Category Archives: Actual Resident Feedback

Hazardous Alley Neglect on the Greenway Route

This morning, a resident posted the following photos to our Facebook group, and gave us permission to share:

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These photos were taken in the alley adjacent to the temporary greenway setup.

 

This is one of the alleys that are expected to be used not only as a main thoroughfare for those along the temporary greenway installations, but for parking for both residents and their guests.
Obviously this is an unsafe situation for both homeowners and those forced to drive through/park in that alley… and it’s apparently been this way for more than a few weeks, at this point.

 

 

Where is the supervision for this project?  Why are such hazards not being addressed in this area in ANY case, never mind on a surrogate thoroughfare?

 

Isn’t it amazing that this is the same city who worked hard to ban anyone but the immediate homeowners from accessing these very alleys?   Apparently alleys are sacred when the city losing revenue to metal scrappers is a possibility, but not so much when $600k – 18mil in grants are available.

 

As is usually the case in this city, residents – especially those in low income areas – are the first to be sold out.

 

This is shameful, and would never be tolerated in any of the more well-to-do areas of the city.  This split is at eye level, and there’s no way any of the city councilors, workers, greenway council reps, etc would overlook such a hazard if it occurred on THEIR “thoroughfare”.

More Sign Thefts and Vandalism

Yesterday morning, I was saddened to see yet another report of stolen “Stop the Greenway” signs along the 3500 block.  By this account – with photos – every sign had been pulled up and dumped in the street.

Silencing

This was the morning after Greenway representative Will Lumpkins had hosted a pro-greenway event, and – no surprise – every single one of the yellow “Support the Greenway” signs remained as they were.

When I walked the route later that afternoon, I was saddened to see that most of the remaining “Stop” signs had now been tethered to something more permanent on the resident’s lawn (in one case), or moved indoors (windows, behind storm doors, etc) altogether – in most of the other cases.  Many more of the signs that we had placed were just missing altogether.

It makes me angry that this organization and/or its supporters – backed with hundreds of thousands of dollars – attempts to squash negative feedback in any way possible.  Those were signs I paid for from my own pocket, later reimbursed by crowd funded donations from the community.  They stole from all of us, these actions are working to silence all of us.

To add insult to injury, this comes only 2 weeks after I addressed the theft/vandalism issue with greenway council chair Alexis Pennie, who promised me that he would put out an official, public request from the greenway council to ask its supporters to not steal and vandalize our signs.  I agreed to do so in return, for our side.  I followed through, he did not.

This is just another example of how the pro-greenway side has been working to force a narrative of support from the community.

I recently wrote about my frustration with this unfair, uphill, “David vs Goliath” battle, in this blog entry.  This recent spate of sign thefts/vandalism seems like awful punctuation to that article.  It’s exhausting.

To those promoting and supporting the greenway, I ask:  If you legitimately want resident feedback and input, why are you so invested in silencing any and all dissent?  If you think you are in the right in forcing this greenway on us, why must you work so hard to make it seem like you have “overwhelming support”?

To those fighting against the greenway:  Thank you again for your support.  Hold strong!

Also, again: I understand that this has been frustrating, but please, PLEASE do not lower yourselves to their level.  Leave the pro-greenway signs as they are. We are fighting for what’s right, and we can’t succumb to or adopt their dishonest tactics to do so.

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

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. Read more »

Notes on the June Greenway Council “Meeting”

After a last minute cancellation of May’s meeting (Which was to “respect how busy everyone is these days” – just WEEKS before the installation!), June’s meeting was … bizarre.
About a week before the scheduled meeting, one of us happened across information on the Greenway Council website (not on Facebook, not being promoted) that said that the meeting would be starting a half hour earlier than usual, and that this would be done to allow for time to hear resident concerns.
… would have been nice for them to put that out to the public, right?

 

So, we got the word out. We had many people lined up to attend… and curiously, they never did put out word.

 

… and then they changed the information on the site back to a 6:30 meeting start.

 

The day of the meeting, one resident emailed to double check.  She was told that they were initially going to have it at 6:00, they decided to start at the regular time and have the whole meeting be about receiving resident feedback.  Again, this change was not put out to the public, though MANY people would have wanted to know that there would be a whole meeting for resident feedback.  Many of us decided to show up at 6, as the entire thing felt incredibly sneaky and dishonest at this point.

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Canvassing Notes – 3500 Block

Canvassed the 3500 block tonight.

About half the people weren’t home. Of those we talked to, a couple were neutral (They saw some benefit, but thought things need to be done differently – like 1 way street), 2 were pro greenway, and the rest (overwhelming majority) were anti. Many of the antis were VERY anti.

 

We collected a lot of signatures for the petition, and a bunch of signs will be going up soon. Also, a few people will be emailing statements for the website.

Overall, it was easy work – took two of us 2 hours to do the block. People (aside from one of the pro-greenway households) were all very nice!

Some highlights of conversation:

LOADS of issues with safety.

Multiple people mentioned the fire truck having tried to get through multiple times and failing.

Multiple people were concerned about it teaching kids to play in the street.

 


Multiple people expressed concern that people were congregating there from all over, people they hadn’t seen before. People coming up into their yards, etc.

Several comments about people in the street helping themselves to flowers from residents’ lawns.

A couple people mentioned that the increase in traffic/parking usage in the alley have left their cars blocked in on multiple occasions.

Two people mentioned their cars having a bunch of new dents since parking in the back alley.

One elderly cancer patient is unable to get picked up for her treatments by her front door, says access to the back is much more difficult. Described having to throw her walker over the fence to get a cab (?)

 

 

Several people mentioned kids hurting themselves on the hammocks, including one girl who caught her clothing on one while cycling. Apparently she fell face first into the pavement.

One resident is an Uber driver, is unable to pick up customers along the greenway route.

I encouraged the neutrals to email in with their comments. I think it’s important that the greenway council, city, etc see that even those who sort of support it would much prefer it was done differently.

Resident Concerns: Arthur Dent

Green Way Or The Highway – Or – Misogynistic Salutations From Those Who Know What You Need

 

The Visit Greenway project or experiment is loaded with irony: in concept, Blue Cross Blue Shield is donating funding with beautiful aspirations for society, yet the idea that part of my premium, or the premium of a hospice patient that I work with is somehow embedded with this mishmash of color and cattle troughs – meandering from one point to another; with neither a destination of purpose, is tragic and whimsical. You see, this community is not healthy, and this action is like putting colorful underwear on a dying cancer patient who is in pain and delirious. Helping is based on good intentions, and it is necessary to be acute and functional, and at best have a strong science to reinforce what you are doing, but NOT IN THIS SCENARIO.

 

There’s an irony in the participation of the city of Minneapolis, which is not able to take care of the parks, infrastructure, or true needs of it’s people. Please refer to the $50 million dollar mud vein once known as Nicollet Mall, or the weeds growing through the tennis courts at Folwell Park. There’s a greater irony in an institution such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, which demands specific science and documentation presented for any chance of reimbursement, proselytizing the future with a happy north-south Greenway without any solid research or investment of assessment within THE MILEU OF THIS COMMUNITY. Imaginary thoughts of functional wonderment like that must mean I will be able to write in order for reflexology for a bilateral lower extremity amputee. That was cruel to say and frames the ridicule.

 

Last night I had the privilege of mingling with a small disproportionate group of white people (7:2,… White: Others), most of whom were vehemently opposed to this greenway project. Many of the proponents, all four that I talked to, were not from North Minneapolis, and although one worked in North Minneapolis, the others lived in South Minneapolis, and one lived in Southeast. Barb Johnson joined us, and carried out her role exceptionally well because she listened to, and acknowledged the feedback from her constituents. She reinforces her support for this trial, and also acknowledged a wide array of frustration.

 

Now it’s time to pull things apart.

 

From a social and psychosocial perspective, this community needs far more human engagement, and I am sure Blue Cross Blue Shield could be far more effective; exponentially more effective, by rethinking this investment. This community needs better parenting, better mental health support, and our children need better care. Unemployment is high here, and basic shelter and nutrition is a daily challenge for many people that live in North Minneapolis. Crime is well-known as a distress in our community, and I can’t help but feel that there’s a Blue Cross being painted on a sinking ship. This part of the demographic is very complex. North Minneapolis is more an amalgam than a community in that we are an attracted and combined while holding our own matrix of separate components: racial, ethnic, economic, renter, property owner, criminal, victim , affect, despair and hope. This project is wonderful on paper and in concept. This project, in isolation of benefit would make sense: however, we need to remember our good friend Maslow and the hierarchy of needs: the basic needs of safety, health and well-being are not being met, and fall far below the engagement threshold this project requires.

 

 

One of the supporters shared excitement that kids could ride their bikes from North Minneapolis to a “better place” like activities in South Minneapolis, or “perhaps catch a show at first Avenue”. Well, hammocks and play stations in the street are an invitation for disaster when a four-year-old child, or for that matter 30% of our nine-year-olds, don’t exhibit cognitive framework skills for discrimination of setting. In other words a four-year-old that learns to play in a Greenway Street zone is not likely to go to the next parallel street and recognize that that area is NOT a play area. We already have a problem with kids running into the street. It was suggested to me that a 12-year-old would be “fine” riding a bike from North Minneapolis to South Minneapolis. Again, a good heart is found in the best of all idiots (it is not, but could be a great Shakespeare quote).

 

 

There are people who need access to the street because they have disabilities, and Minneapolis Public schools need to pick up and drop off children, often using wheelchair lifts. My nurse practitioners visit hospice patients, and carry equipment and pharmacy, and it is unreasonable for them to park half a block away from the house at 3 o’clock in the morning during an emergency visit because of this Greenway fantasy. United Parcel Service and Federal Express don’t utilize the alleyways, and frankly this neighborhood is not inviting people to the back door. This neighborhood has had too much backdoor activity as it is – perhaps some ex leadership of the urban league will soon find their own backdoor activity in prison. (I had to get that in)

 

 

This Project: Property owners will lose value, and many people can’t afford or are not able to expand parking in their backyards, nor should they be expected to. The idea that guests to my home would be required to walk a block to my house is ridiculous. The city of Minneapolis could find itself in a legal battle solely on loss of property and passage, and risks the liability of restricting necessary services such as police, fire department, and emergency medical support. Increased traffic on other parallel streets is likely. The reason the city of Minneapolis would fall under liability is because they are the entity that approves, and they have to follow federal and state statutes that determine impact on projects like this. Why? Because federal funding is in our road systems, and even in the public housing which authorizes certificate based on a reasonable assessment of functional living property. Somehow the city of Minneapolis forgot that there are both federal and state statutes that have not been identified and assessed with in this model of Greenway. There are violations against the Americans with disabilities act, and one could make a civil liberties case through proximal isolation.

 

 

The real bother to me is the lack of science. Proponents express that the Greenway will also unite the community and help people travel to and from work. There is no evidence that this is true, and the cost to dollar ratio is obtuse to this argument. Just six blocks east Is Fremont Ave., North, which is constructed and determined to be a bike way to meet this goal (notice the green interchange markers and signage). Blue Cross Blue Shield is being very generous and I do feel we should applaud this, but the health benefits of the Greenway are touted with no evidence as it relates to the demographic of this community. Ultimately, the city is in collusion with an external corporate entity, and there is a lack of trust here in North Minneapolis: we are not safe, we are not supported through actions that are accurate: identifying goals and objectives with functional measurement, and we are not cared for.

 

 

The majority of this community is not being engaged, and I heard a comment, “we’ve put notices out about these meetings and about this project”, and people know. Hello, did you accurately measure to make sure you are effective in your communication? Show me, show us. The majority of this community is suspicious. Oh, 6:00, 6:30 wish and no structure agenda….

 

Would Blue Cross Blue Shield consider expanding these design ideas within our city parks where there could be an opportunity for higher supervision and expand our park programs? Blue Cross and Blue Shield might spend its money better by creating a training center in customer service here in North Minneapolis. How about building a facility within walking distance of a large percentage of our citizens. That would be heart healthy in action and support the economy. Perhaps increasing job training opportunities in healthcare professions.

 

 

I do need to apologize for writing with a muted tone, because I prefer to eviscerate when impassioned about a topic. I really do appreciate the effort that people are trying to put into this community.

 

Lastly, this afternoon a nine-year-old girl rode he bike by one of the hammocks, it snagged her jacket, pulled the hammock from the road fasteners, and sent her flying headfirst into the pavement. She did not have a helmet, her grandmother provided first-aid, and loving care that included a purple icy pop. We all got lucky.

 

Think this through please,

 

Arthur Dent..

 

Also, there are many organizations that donate bicycle helmets for those in need

Unsafe Greenway – Video

This weekend, we drove the length of the “accessible” parts of the Greenway, and had a good look at the layout.

The way the parking is arranged against the blocked off areas *barely* let a single car through the width, when cares are parked legally – never mind the fact that it’s two way driving, never mind trying to get cyclists through at the same time, never mind trying to see a FIRE TRUCK try to not only fit through such narrow openings, but slalom a ridiculous layout, delaying them from getting to an emergency.

Video can be viewed HERE, along with the original thread. (Which may have new replies since screen capping). A separate thread with a few replies is also HERE. Additionally,the post has been shared 23 times by residents who are outraged.  The public shares (many aren’t viewable) can be seen HERE.

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The Fire Department Issue…

On Friday night, we drove past 2 fire trucks that had responded to a garage fire, just 1 block away from the temporary greenway installation.  We were struck by the realization that the way the installation was set up would make things incredibly difficult for the fire department to respond to fires along that route.

A local resident saw us photographing the trucks (for a post), and sent me a series of VERY interesting messages.  This is what happened…

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The Hammocks

The Greenway Council installed cheap, residential-use hammocks on the 3500 block of Irving this week. (This block is completely closed to traffic, and the hammocks were installed right in the street).

A North Minneapolis Facebook group was more than happy to share their thoughts on this “initiative”.

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