Decision on Metro Transit rate hike expected Aug. 13
Riders will soon know whether Metro Transit bus fares will jump a quarter this year and upwards of 50 cents next year.
The Metropolitan Council, which oversees Metro Transit, says the fare increase is necessary due to the previous spike in gas prices and lower revenue from Motor Vehicle Sales Taxes. The Met Council plans to use the increase as a way to compensate for a reported $15 million budget shortfall in 2009.
Mayor R.T. Rybak still doesn’t see the higher fares as fair.
“More people than ever want to ride transit and Metro Transit should do everything possible to encourage people to use transit, not discourage them,” Rybak said. “Fare increases discourage transit rider ship, pure and simple, and Metro Transit should delay this increase and explore other options to balance their budget.”
Met Council Chair Peter Bell said in a statement that an initial fare increase, which would generate about $7 million a year, “won’t solve all of transit’s budgetary challenges.”
Therefore, another round of Metro Transit fare hikes — that could add up to another 50 cents per ride — is being proposed for 2009.
The current proposal would raise all regular-route service 25 cents, and place a 50-cent increase on riders with disabilities who use Metro Mobility. Also, morning rush-hour fares would begin at 5:30 a.m. instead of the current 6 a.m.
A Met Council decision was expected by Aug. 13. If adopted, initial fare increases would begin Oct. 1.
Minneapolis awarded for winning airport fight
In the wake of winning a decade-long fight over airport noise, Minneapolis was recently named the “Community of the Year” at the 38th Annual Conference and Aviation Noise Symposium sponsored by the National Organization to Insure a Sound-controlled Environment (NOISE).
Minneapolis was “honored for its leadership and vigor in combating the negative effects of aviation noise on residents and its successful settlement with the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC),” a release said.
The lawsuit, settled in January 2008, was led by Minneapolis and means more than 9,560 homes in Minneapolis could receive part of the $130 million in relief that includes air conditioning and some form of sound insulation.
Work on Southwest homes is scheduled to be complete by December 2012, said the project’s coordinator John Nelson.
The 60–64 Day-Night Level (DNL) of noise areas includes hundreds of single and multifamily homes and apartments in Southwest — stretching as far west as Lake Harriet, and as far north as 44th Street. In Southwest, where the majority of eligible neighborhoods (Windom, Tangletown, Kingfield and East Harriet) fall under the 60–62 DNL, work is tentatively scheduled to begin in February 2009 or January 2010.
In addition to the “Community of the Year” award, Minneapolis Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy (12th Ward) — who also serves as NOISE president — was honored with the “2008 Environmental Steward” award.
You walk? City wants to talk
Minneapolis city officials and staff love the idea of reducing the carbon imprint of Minneapolitans. The best way to do this, arguably, is to make transportation as eco-friendly as possible. And the most eco-friendly form of transportation is walking.
So it’s no stretch that the city is forming its first-ever Pedestrian Master Plan.
And it’s asking you to help support the plan’s impetus in three ways:
• Take pictures and send them in. Photos, the city says, are a great way to help workers “understand the range of pedestrian needs and opportunities in Minneapolis.” E-mail photos of what you like and don’t like about walking in Minneapolis to email@example.com.
• Fill out the Pedestrian Issues Survey. The survey, first conducted at the March 2008 public meeting, is still available online through the end of August. It can be found by Googling “Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan survey.”
• Attend the September 2008 public meeting. The next public meeting for the Pedestrian Master Plan will be in September. However, further details will be released in coming weeks.”
Tangletown: Expect a dip in water pressure
While water issues are almost always prevalent in the City of Lakes, 2008 has been a particularly trying year for Southwest residents.
First it was a milky white substance in Calhoun, next it was stinky water and now Tangletown residents can expect weak water pressure throughout August.
Residents living in an area bounded by 48th Street to the north, Minnehaha Parkway to the south, Lyndale to the west and Stevens Avenue to the east, can expect lower water pressure while the city does water main work below Lyndale Avenue, according to the city.
Some homes and businesses will require temporary piping during the project. Those residents have already been notified, and arrangements have been made to ensure they don’t see an interruption in their water service.
The city says water main cleaning and relining is “an important part of Minneapolis’ work to provide high quality drinking water to its residents.” City crews will clean out mineral buildup and install a new cement lining. The work, the city said, is expected to add 50 years of life to the water mains and keep the water clear.