Next steps for Minnesota AFL-CIO: Transportation, paid sick leave

(Workday Minnesota photo) Candace Dow of MoveMN talks with Richard Kentzelman, retired member of Bricklayers Local 1, about Minnesota's transportation needs at the MoveMN booth at the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention.

Through speeches and resolutions, the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention laid out an ambitious public policy agenda that includes comprehensive improvements to the transportation system and paid sick leave for all workers.

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Transportation politics and the rhetoric of choice

We often hear from transit advocates that expanding public transportation is good because it increases the choices available to people. Framing the issue this way reveals something about the deeper commitments of the supporters, namely that it is a good in itself simply to expand available avenues for people to assert their will. The ability to choose, regardless of the kinds of choices people make, is good. It is then often suggested that what the city or state or governing authority needs to do is incentivize certain choices above others; or it is hoped that people acting in their own rational self-interest will choose well. To increase available options is believed to be an equitable move insofar as it levels the field for choosing agents, enabling people who were previously limited with respect to transportation to increase their power.

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Unsafe and unseen—Minnesota's ghost bikers

(Photo by centralniak published under Creative Commons License)

The Twin Cities are regarded as America’s litmus for bicycling. Minneapolis has been rated the number one bicycling city, while Bicycling Times lauded “the nation’s finest network of off street bicycle trails”. Former Mayor Rybak told visitors: “Biking has become a large part of what we are.”

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Freeway roofs and wine

Following up on a couple recent posts, with the definition of “recent” being arguable in one case:

In a recent post on the two charter amendments on the ballot in Minneapolis, I spent most of the post on the increase in election filing fees because I understood that issue, but had to leave readers with just the text of the food requirements for wine licenses because it was Greek to me. Or French or Californian, I don’t know what kind of wine it was. Minnpost has an article explaining it. Essentially, the city council and the charter commission felt that the rules for restaurants that serve wine or beer don’t make any sense given changes in the restaurant industry, especially as regards craft beers. The council passed a replacement ordinance unanimously, and removed an archaic ordinance, but some rules are in the city charter and thus the need for a charter amendment. It probably seems ironic if you’re a conservative that this liberal city coucil is acting to simplify and modernize regulations to encourage business development. I’m going to vote “yes” just to watch some conservative heads explode. Feel free to drown your sorrows in a craft beer at a Minneapolis neighborhood restaurant.

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Bus stop amenities shorten wait

(Photo by Zachary Bielinski) Students and staff board a bus in front of Coffman Union Friday evening. A University researcher conducted a study on how different amenities at bus stops like hooded shelters, benches and schedules change how people perceive wait times.

Crowds of commuters flocked to the Coffman Union bus stop, patiently waiting for their ride to arrive, headphones distracting many of them from the buzz of the world.

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Cars feel like the future

For you, what’s the most obvious sign that time is passing and has passed? Like when you look around at the average scene in your everyday environment, and you’re able to determine that it’s not the same as five years ago, or a decade ago, or twenty years ago? With one notable exception, I’d have to say that for me, it’s gotta be cars. Cars!

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Transpo convo: George at the bus stop

“I love MTC!”George stands at a bus stop on University Avenue on a blustery, 50 degree day, finishing his cigarette. He had been shopping at Wal-Mart.

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Bike count informs Minneapolis city planning

City of Minneapolis volunteer Dave Paulson tallies bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the West Bank on Sept. 9, 2014. Counting occurs annually to monitor safety, traffic and infrastructure. Photo by Elizabeth Brumley.

Standing on the corner of Cedar and Riverside avenues Tuesday afternoon, Jacob Knight stared intently at each passing bicyclist and pedestrian.

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Group files Suit over Southwest LRT

A group of Minneapolis environmental activists, concerned residents, and lawyers gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center to unveil a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and the Federal Transit Administration.

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2014 St. Paul street repairs — An opportunity for complete streets

In response to widespread public outrage about rutted, ice-clad streets, and jolting potholes throughout the City of Saint Paul in the winter and spring of 2014, Mayor Chris Coleman has proposed a plan to resurface eleven of the “Terrible Twenty” worst arterial streets before the end of the fall construction season.

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