Talking Points for Citizens about the Minneapolis 2040 Comp Plan

Speaking Points about the Draft Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

The folks at Minneapolis for Everyone have put together a list of analysis of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan that citizens can use when writing to elected officials or discussing the plan with friends and neighbors.  This is our first draft but it has been well-received and we will continue to add to it in the next month.

Out of conformance with the Metropolitan Council
* The Metropolitan Council requires that the City plan for a 12% increase in housing over the next 20 years. Not more and not less.
* The City’s current population is about 415,000 people. The Metropolitan Council requires the City to plan for an increase of about 12% or about 50,000 people in the next 20 years. By up-zoning the whole city, assuming fourplexes replace single family homes and towers are built along any transit route in the City, the Comp Plan calls for the City’s population to more than quadruple in the next 20 years, to over 1.6 million people. This is dramatically more growth than is called for by the Metropolitan Council as the whole region is forecast to grow only 578,000 people in the next 20 years.
* If the City were to grow in the way proposed in the 2040 Plan, the region’s sewer system would not be able to handle all the growth. The region’s transportation system would be dramatically overburdened. As there is no plan for growth of the region’s bus system, the bus system would be dramatically overwhelmed. The Region’s systems would not be able to handle this level of population. This is why the Regional Plan envisions growth throughout the region, not just in one city.
* The Plan presumes an expansion of the transit system that the regional plan does not. This means that the City is out of conformance with the Metropolitan Council’s plan.
* The presumption of an expansion of the transit system is at the base of the land use and housing plan that the City has in the Comp Plan. 15-20 story towers and fourplexes built without parking presume an increase in the transit system that simply is not in the Regional Plan.

* Fourplexes, scattered throughout dozens of square miles, will not create density. Clustering housing creates density.
* Clustering development in existing walkable environments and at high frequency transit nodes will create meaningful density.
* Downtown and around the University of Minnesota are our two true walkable environments.
* Fourplexes mean demolishing existing affordable housing because that will create the highest profits for developers.
* Uptown should not become Manhattan.
* 15-20 story towers are being planned for neighborhoods. Without parking. These are out of scale and out of character for neighborhoods.
* Corporations will be the largest beneficiaries from demolishing single-family homes, not Minneapolis residents. In 1992, limited liability corporations owned 8% of all rental housing in the United States. Now they own 29% and still gaining a larger market share.
* The City’s plan for housing depends on a massive increase in bus transit, something that the Met Council does not foresee or plan for.
* We need housing that works for persons in all stages of life and for all races.
* We need housing owned by people who live in Minneapolis, not corporations.
* We need to respect the Small Area Plans that so many residents worked tirelessly to create. They should have priority over blanket zoning changes.

Affordable Housing
* The proposed 2040 Plan does not build new affordable housing – but it does make it profitable to demolish single family homes and moderate multifamily buildings.
* No new affordable housing will be built without government intervention. New housing is too expensive.
* The affordable housing crisis is, in large part, a crisis of housing for families. Families with children earn, on average, 10% less than families without children, yet they have substantially larger basic expenses.
* Families with children need larger housing. Currently, over 80% of three and four bedroom housing units are in single family homes. Most new housing does not provide that.
* Most families with children cannot afford new 3 or 4-bedroom apartments.
* We need to preserve existing affordable housing, not demolish it and replace it with unaffordable new housing. This includes single family homes, condos and rental property.
* Affordable housing will be built by non-profits, not private developers. It will be funded through federal and state programs and also through City programs like the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

* The City has been actively making it harder to get around the City. Streets like 26th/28th Streets, Washington Avenue and Blaisdell have been deliberately narrowed. Bridges like Franklin and Plymouth have been deliberately narrowed. Parking in high demand areas has been removed. Parking requirements for new development has been eliminated. This is making it harder to get around the City, not easier.
* Mobility is the foundation of economic success and a functioning city.
* For citizens to thrive, they need access to jobs and high-quality daycare. Relying solely on walking, biking and transit restricts citizen’s access to the things they need to thrive.
* As it becomes harder and harder to get around the City, businesses can attract fewer and fewer customers. This is bad for the City’s economy and reduces job growth.
* One of the hallmarks of an individual leaving poverty is getting a car. A car means access to a much broader number of jobs and also to high quality daycare. We need to accept that car ownership is a strategy for improving equity in Minneapolis.
* We need a transportation system that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
* The plan focuses exclusively on walking, biking and transit despite 85% of travel is done by car. We need to make travel work for everyone, not just the privileged few.
* The plan does not consider life-cycle transportation needs. We need to improve travel for all people, not just able-bodied walkers, bikers, and transit users. We need transportation for parents and children, for the elderly, for persons with disabilities and others who cannot walk, bike or use transit.
* The plan does not consider life-cycle transportation needs. That when people are young, childless and physically able, that they walk and bike and use transit more. But as they get older, have children and become less physically able, they are less able to meet their life needs though walking, biking and transit. We need transportation that meets the needs of everyone.
* Even people who walk, bike or use transit own cars. The transportation plan needs to make all travel easier.
* Building radically beyond what the Met Council calls for will bring more pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and cars will create a safety issue.
* Electric cars are coming. Every major auto maker has said that they are going to be shifting over the majority of their fleet to electric cars in the next five years. Yet the plan makes driving harder, not easier.

Families and Transportation
* Minneapolis is a city of children. 20% of our population is under the age of 18. Another 20% is parents.
* Families with children take 14 trips per day on average, compared to 6 trips per day for families without children. The plan proposes making travel take substantially longer, as it prioritizes walking, biking and transit usage over driving. Making travel take longer disproportionately hurts families with children as their travel will take longer.
* This plan prioritizes walking, biking and transit over driving. Families with children drive more than families without children. They use transit half as much as families without children and they also walk 25% less. Children are also less able to be outside in winter. Yet this plan prioritizes travel by walking, biking and transit over driving.
* Parents can’t work less. They can’t sleep less. They can’t shop less. When travel takes longer, parents spend less time with their children.
* The City’s policy is to build new housing without parking. A 36-story condo was built in Loring Park without parking for example. Yet parents with children are much more reliant on driving because they have less time to spent travelling, they have more than twice as many trips to make in a day and have a much wider range of locations to go to. Housing without parking is simply inaccessible to most parents. We need to stop building housing that can’t be used by parents and children.
* We need to make the lives of parents and children easier, not harder.

Families and Housing
* The affordable housing crisis is really a family housing crisis.
* New construction of three and four-bedroom apartments and condos are too expensive for most families.
* New construction of almost any kind of housing is not affordable to most families.
* Bulldozing existing houses and replacing them with fourplexes means demolishing homes with 3 and 4 bedrooms and replacing them with units that will mostly have micro units, studios and one-bedroom apartments. This means we lose housing for families.
* Most of the proposed new housing is micro units, studios and one-bedroom units not housing that families with children can live in.

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