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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Tuesday March 5th 2024

The Rand Report: Who is really listening?

By Rand Retterath

Rand Retterrath

I know, let”'s put in a bike lane!  AFTER we approve the construction of five new parking ramps to join the existing five — and all within a mile of each other!

Makes sense to me!

Oh, wait, we already did that!  Silly me! And still we have cars parking all over residential streets!


1) Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Blue/26th St. Ramp:  477 vehicle spaces

2) Abbott Northwestern Piper Building, 60 vehicle spaces

3) Childrens”' MN Hospital and Clinics, 26th St. Ramp: 700 vehicle spaces

4) Midtown Doctors Building: 19 vehicle spaces

5) Midtown Exchange: 1,000 vehicle spaces + 400 Surface Lot spaces

6) Wells Fargo: 2,239 vehicle spaces

7) Wells Fargo new ramp: 696 vehicle spaces

At time of press, specific number of vehicle spaces was unknown at these following ramps:

8) Abbott Northwestern Hospital Main Ramp, 2800 Medical Building: 1 Ramp

9) Phillips Eye Institute: 1 Ramp

10) Sheraton Hotel: 1 surface lot

11) Wells Fargo: 5th St. Ramp

According to MnDOT, approximately 14,000 vehicles traverse 28th/Chicago as well as the 26th/Chicago intersections daily, often EMS vehicles.

The city master bike plans were adopted in 2011, with a revisit in 2014.

The initial planning phase for Global Market/Village and Allina included promises of a traffic flow analysis because of the anticipated influx of vehicles coming into Midtown from the freeway to work at Allina. It was again promised with the redevelopment of Honeywell to Wells Fargo, its former step building and the new construction. Both have yet to be performed.

Andersen United Elementary School is still looking for 100 stalls after being evicted from Abbott Northwestern ramp as the hospital had reached capacity with the addition of the Minneapolis Heart Institute and the expansion on 10th. Look for the teaching staff on residential streets. Then the Islamic Community Center went in on 13th. Good neighbors, but everyone has a car. Of cours,e no one likes to pay for ramps when you can park on streets for free.

Finally, all those poor desperate visitors to loved ones in the hospital — they have never been in the city before and think 10th is a one way, the way they are going. And those others who choose the wrong ramp and have to back up. When contacted, one city urban planner responded, “We can”'t legislate for stupid people,” and that was just to get some traffic directional signage.

One last point, Andersen United Elementary School and the A/N Hospital have same time shift change/start. Tenth Ave. becomes a major obstruction; so, daily, 40-60 parents use adjoining alleys to circumnavigate the traffic jams. That tally was from a recent school safety officer who was shocked at this quantification.

Likewise, the bike Master Plan has not been updated to correct for actions taken on these commercial development projects.

All appropriate leaders within these companies were polled on thoughts regarding bike lanes and their feedback universally ignored.

AND there is talk of and plans for another bike lane on 10th!

Now, how about maintenance of those stellar bike lanes and the bollards, 1/2 block from the Midtown Greenway wherein half of the trench is unused, because we are saving it for the magical “Mr. Rogers Trolley.”  I have more than one bollard in my garage that I have found lying in the gutter!

And it only took me nine months to get the safe kids lane cleaned up after construction was completed! How about all those meaningless road construction signs, sandbags and barriers littering our streets?

Keep in mind, as a community we support new business in our communities, to that end we acknowledge the importance of flow of and access to goods and services predicated on easy accessible transportation. We see that 28th and 26th are major commuter routes. We acknowledge the future and importance of bike lanes. What seems to be missing in all of this is that age old Minneapolis value of “Community Engagement! How best to serve the most people in a democratic process that involves negotiation and compromise.

In that regard, the lesson here beyond urban planning, future modeling and population/business forecasting is how “do we talk to each other?”Â In what ways is the current Minneapolis model of conducting business more similar to that of Washington D.C. than we care to admit.  Who is really listening and to what?

Rand has been a Phillips resident since 1992. Hobbies include reading, dogs, home, running, and playing the bagpipes. He is currently the marketing director for a non-profit with a background in market research. He participated in consituent research and business development on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and Mille Lacs Reservation.Under Mayor Sa yles-Belton, he served on the substance abuse task force combating the use of native and chronic inebriate as synonyms. Rand has focused on attempts to revise policies regarding the treatment of vulnerable adults at 1800 Chicago, and raising awareness of toxicity and homeless on the Greenway. Rand has partnered to identify needs on Lake Street related to Sabri Properties, sex and drug trade to expand the conversation to include the multiple trans and gay sex workers as well as female and lesbian pimps.

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