMT reduction and in achieving overall emission reduction goals. The city now has an ambitious “mode split goal” to shift 60% of car trips to biking, walking, and transit by 2030. Despite an increase in bike and pedestrian infrastructure investments, data from the previous decade shows that VMT numbers dropped only 2% between 2007-2016.  What specific transit, biking, and walking policies and investments should the city make, if any, to achieve Transportation Action Plan mode split goals? What new or accelerated interventions, if any, do you see as appropriate for reaching VMT goals by 2050?

Kurt M. Anderson:

Seek legislative approval, if necessary, and then enact a tax on motor vehicle fuel
sold within the city. Include a small rebate or lifeline allowance to mitigate the
regressive effects of such a tax,

Dillon Gherna:

Continuing to make investments in expanding accessibility and safety for alternative methods of transportation may increase the usage. In addition, I would like to see us encourage the expansion of hybrid vehicle charging stations throughout the city, invest in incentives that allow parking spaces in private business lots to be converted to charging spaces for electric vehicles and continue to develop innovative, climate friendly transportation options for all types of commuters.

Albert T. Ross:

  1. Take a community-based approach to fight environmental injustices.
  2. Build a diverse coalition and partnerships to do the work hand to hand with residents, communities, and advocates.
  3. Carry out a thoughtful and inclusive planning process that prioritizes climate resiliency and leverages development to deliver on things like greener buildings and more open space and pedestrian and bike friendly infrastructure.
  4. Provide funding to get electric charging stations all over the city.

Jeremy Schroeder:

Other cities around the country have realized increased use of transit, biking and walking
by restructuring their transportation infrastructure to recognize and prioritize other forms
of transportation and then design a system as comprehensively as the current system
used for cars. Our current system is antiquated and does not prioritize transit,
non-motorized vehicles or pedestrians. For example, as a bike commuter there needs to
be an update of the Bicycle Master Plan that comprehensively builds out a network for
how biking can be a major transportation option. The city needs to move beyond just
providing bike lanes but do the work to create an easy to use network for all ability
levels

Question 4

Bottineau/Blue Line Extension: This LRT project was deemed unworkable on its currently planned route on BNSF right-of-way. However, there is still substantial interest in a Bottineau project because transportation connects people to social activity, economic opportunity, educational institutions, healthy food, and critical health services. North Minneapolis has been historically underserved by transit compared to other parts of the city; however, there are also community concerns from North Minneapolis residents of displacement and gentrification surrounding the Blue Line extension project and transit-oriented development. 

What policies or programs, if any, should the city implement to ensure the success of major transit investments for both current and future communities along the line?

Kurt M. Anderson:

Condition municipal consent for the I-94 reconstruction on groundbreaking and
substantial progress on the Bottineau line. Include room for a possible future
express track for a commuter line going to the northwest suburbs and beyond.
Follow the Green Line model to assure many local stations on the line.
Implement tenant option to purchase and other incentives for the current north
side tenants to become homeowners.

Dillon Gherna:

When we are developing transit, we need to ensure we are protecting the neighborhoods and
residents in those areas. Ensuring that individuals residing in those specific areas are able to
benefit from such investment or expansion of light rail, rapid transit lines, bus lines, etc. The
focus should be on trying to not displace individuals and providing those impacted with
economic benefits as others benefit such as developers, businesses, etc.

Albert T. Ross:

I will go back to some of my previous answers on this one,

  1. Prioritize small businesses, outdoor dining, and community spaces over parking spaces.
  2. Expand the new 2040 plan to ensure that Black, Brown, People of Color are in the center of every decision being made in their community.
  3. Go out in the communities to get Black, Brown, People of Color to be at the table so their voices can be heard.

Jeremy Schroeder:

What policies or programs, if any, should the city implement to ensure the success of
major transit investments for both current and future communities along the line?
Major transit developments should connect neighborhoods together, but also create
opportunities to build wealth. I am a huge supporter of transit orientated development,
which should also include community benefits such as community gardens. Besides
using my role on the City Planning Commission where I have consistently supported
these types of developments, I think there could be more use of Community Benefits
Agreements between neighborhoods and developments to be clear on what the
community wants to look like after the development is finished including necessities like
transit and green infrastructure.

Question 5

Hennepin Avenue: The City of Minneapolis is currently considering several design options for the stretch of Hennepin Avenue that runs between Lake Street and Franklin Avenue. The currently proposed design options for Hennepin Avenue include bus lanes, two-way traffic, and loading and parking zones; one option includes bike infrastructure, and the other design includes street greening.

On streets like Hennepin Avenue—which are key commercial corridors, have dense housing nearby, and have limited space to work with—what approach, if any, should the city take in balancing current and long-term needs for our transportation networks?

Kurt M. Anderson:

Give priority to mass transit and to traffic that supports businesses, e.g., delivery
vehicles. Try to divert single occupancy vehicle use to existing one-way arterial
routes such as 28th/26th streets and Blaisdell/First Avenues.

Dillon Gherna:

As is asked in the question, as we look at development, we need to be mindful of what
population growth, economic development, and other development could occur along specific
corridors. Keeping in mind safety of all commuters is key to ensuring we grow our transportation infrastructure in a manner that is equitable, balanced, safe and accessible. Specific development or proposals, I would have to view to see the pros/cons to each before making a specific assessment on what would be the best forward option, taking into consideration community impact and listening sessions.

Albert T. Ross:

  1. Increase e-bike usage and support electric cars by placing and constructing more charging stations.
  2. Invest in safe sidewalks and bike lanes while implementing vision zero concepts that will help keep every commuter safe.

Jeremy Schroeder:

On streets like Hennepin Avenue—which are key commercial corridors, have dense
housing nearby, and have limited space to work with—what approach, if any, should the
city take in balancing current and long-term needs for our transportation networks?
First, the City needs to follow its Transportation Action Plan which would be to implement
the option with bike infrastructure and street greening. Second, long term infrastructure
projects should do all they can to be sustainable in light of the climate emergency. We
need to use the best technology now to minimize new infrastructure’s impact on the
environment.

Question 6

Bus Priority: Transit operations cross multiple jurisdictions of government. Metro Transit manages bus operations and service schedules. The city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County have authority over most of the streets Metro Transit Buses run through; and, the city also has control of the stoplights within city limits. 

What improvements, if any, should the city be pursuing to improve speed and reliability for Minneapolis transit riders? How do you see the city, Metro Transit, and Hennepin County collaborating to improve bus service? 

Kurt M. Anderson:

Allow some (but not unlimited) ability of buses to override and change traffic
signals. Continue to move bus stops to the far side of controlled intersections,
past the signals.

Dillon Gherna:

Collaboration is key to ensuring we provide reliable, safe, and accessible transportation options through our bus system and light rail systems. Working together to tackle challenges with either option is key to how we continue to grow our transportation offerings for years to come. Our objective first should be evaluating the level of service we deliver, are we reliable, are residents and business owners able to get to their destinations on time and safely, do we need to increase rapid transit bus lines and if so, where does that make the most sense and what impact does that have on the communities it serves. These are some of the questions at the forefront that I have as we work to identify expansion and collaboration.

Albert T. Ross:

  1. Eliminate fares and make buses free.
  2. Make all speed limits in the city 20 – 25 miles per hour.
  3. Expand more dedicated bus-only lanes.

Jeremy Schroeder:

In a climate emergency, our street policy needs to reflect what is best for the community
and for the environment. As we have seen with the D line project which goes through
Ward 11, there can be a substantial improvement by adding prioritization of buses to
stop lights. I do think there needs to be an overhaul of the transit system to better
integrate with other modes, such as BRT and biking.

Question 7

Parking Policy: The City of Minneapolis recently eliminated parking minimums; however, the city approved both a multi-thousand Allina parking ramp and proposed a parking plan for the Roof Depot site with spots for nearly every employee or visitor to travel by car, which is not in alignment with the city’s mode shift goals as cited in the TAP.

What role do you think the city should play, if any, in reducing parking to meet mode shift goals?

Kurt M. Anderson:

Rather than reducing parking (which will only increase demand for street
parking), charge fees and/or taxes related to those ramps to fund mitigation,
transit alternatives, and incentives to use transportation other than personal motor
vehicles.

Dillon Gherna:

As mentioned in previous responses, I support a balanced approach to transportation modes and options. This includes transportation by vehicle, which I believe we will always have a need for in this city. The reality of the situation is that not everyone lives close enough to utilize options for public transit, or feels safe enough, or feels like the options are accessible enough such as many members of our disability community and aging population. As we work to identify ecofriendly solutions in vehicle transportation and bus upgrades through investments in hybrid/electric modes of transportation, I also would support looking into other unique types of transportation that are eco-friendly such as electric scooters, electric bikes, electric mobile vehicles (these types of vehicles such as UTVs and other unique modes that we currently do not see on roads or trails).

Albert T. Ross:

On this question, I feel that it’s a great idea to ensure that we have enough parking in this city for all who wants to park a vehicle. I feel it’s another terrible decision to rid our city of parking and if I am elected I will definitely weigh out other options, but I don’t feel that banning the city of its parking spaces are a good fit for our fast and consistently growing city of all its parking spaces.

Jeremy Schroeder:

City has moved to Travel Demand Management and the city has played an active role in
reducing parking minimums. There is still a market demand for parking and the City’s
role should be to prioritize mobility for all with the least environmental impact.

Question 8

Traffic Enforcement: A recent article in the Star Tribune found that 78% of police searches that started as stops for moving or equipment violations from June 2019 through May 2020 were of Black or East African drivers. Also, in 2016, Our Streets Minneapolis published a report that suggests black bicyclists face greater threats of police violence than white bicyclists, especially for small infractions like failure to use a light or riding on the sidewalk.

What role should the city play, if any, in changing or maintaining how minor traffic violations are enforced? or maintaining how minor traffic violations are enforced?

Kurt M. Anderson:

Increase use of photographic detection and summonses in lieu of stops for minor
violations. Review prosecution policies for minor violations not involving danger
to persons or property. Work with community organizations and businesses to
reduce the instances of vehicle equipment violations such as missing lights

Dillon Gherna:

As we work to reform our public safety system as a whole in the city we should evaluate based on factual data and prioritize focus on the life safety components of traffic enforcements (speeding, not stopping at red lights/stop signs, riding on sidewalks with vehicles etc.) those issues that can cause damage to a person. Minor traffic violations should be reformed to a more administrative citation that would focus on helping the individual with connecting them to resources to be able to take care of the infraction such as the “lights on” program that some law enforcement agencies provide those with burnt out headlights a voucher for replacement instead of a ticket. I would like to see the role evolve to a more helpful role.

Albert T. Ross:

  1. Create an Inspector General for Minneapolis to ensure our government is absent of any corruption.
  2. Engage civic leaders neighborhood associations and non-profit organizations regularly and actively as part of the governing process.
  3. Ensure all historically marginalized groups have designated liaisons within the city council or mayors office.
  4. Require yearly anti-racism training for all city departments, commissions, and boards.
  5. Require racial equity and anti-racism training for our entire city government.

But still prosecute traffic stops that develop into felonies no matter what your race or color is.

Jeremy Schroeder:

City needs to do everything it can to end the racial disparities in traffic stops. I am the
author of the Transforming Public Safety Charter Amendment which would create a
more holistic approach to public safety. My goal with this change is to clearly define the
role of our armed police officers to focus them on where their training is a benefit as well
as employ others to do things like traffic stops. Enforcement of our traffic laws is an
important part of traffic safety, but we as a City can do this in a way that is fair and
equitable to all of our residents.

Question 9

Snow Removal: Sidewalks that are inadequately shoveled create both risks and barriers for pedestrians and transit riders. We also know that the risks and barriers aren’t experienced equally– with Minneapolis senior citizens and community members with disabilities being the most impacted by neglected sidewalks in the wintertime. 

What changes, if any, would you advocate for in how our city addresses snow and ice removal from sidewalks during winter?

Kurt M. Anderson:

Subject to big-picture budget considerations, provide city-funded sidewalk snow
removal services for homes along transit routes. Continue to enforce snow
removal requirements for other property owners.

Dillon Gherna:

As an individual living with a disability, this issue is personal to me. Those in our aging community and disability community disproportionately are impacted by these challenges. I support our 311 approach to handle those situations that are not being managed, quickly and with the focus of A) identifying why it was not maintained B) taking care of getting it maintained quickly C) identifying steps to ensure it stays maintained into the future. This could look like a number of different things, from creating an innovative youth focused seasonal employment and training program to help build skills for youth while also creating a more accessible city or looking at how the city involvement could/would look if city services maintained more property.

Albert T. Ross:

I am happy with the current law that’s in place for snow removal. The only thing that I would change is – if a person is a senior citizen or living with disabilities we should come up with a program where the city pays to have their snow removed without charging them a fee for the removal, if I am elected to represent ward 11, I will push for such a program.

Jeremy Schroeder:
The changing climate is a challenge in that our previous strategies for street clearance
are not as effective with the “freeze/thaw/freeze” that we have seen in recent years due
to global warming. We need to prioritize how people move through the city and prioritize
clearing major transit ways, bikeways, walking paths and roads.


Additionally, to handle this increase in work, the City needs to increase its fleet of
vehicles designed to clear bikeways and pathways

Question 10

Bike, Walk, Roll: What actions, if any, will you take to make Minneapolis better for biking, walking, and rolling by the end of your term, if you are elected?

Kurt M. Anderson:

Continue to mark buffers and erect barriers along selected bike routes. Increase
efforts at residential sidewalk maintenance.

Dillon Gherna:

As mentioned, many times above, I support a balanced approach. I commit to maintaining the
safety and accessibility of our current programs and investments in expanding accessible options for our city as a whole. Additionally, I want to explore innovative development and
infrastructure changes that have worked in other similar metropolitan cities.

Albert T. Ross:

I will go over some of my previous answers on this one because I feel that its all rapped within the same answer.

  1. Eliminate fares and make buses free
  2. Expand access to electric vehicle charging.
  3. Add to our over 10,000 miles of paved bike and walk trails to make our city top in the nation for biking, walking, and electric bike/car use

Jeremy Schroeder:

Besides making sure every future project contributes to a healthy future, I would like to
have our transportation plan integrated with our climate goals.

Thank you to the candidates for their responses to the questionnaire.

Early voting is already underway in Minnesota. For more information on how to check your voter registration, absentee voting, and early voting please visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.