What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to suzanne.ziegler@startribune.com.

Posts about Public safety

Hey, buddy, want to buy a bridge?

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: March 19, 2014 - 10:02 AM

It’s 89 years old, it’s decrepit and it’s fracture critical, but hey—you could be the lucky owner of the St. Anthony Parkway Bridge.

The city of Minneapolis is accepting proposals to buy the bridge through April 30, according to a notice published this week in the State Register.

But there are catches. You have to buy the whole bridge, not one of its five deteriorating trusses. And you have to reassemble it somewhere else for transportation purposes.

Still, the Minneapolis equivalent of selling the Brooklyn Bridge isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem.  There are other examples of bridge reuse around the city.

For example, a century-old span of the old Broadway Avenue Bridge was floated down the river’s East Channel in 1987 to connect S.E. Main Street with Nicollet Island.  Portions of the deck of the old Lowry Avenue Bridge comprise part of the wall around the city’s public works complex on Hiawatha Avenue.

Some bridges get reused in place.  For example, the Stone Arch Bridge and Bridge 9 in the central riverfront were converted from rail to bike and pedestrian use in 1994 and 2000 respectively.

The St. Anthony Parkway bridge consists of five through trusses on concrete piers.  The trusses are

fracture critical, which means they’re constructed so that if one key component of a truss fails, the entire truss goes down. The bridge is already heavily restricted for the weight of loads that are allowed to cross it, and even its sidewalks are restricted. It’s rated two on a bridge inspection scale of 100, making it the worst bridge still in use in Hennepin County.

It needs to be removed because a new bridge is being planned for the site. Construction could begin this fall.  But taking it apart won’t be easy—the bridge spans an active railyard of 24 tracks. But that worked in the city’s favor when it came to getting state help for the new bridge. After trying unsuccessfully for several sessions to gain state aid, the city switched from calling it the St. Anthony Parkway Bridge to the Northtown Rail Bridge, which apparently swayed legislators.

Memorial Monday for pedestrian killed on Lake Street

Posted by: Emma Nelson Updated: February 17, 2014 - 11:58 AM

Community members will gather Monday evening to remember a woman killed in a truck crash in the West Calhoun neighborhood last week, and to call for safer streets for pedestrians.

Caitlan Barton, 25, of Savage, Minn. was hit Wednesday evening while crossing at the intersection of Market Plaza and West Lake Street – one of the most dangerous intersections in the city. She died Thursday.

The incident comes at a time when Minneapolis residents and city leaders are looking to improve pedestrian safety with initiatives like extended curbs and time for pedestrians to begin crossing streets before vehicles get a green light.

The West Calhoun Neighborhood Council is organizing Monday’s event, which will be held on Excelsior Boulevard near the intersection where the crash happened.

What: Memorial for Caitlan Barton and a Call to Action for Pedestrian Safety

When: Monday, Feb. 17, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Lake Calhoun Executive Center Parking Lot, 3033 Excelsior Blvd.

Drive launched to help family of fire victims

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: February 17, 2014 - 10:40 AM

A collective effort has been launched to raise money and household items for the family of Troy Lewis, who lost five of his seven children in a fire last Friday.

The drive is seeking donations of clothing, household items and toiletries to help remaining members of the family. Those items may be brought to the office of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, 67 8th Av. NE, Minneapolis or the school district's Davis Center, 1250 Broadway Av. Checks may be made payable to the federation.

The union, district and Council Member Blong Yang announced the effort on Saturday.  Two of the dead children attended Bethune Community School.

    

Minneapolis police adding new online crime-mapping tool

Posted by: Suzanne Ziegler Updated: February 6, 2014 - 9:44 AM

By Meghan Holden

Police are adding a new online crime-mapping tool that will update daily and allow residents to see where crime is happening.

The RAIDS Online website allows users to search for different types of crime in specific areas of the city and report anonymous tips.

The tool also includes demographic data, like the median age, household income and population density of an area.

More than two dozen cities and counties in the state already use the tool.

Police will hold a news conference Thursday morning at City Hall to instruct residents how to use the tool. 

Park Board sues over discharge to lagoon

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: January 22, 2014 - 1:01 PM

A second Minneapolis agency has sued the owner of an apartment building at 1800 W. Lake St. for discharging groundwater into the lagoon between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun.

The complaint served last week by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board against Eden Prairie-based Lake and Knox LLC follows a city lawsuit last month over the discharge of groundwater. The Park Board will ask that the two lawsuits be joined, attorney Brian Rice said.

The city and Park Board allege that the apartment owner exceed the limits of a temporary permit it was issued during construction of the 56-unit building to lower the water table to permit construction of a lower-level garage. The Park Board cites its statutory authority over waters adjacent to parks.

The Park Board asked the court to declare the discharge illegal, to enjoin further discharge and to award unspecified damages.

Lake and Knox is not due to file an answer until late this month in Hennepin County District Court to the allegations against it, nor has its attorney responded to Star Tribune inquiries.

The lawsuits allege that the apartment project is pumping an annual 89 million gallons into the lagoon. The Park Board alleges that causes thin ice and open water on the lagoon, creating hazards for skiers and others, mars the scenery, uses storm drain capacity, and impedes the effectiveness and hinders the maintenance of a grit chamber intended to remove sediment and accompanying pollutants.   

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