Whether you're a driver or a cyclist, the section of West River Parkway lying below the old St. Mary's Hospital is arguably the worst parkway segment in the city.
Southbound drivers have been known to shift into the oncoming lane to avoid the plethora of potholes. The surface has been patched so many times that the jolting can leave a cyclist feeling scatter-brained.
But help is on the way. Starting April 29, the parkway will close for five weeks between S. 4th Street and Franklin Avenue for renovation.
Crews will mill the badly deteriorated parkway a full seven inches deep, and then replace the road surface. Preliminary wore to replace some curbing and concrete crosswalks and adjust manhole heights is already causing some lane closures for parkway users.
'They'll love it when it's done," said Mike Kennedy, the city's street maintenance supervisor.
The work is part of a long-term program of parkway paving done for the Park Board by the city's Department of Public Works. The budget is $500,000 annually, and it's intended to provide a 20-year fix.. In some cases, maintenance workers need mill down only the top two inches of asphalt. But in this case, they're going down a full seven inches, which may take them into virgin soil.
That's based on what Kennedy said that crews have found in other parkway locations. The parkways, built in the 1970s, were supposed to have seven inches of paving over a gravel base. But often that's not what crews are finding, according to Kennedy. Good road building practice lays paving atop a thick base of gravel so that roadway subsurfaces can drain. That keeps the freeze-thaw cycle from heaving pavement. It's particulrly surprising that that such a base is absent given that some sections of parkways run on unstable peaty soils near lakes or swamps.
Curious, we contacted Jeff Spartz, a park commissioner for part of the '70s, and an advocate for preventive maintenance. "That is a surprise to me," Spartz said, when informed of Kennedy's findings. "That explains why that thing is so bad."
Spartz recently drove the section slated for repairs. "It was a frightmare," he said. "No one was going over the speed limit, I can assure you of that." He noted that the payoff from preventive maintenance is often 20-30 years down the road, too long a horizon to be a priority for many politicians.
In case you're among those who wondered why the sections north and south of the one scheduled for this year's work were done last year while this far worse section was left untouched, there's a logic explained by Park Commissioner Scott Vreeland. Metro storm tunnel work where S. 4th meets the parkway meant heavy equipment was using the adjacent parkway into the fall, so it didn't make sense to risk that new paving would get damaged, he said.
Still shrinkwrapped from their overland journey from Sacramento, Calif., two train cars bound for the Metro Transit light rail chilled in the morning air along Hiawatha Avenue South on Tuesday. The cars – manufactured by Siemens -- will eventually go into service on the Blue Line running from the Mall of America to Target Field, according to a Metro Transit spokesman.
The $3.3 million cars are just two of 59 on order for Metro Transit, which will put them into service on the existing Blue Line and on the still-under-construction Green Line running from Minneapolis to St. Paul. The cars pictured here are Nos. 9 and 10 in the 59-car order. New cars will continue to arrive a few at a time until April of next year.
The Siemens cars will run alongside the 27 existing Bombardier cars used since the light rail opened.
As for the words printed on the shrinkwrap, we’ll let the world’s smartest human explain.
Last year, the city spent months reaming out the water supply lines throughout a portion of Northeast Minneapolis in order to improve water pressure in the neighborhood. The city dug holes at or near virtually each intersection in the affected area, provided temporarly water lines to each house and inserted liners into the lines.
After what seemed like an eternity to this resident, the project was finished and the holes were filled. My water pressure, and that of my neighbors, experienced no noticeable improvement.
Less than a year later, a sink hole has developed at one of the filled in access spots on Lincoln St. NE. A crew arrived today with a backhoe.
Do you have a a story to tell about the project? Is your intersection sinking?
Lucy Gerold, a commander with the Minneapolis Police Department, will leave to become interim executive director of the Minneapolis-St. Paul campuses of the Jeremiah program, an anti-poverty organization, beginning April 1.
Gerold, a city employee for 34 years, commands the department's Leadership and Organizational Development division, newly created by Police Chief Janee Harteau. Previously, she was a deputy chief and precinct commander.
The Jeremiah Program focuses on single women and their children. It describes itself on its website as a "nationally recognized nonprofit organization using a proven, holistic approach to transform families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time." It says that at any given time, it currently serves 300 women and children at two sites in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
In a news release, Gerold is quoted as saying, "I have held almost every leadership position in the Minneapolis Police Department and I felt it was time to take my leadership skills to a different community organization. I believe in the Jeremiah model. I know from my work in law enforcement that real change takes place when you transform lives from the inside out, and that's what Jeremiah does."
Several hundred South High School students walked out of the Corcoran neighborhood school this morning after students enrolled in the All Nations program for Indian students aired grievances.
The walkout occurred after at least 90 minutes of drumming, dancing and discussion that involved hundreds of students, first in the school’s spacious commons area and later in the 700-person auditorium, which was filled. The 1,800-student school is at 3131 19th Av. S.
Native students said they are concerned because they feel the school has restricted their ability to hold smudging ceremonies and drumming in the school. Smudging involves the burning of sage in a ritual of purification.
“We tried to bring this up multiple times,” said Cheyenne Mason, a senior who helped organize the event. “I’m here to support my program because it needs attention and this is the only way to get attention,” said another All Nations senior, Mahendra Jagnandan.
The event was peaceful, and there was no police intervention, according to district spokeswoman Rachel Hicks, unlike a Feb. 14 melee that involved several hundred students. Students from several cultures addressed the group, urging student to work harder to learn about the different ethnicities of the student body. The walkout drew support from some of the school’s non-Indian students.
Several people involved said that students originally planned to walk out, but that administrators tried to accommodate them with an authorized event. The walkout occurred after leaders heard that some students were being prevented from attending; But Winona Vizenor, one of those who organized the event, said it was always the intent of students to walk out..
Hicks said that the auditorium was filled, but that students could watch the event through a video feed to classrooms. Principal Cecilia Sadler, Director of Indian Education Danielle Grant, and Associate Superintendent Stephen Flisk were called to the stage to hear student concerns, but Hicks said they didn’t respond to the substance of student concerns.
Students were warned before they left the building that their departure would constitute an unexcused absence and that they would not be allowed back without a parent, Hicks said. She said they are welcome back today.
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