How telling are the comments of Minneapolis project manager Becca Hughes and traffic engineer Allan Klugman when confronted with business owners' concerns about the loss of parking outside their Hennepin Avenue businesses ("Parking limited in revamp of Hennepin," Dec. 27). Remember, these owners are the people who pay the taxes and take the risks associated with operating in Minneapolis — the same people who could pick up and move elsewhere. Street parking is a low priority, we are told. Hughes sees the resulting burden being laid on businesses as "transformational" and maybe it will be, transforming their stores into vacant buildings. But not to worry. "It's something [customers] can get used to," according to Klugman.
We'll see. By the time Minneapolis becomes a bicycling/walking/scootering/auto-free/mass-transit utopia, there may be nowhere to go and nothing to do.
Jack Sheehan, Eden Prairie
In Monday's article "Parking limited in revamp of Hennepin," the Minneapolis traffic engineer notes that parking options exist on adjacent side streets. In my experience they do exist, steps away from Hennepin. But in order to assure us drivers that there will always be an available open parking space when we arrive, we must price that parking. Decades of real-world data gathered by parking guru Donald Shoup (in the book "The High Cost of Free Parking") prove that Minneapolis can set a price such that there will always be one or two open spots along each block face. The parking revenue collected can then be used for parking or bus or ride-share vouchers businesses can advertise and give out. Or it can be used for better signage to street parking or for "fix and paint" grants to businesses along Hennepin. Let's get creative, Minneapolis!
Philipp Muessig, Minneapolis
The writer is vice chair, Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee.
Plans to reduce or eliminate on-street parking on Hennepin Avenue are unnecessary and shortsighted. I say this because I have worked with dozens of business districts and as the former president of the International Downtown Association, as a parking consultant and as a community organizer. Simply put, on-street parking is vital to businesses in districts like Uptown. Each on-street space may produce as much as $300,000 per year in sales to businesses in a single block. Now is the time when city officials and city staff should be doing everything possible to promote and support small-business recovery, especially in locations that have suffered from civil unrest. Restaurants are much more dependent, post-COVID, on takeout and delivery business, and retailers need more patrons than those who can walk from nearby neighborhoods. We all want to achieve walkable cities, but harming or destroying businesses eliminates the very reason to walk to a district.
David Feehan, Silver Spring, Md.
Intervene, yes, but do it better
To the writer of "We can and must intervene" (Readers Write, Dec. 24), I say "Yes, and …"
Yes, repeat offenders should be arrested and detained. Yes, they should be prosecuted. Yes, they should be assessed for mental health issues and if they qualify for programs that would lead them away from the path that they're on. And yes, their behavior should be monitored, and we should ensure their compliance. Now for the "and" part.
If people, particularly our young people, don't see a place for themselves in our society — in terms of access to a good education, equal treatment under the law and equal treatment in the workplace — it shouldn't come as a surprise that they don't feel inclined to play by the same rules as everyone else, especially if they see those rules as working against them.
The clues are there for us to examine — the persistent educational achievement gap, the racial inequities inherent in our housing, law enforcement and the courts. We haven't prioritized these issues in the past. The message I take from what is happening in our streets is that we must prioritize them now. To lose any of our young people to crime is a double tragedy: the tragedy of losing their energy and potential contribution toward a stronger, more vital community, and the tragedy of having to devote yet more of our tax dollars toward their incarceration.
Greg P. Olson, Eden Prairie
Why let her languish in prison?
What would be the objective of incarcerating Kimberly Potter? She made an error in a dangerous situation for which she was immediately remorseful, so rehabilitation is not a factor. There is no danger to the public of a repeat error since she could never be rehired as a police officer. Instead, why not apply the many thousands that her incarceration for seven years would cost toward: first, protecting the public from and rehabilitating the rising number of offenders who intentionally create harm; second, rapidly recruiting a police force that more closely resembles the communities being served; and third, developing methods and technologies of arrest that are reliable and do not endanger the public, police or suspects?
Leslie Everett, Falcon Heights
Some folks feel sorry for Potter because all she did was perform badly in a moment of stress. If that is true, maybe we need to take a long hard look at what is widely viewed as "stressful" these days. It seems white folks can wander all over creation wearing combat gear and carrying automatic weapons and no one blinks an eye. But a Black person being just about anywhere suddenly creates a "stressful" situation, making trained law officers fear for their lives and reach for weapons.
Lesley Hendrickson, Edina
Again, key is to reduce demand
U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber and former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave give us many of the same arguments against abortion that we've heard for decades ("U.S. law must respect the humanity of the unborn," Opinion Exchange, Dec. 28). I've never heard anyone argue that abortion is a good thing or that it doesn't cause pain and often regret. However, those arguing against abortion ignore the larger problem, which is actually implied in the title of their commentary. What about the humanity of the unwanted children born if abortion is again made illegal?
Stauber is the parent of a foster child — bravo, but how many other abortion opponents have made the same commitment? How many have offered to pay the medical expenses of a woman contemplating abortion and adopting the child after it is born? As current or former members of Congress, have they considered the effect of millions of additional children on the social infrastructure of the country? Schools are already overcrowded; family budgets and welfare and child protection systems are strained to the breaking point. How many women (and the men who are equally culpable) would have given up education and career opportunities because they had to raise a child they weren't prepared for?
Stauber and Musgrave would serve society better if, instead of trying to make abortion illegal again, they worked to improve sex education in our schools and make contraception more readily available or possibly even free. Both efforts would reduce the number of abortions necessary and perhaps even make it a rare procedure. Every child should be a wanted child, not the resented result of a rape, temporary indiscretion or failed birth control.
Steve Thompson, Richfield
Don't overdo it
I agree with the article written by Dr. Gregory A. Plotnikoff published Dec. 28 ("What more can we do? Take your vitamin D," Opinion Exchange). As Dr. Plotnikoff described, and with good scientific basis for his statements, taking vitamin D is an inexpensive and readily available way to minimize one's risk of severe COVID symptoms.
Some people think of nonprescription medications, like vitamins, as totally safe. So they think that if some is good, more is better. That's not true with vitamin D. Most vitamins are water soluble, which means that if you take more than is needed, the rest is simply flushed out through the kidneys. However, vitamins A, D and E are fat soluble, and taking excess amounts can accumulate in the body, leading to side effects.
So as a retired pharmacist, my caution here is to take the recommended daily dose. More is not better.
Richard Jansen, Cumberland, Wis.
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