I am disappointed that Jon Tevlin, in his Sept. 13 column about safety improvements on 26th and 28th streets (“Let’s push hamburger through a straw, Mpls.”), ignores the safety of families who live along these streets. Most of the buildings that line 26th and 28th are people’s homes — these freeway-like streets (which promote freeway-like driving) should never have been built like they are in the first place.
I live a block from 28th Street where it is at its widest, and I cross it every day to bring my 2-year-old son to day care. As he grows more independent and wants to do things like walk by himself, I grow more fearful for his safety. There is also an elementary school near my home that is right off 28th, but I wonder how many of its students — who like us, live only a couple of blocks away — don’t walk to school because their parents fear for their safety. I’m tired of crossing four lanes of traffic with speeding cars and competing with drivers who treat right-turn lanes like freeway on-ramps.
I applaud the city and the steps it’s taking to build protected bike lanes, not just because I often use them for commutes by bike, but because of the traffic-calming they provide on these dangerous roads. The streets aren’t perfect, and there are certainly other things that can happen to improve safety, but anything that gets traffic to slow down and allows people to get around safely by foot is a step in the right direction.
Lesley Schack, Minneapolis
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I’ve lived near 26th and 28th streets in the Whittier neighborhood for 18 years. Some are upset that driving on these corridors may be less convenient now that they have protected bike lanes.
In defending the status quo, they defend the indefensible. On 26th and 28th, five people have been killed by cars in as many years. These deaths come at no surprise. When two lanes of 40 miles per hour traffic fly through densely populated neighborhoods with poor sight lines, crashes and fatalities are inevitable. With the protected bike lanes, traffic will be more predictable and slower, sight lines improved and lives protected. More kids and families will walk and bike. There will be less property damage from crashes. All of the data from other projects affirm this. The bottom line is that these lanes will save lives.
Jeff Carlson, Minneapolis
Supreme Court did not abdicate but properly threaded the needle
I disagree with Stephen B. Young’s conclusion that the Minnesota Supreme Court abdicated its responsibility by not deciding the governor-Legislature dispute (Opinion Exchange, Sept. 12).
In its decision, the Supreme Court considered both (a) “no branch can suppress either of the other two” and (b) the governor has a line-item veto right. A decision in favor of the governor or the Legislature would have elevated (a) or (b) above the other.
The judiciary has neither the authority nor responsibility to elevate one of two coequal branches above the other. Young goes further by claiming “the Supreme Court has tilted our system against law and toward gridlock politics.” But he does not explain how the Supreme Court did that.
Too often, elected officials work harder to destroy their opponents than to serve people. In the current dispute, the governor and the Legislature have an opportunity to find a solution that is good for people. If they fail, voters will have an opportunity to elect more skillful representatives, assuming people like that run for office.
While it would have been expedient for the Supreme Court to decide between the governor and the Legislature, doing so would have produced two damaging outcomes. First, elevating one branch of government over another would have violated the fundamental principle that branches are coequal. Second, by choosing sides in a partisan issue, the Supreme Court would have undermined its standing as a coequal branch and independence.
Like many of us, Young is frustrated with “childish finger-pointing, name-calling and uncompromising partisanship.” It is a good time for voters to pressure the governor and legislators to resolve the dispute. And, if they don’t resolve the dispute, voters should consider supporting candidates who will more effectively serve people.
Scott Moen, St. Paul
There’s no tuition ‘sticker shock’ at Minnesota State schools
We appreciated the Sept. 4 article on the sky-high tuition paired with discounts disguised as financial aid that many of the private colleges in Minnesota charge students (“Sticker shock? State’s private colleges try to soften the blow”).
Students and parents should know that thanks to support from the state of Minnesota, the colleges and universities of Minnesota State offer a far more affordable choice — in fact, the lowest tuition and fees of any higher-education option in the state, even after private colleges’ discounts. The average tuition at Minnesota’s seven state universities is $7,289 — about half that of the University of Minnesota and less than one-fifth that of the $41,133 tuition at the University of St. Thomas cited in the article. At Minnesota State universities, many students receive financial aid, grants and scholarships, which, for the most financially needy students, can result in a net tuition rate of $851 per year. In addition, Minnesota’s 30 state community and technical colleges have an average tuition of $4,815 (with a net rate of $391 for the most financially needy students after aid, grants and scholarships) — a smart way to spend less for the first half of a bachelor’s degree or to affordably complete career programs in two years or less.
The quality of instruction at Minnesota’s state colleges and universities also is apparent; 87.4 percent of graduates land jobs within 12 months in areas related to their programs. We are proud of the Minnesota State track record of providing an extraordinary higher education at an exceptional value. We think the way to keep higher education affordable is to keep tuition low and avoid playing games with discounts.
Virginia (Ginny) Arthur and Rassoul Dastmozd
The writers, respectively, are president of Metropolitan State University and president and CEO of St. Paul College.
HISTORY OF DISCRIMINATION
Sorority, formed midcentury, helped foster progress at the U
It was five years after “segregation ended on campus in 1954” (“Out of the shadows,” Sept. 13) that a group of freshman and sophomore women based on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota were astonished to learn that the U’s Greek system was still essentially segregated. So we started a new sorority, Nu Sigma Pi, with the symbol of the “open door” as our logo and our belief that all are equal. Initially, two black women joined, and one was dating the quarterback (Sandy Stephens), so some of us eagerly read the sports section before we had a party so we would be up to speed on football talk.
In 1961, we learned that three other local sororities on the East Coast were also formed with the same objective, so together we created a new national sorority named Lambda Delta Phi. The Minnesota LDP remains a strong sorority housed on the St. Paul campus — although the imperative for why the sorority was founded is taken for granted today, one of its goals remains “to develop friendships among women of different cultural, racial and religious groups.”
Kathleen Ulku Laurila, Crystal