light rail is a bad idea....more hiways
About IdeasWe are always looking for new ideas about how we can improve. Post your idea, share it with your online community to help it garner votes and attention. You can also vote, follow and comment on ideas that you support - you’ll receive updates on them too!
The above ground utilities in Minneapolis, St Paul and inner suburbs are not only highly unsightly in many areas, but also a safety and maintenance issue. Each year countless citizens go without power for long stretches after storms rip down trees and the lines with them. It is time to start developing/implementing a plan to bury utilities as project opportunities become available - like alley, street, path or sidewalk reconstruction. Incorporating a systematic plan and funding to alleviate this mess could make the Twin Cities area more livable - better looking, safer, less maintenance, less inconvenience due to outages.
The Met Council should also look at utilizing volunteer efforts as a part of their projects to save costs - such as brush removal/grubbing, debris/litter pickup, plantings/watering, carpentry and general labor.
We could use a good phone/web app for easily finding the best public transport routes. This could be modeled on the 511 app available in the San Francisco area.
The Twin Cities are a great destination for foreign tourists. It sometimes is hard to think it's anything special when you are in the Cities, but we take it all for granted. There is so much to see and enjoy in the Cities that seem almost impossible to find in most large cities in the U.S., and we need to make sure that as we continue developing our infrastructure we don't forget that trains and easy-to-read maps make everything all the more attractive and accessible to foreigners.
I hope that we can realize that we have a treasure of a city and don't only focus on the nearby community as we grow larger but keep in mind the others that will (and have started to) come in growing numbers will be heading home talking about their experiences there. Will they find the people friendly and it easy to get around without a car?
Part of the same idea, then, is just to make sure we are not just focusing on attracting tourism from the regional upper-midwest. Would it pay to have some brochures available in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Tokyo? Absolutely. The Twin Cities, with the trains and infrastructure development over the last decade, are truly becoming world-class cities, regardless of what the average person from say, Apple Valley, or Robbinsdale, might think.
As I see the Twin Cities is about to go through an LRT 'boom' so to speak, and having recently lived through Beijing's similar boom (on a bigger scale of course), I realize how important it is that we have a very easy-to-read and use map of our train system for foreigners to visit. I'm sure we can find a way to combine our community-focus exceptionalism with a more 'outsider-friendly' set of information. This would also be great for encouraging people not from the cities in Minnesota to feel more comfortable using the trains and buses as well.
I do think the mapping system is sufficient for now, but I live (part-time) in the cities and I am very familiar with it. As we look ahead at the new trains and mapping, lets keep it as simple and friendly as possible.
Hiawatha line stations have very limited park and ride facilities. Not everyone can walk or take the bus to the station. The Lake Street station has a large, free parking lot that fills up by 8:30 AM. After that, people park on the streets or in the school lot where transit parking is prohibited. There should be a free lot, but if it's full there could be an option to pay a dollar or two to park in an adjacent pay lot. The school has an unused playground and excess parking space that could be used for transit parking. If they charged a small fee they could perhaps make some money on the wasted space.
I should not have to be disturbed in my home several times a day (or night) by my neighbors' barking dogs. The current ordinance permits frequent barking, and is all but unenforceable. Nothing has made me want to move out of my Minneapolis neighborhood more than this. Most dog owners are considerate and law-abiding, but there are many who are not, and they are allowing their pets' harsh and unpleasant noise pollution to enter into their neighbors' houses and yards.
Solar power should be a requirement for every building and it should be manufactured right here in Minnesota.
- We could completely or nearly completely move to a green power source and close down all the cancer causing coal plants in the state and surrounding states.
- We could sell extra energy to the state who would in turn sell it to other states and generate revenue for Minnesota.
- We would empower individuals to create their own power thereby giving them more money in the long run. Buying power from dirty sources is like getting slapped on both sides of your face. You're paying for something that you could collect yourself if you had the panels and you're having to breath in dirty air.
- We require people put sewers if they own a house/building. The same rule would hold for solar panels and producing clean energy for your structure.
Let's move forward as a society!
This is a relatively simple idea in comparison to some of the more high-flown propositions. It comes about simply becasue I live in the city proper and would like to grow some of my own food, specifically vegetables and chickens for eggs. In researching city ordinances, I found them to be very restrictive.
Currently, in order to have laying hens one has to get permission from 80% of their neighbors within 100 feet. This can be around 20 houses. I would like to see this changed. I believe ANY household should have the right to keep four-six hens per property without any special permit. If a person wishes to keep more than six hens, the above permit would then apply.
Housing them is the other issue. If I am reading things correctly, privacy fencing all around would be necessary in most instances. I believe this should be relaxed. That if the hens are kept further than 20 feet from the nearest house, this should be sufficient. The requirements to keep the housing in good repair should be adhered to stringently, as this will keep our city looking nice.
The overall idea would be to make it easy for any household to provide itself with a source of sustainable protein. Chicken can also eat kitchen scraps and keep that fro being "waste".
Composting. I could not find specific information on this for individual houses, only for community gardens. Ordinances should be clarified to specify composting is allowed per property.
Vegetable gardens. Currently the ordinance read that properties must have an "erosion-proof" surface. While I do not dispute the sense of this, we do not need our neighborhoods going down the drain, it does present problems in gardening. If I wish to turn my front yard -- currently an un-utilized area -- into a vegetable garden, one could argue that the garden plots are not "erosion-proof" as they have exposed dirt. I would very much like to see a backyard, or front yard garden "movement". Using these spaces would enable persons who so desired to supplement their diet.
I understand we currently have community gardens but it is simply not the same thins. One's yard is space already owned by them and could be utilized for food production.
We need once again to locally grow most of the food we consume. Localized food production has the power to bind communities together, improve public health, strengthen local eco-systems, reduce climate change, and grow culture.
Food security is an issue that can't be ignored by those in our communities who have nothing to eat, and should no longer be ignored by those who have till now chosen conveinence over community health. We need to change food handling rules, set asside land for agricultural purposes within urban coridors, compost all of our vegetative waste, and create purchasing guidlines within large institutions in order to accomodate local food production. Most of all we need to support small scale local farmers by purchasing the food they produce so that we may together re-grow the most important aspect of our local food economy.