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With Thursday's article about the "eye-opening" transit crime and Saturday's article about Joy Rindels-Hayden's tragic injury exiting a bus in 2017 ("'Eye-opening' transit crime spike" and "On a mission for bus-stop safety"), it's apparent the Minneapolis 2040 Plan is putting the cart before the horse. If a plan isn't workable, no matter how good it may seem on paper, it needs to either be reworked or scrapped.

Social engineering to eliminate car traffic in the city cannot work if the infrastructure for the transition isn't already in place. People will not give up their personal vehicles if the alternative isn't safe or convenient. Eliminating parking, making parking prohibitively expensive in lots and squeezing out driving lanes to accommodate underutilized bike lanes will not accomplish the desired effects. What it will do is drive businesses to the suburbs and drive the elderly to warmer climes. While I support much of the 2040 Plan, it won't work unless the city prioritizes its moves to make the plan workable. Let's get the horse in front!

Patricia A. Taylor, Minneapolis


Stop your urbanist meddling

As a longtime Uptown resident I share the concerns for our neighborhood expressed by Farzad Freshtekhu ("We need action and help: a plea from Uptown," Opinion Exchange, Jan. 19). The past three years have seen the closure of a number of my favorite restaurants and retail establishments, including such icons as Stella's and Williams Pub and Amore Uptown. Crime and the fear of crime are certainly major factors. The occupation of Lake Street for a summer by unruly supporters of Winston Boogie Smith accelerated the decline. Shootings, street racing and carjackings contribute to the lack of street traffic.

But crime is not the only problem. Misguided policies put in place by urbanists, cheered on by the nonprofit organization "Our Streets" and its lackeys on the City Council, have eliminated surface parking lots, reduced on-street parking and constricted arterial streets with a profusion of bicycle lanes, some of which are rarely used, especially in winter. The Arby's restaurant two blocks from my residence was replaced by another of the monolithic, characterless multistory residences so beloved by the urbanists. As the Uptown population grows, the amenities that once made it desirable are disappearing. Even the iconic Uptown Theater is shuttered. The once-thriving Calhoun Square is now an empty hulk, its shops erased along with its name. And now it appears that those who turned Hennepin Avenue south of Lake Street into a sterile bus corridor plan to do the same north of Lake Street, eradicating more parking and depriving more businesses of customers who do not walk or roll to their shops.

Freshtekhu is correct. Uptown needs visible law enforcement to allay the fears of residents and potential patrons, but it also needs an infusion of common sense from the city planners and politicians whose boneheaded policies are turning it into a sterile wasteland.

Donald Wolesky, Minneapolis


I have been living in a condo along W. Lake Street since May 2022 and visiting my daughter, who has a great old house in nearby Uptown, for about 10 years. I am aware of the problems that arose after the murder of George Floyd. The commentary by Farzad Freshtekhu in the Jan. 19 paper stated the issues that concern him. I understand that there also may be disruptions to businesses in the Hennepin corridor during the upcoming road project. I lived through a similar road reconstruction in a business community in Illinois where I used to live. That town survived the disruption in a similar way that Uptown can also survive and thrive.

I also frequent many of these businesses on foot and by car, many days of the week, from Black Walnut Bakery and Paper Source on the south portion to Sebastian Joe's to the north.

A commentary by Carol Becker on Jan. 20 mentioned the possibility of a business improvement district, or BID ("Mpls. business can be healed," Opinion Exchange). Minneapolis should take Becker's advice and try this tool to fight crime, grow wealth, control public space and heal the community. I hope Freshtekhu saw the commentary and is motivated to join with other businesses nearby to speak first to each other, and then approach the city to tell officials they want a BID for Uptown.

Uptown has a lot going for it, including local energy and expertise of savvy businesspeople. I love living here, and it needs and deserves this support. Others of us who live here and also love it can support city action by contacting local elected officials as well.

Laura Haule, Minneapolis


Parse all you want, but some blame will still lie with St. Paul

This is a response to recent letters to the editor about reparations, including "Parse the responsibility a bit more" (Readers Write, Jan. 20).

I agree with the assumption put forth by the two letter writers that day: We cannot turn back the hands of time to charge and change the widespread attitudes, policies and actions over centuries that brought us to this moment of institutionalized racism. But I refuse their despair-embracing conclusion that local communities in this time are somehow absolved of responsibility and need not take radical steps toward healing broken personal, cultural and economic relationships.

St. Paul City Council's unanimous vote in January 2023 that made the St. Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission a permanent advisory body is not a sudden or hidden action. Council Member Jane Prince and community organizers led local conversations about reparations beginning in 2020 and before. These went online in the pandemic. There have been time and many opportunities to bring the letter writers' perspectives and questions to the process prior to and since a unanimous vote in January 2021 created the St. Paul City Council Legislative Advisory Committee on Reparations.

The mayor and City Council have, to my knowledge, never suggested that this is the only action to be taken, nor did they ever dispute that state and federal levels of government have their own policy and investment obligations in reparations work in St. Paul. Instead, they have made a commitment to lead the work that is the privilege and responsibility of the local community.

I laud the advisory committee, the St. Paul City Council and Mayor Melvin Carter for taking this step.

Kathleen McDonough, Richfield


How about asking for donations?

Everyone agrees that children can't learn when they are hungry, but there are differences of opinion as to how the cost of those meals should be funded ("Walz plan takes aim at child poverty," Jan. 18).

I suggest a possible solution: Bill parents for the cost of their children's meals, including a check box for them to add an additional donation to help fund meals for less fortunate children. Most parents will pay for the meals, some will add a donation, and some will not be able to pay at all. Most meals would be paid for and the donations would help offset the otherwise unfunded meals. This would result in less cost for the state, while achieving the goal of providing consistent, uniform meals for schoolchildren.

Margaret Rutledge, Long Lake