Twin Cities Daily Planet media partner Streets.mn developed a short series of questions related to transportation and land use designed to give voters more information on Minneapolis mayoral and city council candidates and expand the conversation about these topics. This is candidate Diane Hofstede’s response to that query.
Our ninth response for the Streets.mn Voter Guide is from Diane Hofstede, (incumbent) candidate in Ward 3, which includes portions of northeast and north Minneapolis.
1. What do you believe is the most significant land use and/or transportation issue facing Minneapolis in the next 5 years and how do you hope to address it in office?
The most significant land use issue facing the City of Minneapolis is the Mississippi Riverfront, and the new Vikings Stadium development area.
I have been a champion for the Riverfront and the impact of invasive species and the Asian Carp, which if left unchecked, would destroy the third greatest riverfront in the world and create a vast negative impact on our city and our state. I initiated the first public position by the City of Minneapolis by the City Council regarding the Asian Carp and invasive species, carried it forward to Governor Dayton’s Asian Carp Summit where the impact of the Minneapolis City Council’s actions spearheaded funding for research, development of barriers and discussion at all levels of the State, Federal, and local municipalities in Minnesota and our neighboring states.
I spearheaded the formation and co-founded the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership with the Minneapolis City Council and the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board. I shepherded the partnership through both governing bodies, and the Minnesota Legislature for approval, as well as, implementation.
As a member of the City of Minneapolis RiverFirst Steering Committee I am a partner with the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation in the funding and the development of the Scherer Brothers Park, and our riverfront along all of Northeast and North Minneapolis sides of the Riverfront plus the focus on the new park developments in the Mill City and Central Riverfront areas. Adding more green space and parkland along our riverfront is a core value of mine.
As a member of the City of Minneapolis Implementation Committee for the new Vikings Stadium I have been diligent in addressing and expanding the development area of the city to reach our riverfront, the University of Minnesota, and Cedar Riverside in order to extend the core of our city and access to amenities such as parks, multimodal transit options etc.
2. How do you think the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and drivers can be met most effectively? Would you prioritize one or more of these modes over others?
I think that the needs of all of the users addressed in the question the most effective manner is through a multi-modal system that reduces our dependency on the use of automobiles prioritizing mass transit as a State, local and National priority. We are lagging behind many European countries.
We need all transit options in our city, in particular in the transit desserts in our city in North and Northeast Minneapolis.
3. Minneapolis has many plans for land use, transit, road and cycling infrastructure improvements in plans like Access Minneapolis, the Bicycle Master Plan and the city’s comprehensive plan. How do you think the city should fund these improvements in the future? Other than funding, are there other obstacles to realizing these plans and how would you address them?
A variety of funding options need to be considered at the City, State, County, and Federal levels, in order for the expansion to continue. The City of Minneapolis Capital long Range Improvement Committee has recommended that the City of Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Task Force make suggestions to the County. A County representative is now a member of the Bicycle Advisory Task Force Committee.
4. As a council person, how would you respond to concerns about development impacts in your ward? Outside of your ward? Is there a recent controversial project (land use or transportation) that you would have handled differently?
My approach is always to go to the public to listen, and to include all voices in the discussion, and incorporate the grassroots in decisions of the city council.
As to second guessing, there are decisions of the council that did not always go the way that I would have liked, but my process of listening, involving the community in the decision-making process, and taking a collaborative, cooperative approach, has been, and will remain, the cornerstone of my leadership style.
5. Where is your favorite place to walk (in or outside of Minneapolis)?
My favorite place to walk is where people do not generally go because I want to be inspired by what could be in our future, now only what it is today. I may wander, through Boom Island Park onto Nicollet Island, then back over the Railroad bridge, along the banks of the Mississippi River, onto Hennepin Avenue down the brick streets on Main Street, on University Avenue or any of the side streets, checking out gardens, houses, and home again.
I also enjoy walking around the Graco property in Northeast. It is a safe place to walk, the World Headquarters of an International Corporation, and next to our newest park in Northeast Minneapolis. For many years I would walk by the industrial site of Scherer Brothers, and dream of it being a park in Northeast. Now it will be!