Transportation, Opportunity, and Well-Being
Transportation has always had an enormous influence on the growth and development of cities.
In Manhattan, the subway system connected wealthier white folks from Downtown to Uptown. When President Eisenhower signed the Federal Highway Act of 1956 combined with the revolution of the personal automobile, many white families looked beyond the smokestacks and tall buildings of the city and moved to suburbs. Fueled by federal subsidies for highway construction and suburban housing, the automobile and roads facilitated white flight from the central cities.
The white families that left have accumulated vast wealth over generations from these government policies - while communities of color remained in neighborhoods like North Minneapolis as municipalities tore out their old streetcar tracks and paved them smooth with asphalt.
Any city that you go to, highways are dividing lines between people groups. In Minneapolis, Interstate 94 is a consistent dividing line between poorer communities of color and wealthier predominately white communities. But it is not just roads: creeks, parks, and transit corridors are also often used as dividing lines.
What does that mean for North Minneapolis?
In North Minneapolis, there are four main places that transportation cordons off the area: I-94 to the east, Bassett Creek to the south, Victory Memorial Parkway to the west, and Humboldt Industrial rail yard to the North. These physical dividing lines, most of them a type of transportation, are barriers to opportunity. If your house is immediately outside of these low walls, then your house is probably worth significantly more than a similar house that’s less than 100 yards immediately inside of it. If you go to school inside of these barriers, then you’re probably less likely to graduate high school. Your life-long earning capacity is probably lower. Your life expectancy is probably lower too.
The challenge now is to build a transportation network that remedies not exacerbates historic inequities.
As a councilperson, my commitment is to look at transportation not just as means of getting places, but as a vein of life and affordability for North Minneapolis residents, that can help ensure a flourishing community.
- Expanding bus rapid transit throughout North Minneapolis
- Working with Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council to ensure that Northsiders have access to high value projects like the METRO Green Line and Blue Line extensions
- Working with Metro Transit and other transit services to provide access to jobs and recreational amenities to Northsiders to fit the needs of a growing and vibrant community
- Ensuring the high value projects like the METRO Green Line and Blue Line extensions benefit existing Northsiders and not catalyze gentrification
- Expanding bicycle facilities to ensure safe passage for people that use bikes to commute, while being mindful of how these are designed to ensure that low wealth communities and communities of color interests and needs are met.
- Ensuring North Minneapolis streets are compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act and improve accessibility beyond the minimum guidelines set out by law.
- Opposing transportation projects that are not mindful of their contributions to air quality and other environmental justice concerns