Environmentalist Bill McKibben calls for action on climate change

Addressing a packed auditorium at St. Thomas University in St. Paul on February 20, environmental activist Bill McKibben laid out the realities of climate change in stark terms: “What we do, or don’t do, in the next few years will determine what our planet looks like for the next thousand, or hundred-thousand years. This is what in our time we are called to do.”McKibben, the author of a dozen books on the environment, is the founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org. In 2010 the Boston Globe described him as, “probably the country’s most important environmentalist.” McKibben’s talk was part of a two-day program at St. Continue Reading

Planning for Minneapolis Midtown Transit Corridor gets underway

Residents of Minneapolis came together at the Whittier Park Recreation Center on January 29 for an open house on a proposed Metro Transit project connecting the Hiawatha and Southwest light rail lines, by using either light rail, streetcar, bus rapid transit, or a dedicated busway. Meeting facilitators emphasized that, “Everything is on the table currently.”The project will provide faster east-west service for transit users, and increase accessibility to major employment and commercial centers in the area. Michael Mechtenberg, the project manager and a planner at Metro Transit, said transit investments would also “catalyze and support economic development,” as well as to “support a healthier community.” A general excitement about the project was unmistakable as a regular flow of attendees circulated amongst the poster boards and maps on display.The Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis, officially launched in September 2012, will study the potential benefits, costs, and impacts of developing a transitway either on Lake Street or along the Midtown Greenway. During the Alternative Analysis phase of the project, Metro Transit along with project contractors will evaluate different routes and types of transit modes to determine what the best fit for the corridor is.Once completed, the new transit corridor would provide expanded transit service between the Hiawatha Light Rail line and the Southwest Light Rail line, on which construction is slated to begin in 2015. Additionally, the transitway would connect with the existing Chicago-Lake and Uptown Transit Centers, as well as the proposed I-35 Bus Rapid Transit Orange Line.Metro Transit sees this as an opportune moment to move forward on the project for several reasons. Continue Reading