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One Sided “Journalism” Does a Disservice to the Community.

June 24, 2016

Last night, residents were enraged when Minnpost published a ridiculously 1-sided article about the greenway. You can see that article HERE.

As you can see, the article presents a very different picture than we are seeing from local residents. A big part of that is that the people that they quoted, for the most part (Nathan, Alexis, Will) don’t live on the Greenway. In most cases, they don’t even live anywhere NEAR the greenway. Alexis and Nathan are on the board of the Greenway Council, Will WAS on it before stepping down recently. They quoted each in such a way to make it seem like they were local to the route. They are not. Will Lumpkin’s association with the greenway council should have been disclosed – this article is incredibly biased and misleading.

So, a few notes.

– The midtown greenway did not deprive anyone of access to their homes. Comparing this madness to the midtown greenway happens again and again, yet it’s apples to oranges.

– “What kind of street do you want? “ is a question that should have been asked of residents LONG before this installation went up. It was not. “What happens over the next year will offer a telling reply” is nonsense – people are giving their “telling” replies loudly and clearly, and that feedback is being suppressed by those involved with the greenway project.

For some of that feedback, CLICK HERE to view our online petition.

– “Along with city, state, and federal money, today the the pipe dream has become reality”

Well, this part is interesting, as we’ve been told by the greenway council ALL ALONG that our tax money has NOT been used for this, and that it was all BC/BS funding, etc. We’ve known they were lying, it’s just interesting to see it in print now. I guess they don’t feel they have anything to lose, now that they’ve forced the temporary greenway on us!

– “At first glance the street looks like a jumble, but that is by design”

What a cute, hipster take on it. Those of us who live here feel that it’s a LACK of design and planning. Cheap metal horse troughs, horrendous neon paints, cheap home-use hammocks, ugly concrete construction dividers… if this is by design, it just shows the level of contempt that the “designers” have for the area.

– “cars slow to a fast crawl.”

From all of our canvassing, we know that there are MANY people in the area who disagree with this statement. We’ve received numerous complaints about how people are treating the slalom course as a “challenge” and racing it. “Mario Kart” has come up on more than one occasion. The “reporter” later stating “It’s what street designers refer to as a chicane, a term common in auto racing.” is more apt than he seems to realize.

– They talked to exactly one resident on the route, and gave him two little sentences of quote. “As far as what’s good about it…” – on the second part of the quote – reads like he was prompted. If he’s like 95% of people on the route, he probably gave this “reporter” an earful before being asked “But what do you LIKE about it?”

– They managed to include a photo of just some of the protest signs (the block photographed has a TON of them, both from us, and homemade ones!), yet couldn’t be bothered to talk to anyone about why we don’t want it. There is literally a website address to this site on one of the signs in the picture! “Not everyone seems to be happy with the changes to the street.” is a huge understatement.

– “Residents needing access park around the corner or use their alleys (most homes in this part of town have always relied on alleys), though it remains possible to drive over the plastic bollards in an emergency. “

…is utter nonsense. The ability to drive over the plastic bollards means nothing when a fire truck is unable to make the turn onto the street because of one of the large horse troughs – and many of the residents on the 3500 block had a TON to say about that – they witnessed the failed attempts of one fire truck to do so!

Parking around the corner is not “access”, and – legally speaking – neither is the back alley. Beyond that, people haven’t “always relied on alleys”, they’re horrified at having to now. On that specific block, 2 separate households told us about how they’ve gotten new dents and scratches on their cars because of the added traffic back there. One elderly lady is now unable to get picked up by her usual service for her CANCER TREATMENTS, and was telling us how difficult it is for her to get out to the back alley for a cab. She had to throw her walker over the back fence, as it couldn’t fit through the gate! This is absolute nonsense… and they have the gall to use the word “ACCESS”!

– “It’s for neighbors to decide what they want. Do they want to do a bike boulevard, a half-and-half, or a full linear greenway? There’s ability for neighbors to lead the discussion of where this goes … if it happens.”

More nonsense. They have not consulted the neighbours on this at any stage of the game, and have actively suppressed any feedback that has been negative – even going back as far as a couple years! Click here for some info on that.

– “As the project launches, the organizers are promising to work out the kinks. Yet to me, given the radical change to the street, it’s amazing that the change seems so smooth.”

It is apparent that the author of this piece does not live in this area. None of the people we’ve talked to while canvassing – even the ones who were neutral (or at least one of the two that were for it!) would categorize this as “so smooth”.

– “Pennie is hosting a meeting at his house on Friday for people who’d like to help with outreach. His current plans include signs, buttons, and door knocking to start conversations.”

Again, conversations with those on the route should have been “started” years ago. Not just planned for as a response to the negative backlash they’ve been receiving.

– “In the next block, a pickup basketball game had broken out in the very place where I’d almost seen a fistfight a half-hour earlier.”

This was a bizarre inclusion in his dreamy, romanticized paragraph about that moment in time on the greenway. He could very easily have substituted “In the same place someone got shot yesterday”.

… but please, tell us how this is a safe place for kids to play.

– “If it works, the new greenway will change the neighborhood even more than the tornado did, dramatically shifting how the street functions for people living here. “

We didn’t ask for the tornado, either, and most – probably the same percentage of us that are against the greenway – would really have preferred that it hadn’t happened. That tornado also forced people out of their homes – some permanently. It cost residents and homeowners a lot of money that we didn’t have.

On a personal note, my husband and I are still paying off disaster loans 5 years later, and we still have probably 5 years to go.

People being forced into home repairs they didn’t ask for, being footed with those bills – it’s actually a very apt comparison to what is going to happen with the greenway. Retrofitting a back yard to have access – when you’d never planned to need to do that – isn’t all that far from being forced to completely redesign a kitchen when the ceiling caves in from a TREE falling on it.

– “The greenway won’t solve the neighborhood’s problems by itself, but watching kids playing in the street, it’s almost impossible not to fill with hope for the future.”

Save your hope. We need solutions, not the compounding and concentration of more problems.

As MinnPost has been suppressing some comments from those with opposing views.


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