The Met Council: A nefarious organization, or a regional planner with a plan?
‘THRIVE MSP 2040’
A regional plan or a regional power grab?
Thank you for publishing Katherine Kersten’s great commentary “The Met Council will burden you now” (April 13). It was the best expose of the Metropolitan Council yet, falling short in only one area: She did not call for the reformation of this nonelected group to be returned to its origins of sewer management and stripping it of all other powers.
The Met Council has no business imposing its utopian ideas on suburban communities regarding development, growth and transportation. Local officials responsible to the electorate oversee these matters. The council has ridden roughshod over suburban communities around the Twin Cities for far too long, and it is time a movement begins to rein in their power and authority. Thanks to Kersten for hopefully waking up a large number of sleeping taxpayers who were unaware of the nefarious roll this organization plays.
Russ Prince, Apple Valley
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Every day I read the paper. Most articles do not apply to me. Politically charged issues often leave a bad taste in my mouth. So when I read Kersten’s article about the effect the Met Council has on transportation, I was overjoyed. Next time I renew my subscription, I will be glad to pay for all those bad issues if I could get just one article each year like “The Met Council will burden you now.” The issues raised were spot-on, without any mention of a political party. Insight into how our government operates was provided without the need to get to the bottom line. Many citizens are better informed because of Kersten’s work. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Tom Hatton, Minneapolis
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Kersten frames her critique of the council’s Thrive MSP 2040 plan on the allegation that it will take away choices from Minnesotans. But what she ignores is that our region currently severely limits the choice of anyone who wants to live in a dense neighborhood with urban conveniences, or who prefers biking, walking or transit to driving for transportation. In 101 of 190 metro-area municipalities, more than three-quarters of the housing stock is single-family detached, illustrating the lack of possibilities for those who prefer higher-density living.
Kersten herself acknowledges that transit is not a choice in the Twin Cities, since, as she notes, “the average employee can reach only 7 percent of jobs by transit in 45 minutes.” She shows herself to be opposed to choice in transportation in the same breath by opposing the Southwest Corridor light-rail line, which will add 10 percent of metro-area jobs to the transit grasp of the average employee.
Meanwhile, 61 percent of the metro’s affordable housing is concentrated in the central neighborhoods of Minneapolis and St. Paul, leaving affordable options in the suburbs few and far between. Thrive MSP 2040 is a welcome step toward offering choices for the Twin Cities, not limiting them.
Alex Bauman, Minneapolis
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The largest segment of the population, millennials and baby boomers, are freely choosing to live in vibrant, high-density, walkable, transit-friendly neighborhoods at ever increasing rates. Private developers can hardly keep up with demand in city and suburb alike. The Met Council is not leading us anywhere, if anything, they’re following us by recognizing our choices and giving us what we want. Kersten can lament the declining popularity of the sprawling, car-oriented suburbs all she wants, but she only has her fellow citizens to blame, not a government agency.
Steve Millikan, Minneapolis
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I decided to read the Thrive 2040 plan for myself. I was stunned — stunned — to find a very thoughtful document based on trends, demographics, data, economic feasibility, with input ranging from individuals to entire communities. This document is 130 pages of ideas on how we can cope with everything from infrastructure and waste water, to parks and, yes, freeways, as we become older, more populous and more diverse. It is a plan for our urban core and our suburban communities — even a plan for (gasp!) sprawl. The final piece of my research led me to see what Kersten’s seemingly beloved Atlanta was doing about regional planning, and my goodness, the Atlanta Regional Commission has a plan, too. It is called PLAN 2040 and it reads just like ours, save for one exception: It has more emphasis on mass transit.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.