ARISE and Ford Site Studies on the Move

ARISE is on the move. Over the last few weeks ARISE has provided several opportunities for Ford Site stakeholders to discuss the proposed options for development of the site and the public input process. Setting zoning standards for the site is one of the key ways the city, and thus the public, can influence what is built.  To support stakeholders in understanding how the two proposed pathways for zoning relate to sustainability and citizen engagement, on September 30th, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, ARISE walked Ford Site stakeholders through the proposed pathways and facilitated discussion exploring their implications. Those in attendance also reviewed the probable timeline for ongoing studies and the opportunities for public input throughout the coming months. You can read more about the ongoing studies and Mayor Coleman’s position in the press release on the ARISE website. Decisions on how the Riverview transit corridor is developed will greatly shape connectivity of the Ford site to the rest of the metro area, so on October 7th at Homecroft School, we hosted a representative from the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority, Mike Rogers, to explain the options being considered in the Riverview Corridor transit analysis.  This exciting step in local transit development, connecting the Union Depot in St. Paul and the Mall of America, could connect the Ford Site with the final leg of the Twin Cities “transit triangle.” After several waves of public input, all transit options will be distilled into a “Locally Preferred Alternative,” to guide development of the corridor. There is a lot to watch here so ARISE will keep stakeholders informed of next steps and upcoming...

New Ford Site Studies: Public Input Pending

New momentum is picking up around the Ford site in St. Paul, as various groups involved in community planning and development are initiating studies that will set parameters for the site’s development (full press release). Speaking for the City of St. Paul, one of many players in this process, Mayor Coleman expressed that the site should “reemerge as a connected, livable and green site and serve as a model for a 21st Century Community.” ARISE is firmly behind this sentiment and we believe the Ford site has the potential to set a new standard for mixed-use redevelopment. This fall marks the next phase for this unique development, and ARISE is glad to see the planning groups involved building off of previous studies, proposing parameters in line with the St. Paul Road Map to Sustainability. Ongoing through this next year are four studies, covering zoning, jobs and employment, energy and sustainability, and transportation, which will have the first public comment periods open in October To follow through on best intentions being discussed around this site and to maximizes benefits to the surrounding community and region, ARISE is ready to support an inclusive process, by helping stakeholders participate in an informed way.  Please contact us for opportunities to learn about the public input process and about how proposed options for site development could impact you differently. ARISE will be holding several public meetings this year for this purpose. Full press release...

Small-Scale Manufacturing Building the Foundations for Economic Resiliency

One of our partners, Smart Growth America, recently published an article on the successes of redeveloping old industrial sites into smaller pockets of light manufacturing. These spaces are occupied by small-batch manufacturers and are demonstrative of a larger market shift back to manufacturing as the demand for locally-made goods increases and manufacturing technology becomes cheaper. Re-Industrializing in such a way can provide the economic benefit of high-value jobs, which induce increased economic activity and growth in the city and region. Sites like the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center and Pier 70, both detailed in the article, show the social and economic benefits that can be gained by Re-Industrialization. It is now up to cities who desire to reap these benefits of such developments to zone for mixed-use industrial and encourage business growth to ensure a resilient local economy. The article is available...

Dangerous by Design 2014 Report

Minnesota is among the most dangerous states in the nation for pedestrians, ranking 13 most dangerous out of the 51 largest states, said a new report released by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. The same report also identified the Twin Cities as the fifth most dangerous community in the country. As ARISE continues to develop community focused mixed-use redevelopment plans, there is an opportunity to set a new precedent in the Twin Cities, valuing people over their vehicles. Mobility is not just a question of how to get where you are going, but how to create safe, thriving conditions for residents and visitors in a community. Over the decade from 2003 – 2012, 395 Minnesotans were killed while walking. The report, Dangerous by Design 2014, ranks America’s major metropolitan areas according to a Pedestrian Danger Index that assesses how safe pedestrians are while walking. The report found that the majority of those deaths likely could have been prevented with safer street design. The majority of pedestrian deaths occur on roadways that are dangerous by design —engineered and operated for speeding traffic with little to no provision for the safety of people walking, biking or using public transit. Sadly, older adults, children and minorities are the most at risk while walking, dying in disproportionate numbers. Nationally, in 2012, pedestrians accounted for 14 percent of all traffic deaths, up six percent from 2011 and representing a five-year high. Pedestrian safety is often perceived as a strictly local issue but, for decades, federal dollars have been invested in thousands of miles of state and local roads in the...

Clean Energy and Jobs – Earth Day Rally

On Earth Day, April 22nd, we attended a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol organized by the Minnesota Clean Energy and Jobs campaign. The rally was in support of a new bill (Sen. Dibble’s SF 763 in the Senate and Rep. Hornstein’s HF 880 in the House) that would include numerous benefits to help create jobs in the renewable energy industry and mandate that Minnesota must meet half of its electricity needs from renewable energy. In addition to increasing the renewable energy standard, the bill would also introduce third-party ownership in the utility system, standardized solar building permits to help more businesses and consumers to install rooftop solar, and on-bill repayment for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. It was especially powerful to see speakers like Governor Mark Dayton and Will Steger comment on how much the environmental movement has changed, from Silent Spring and the Apollo 8 photo of Earth, to the global fight against climate change today. We at ARISE are eager to see this bill pass, and enthusiastic to watch the renewable industry grow. By investing in clean energy, we are not only supporting jobs in a thriving industry, but also encouraging a healthier climate for the...

Sprawl Report

Some regions in the United States are sprawling, some are building in compact, connected ways, and the difference between the two strategies has implications for millions of Americans’ day-to-day lives. Measuring Sprawl 2014, released today by ARISE state wide, in partnership with Smart Growth America who are supporting the national release, ranks the most sprawling and most compact areas of the country. The new report evaluates development patterns in 221 major metropolitan areas and their counties based on four factors: density, land use mix, street connectivity and activity centering. Each metro area received a Sprawl Index score based on these factors. In our region, with a score of 87, the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul region ranks near the bottom of the list at number 147 out of 221. With a score of 103, the Duluth region ranks above MSP at number 112 out of 221. With a score of 121, the Fargo, ND-MN region ranks near the top of the list at 25 out of 221. Please visit our resources page to view the full report. The new report also examines how different development patterns relate to the quality of life in these areas—and the differences are startling. People in compact, connected areas have greater upward economic mobility than their peers in sprawling areas. That is, a child born in the bottom 20% of the income scale has a better chance of rising to the top 20% of the income scale by age 30. People in compact, connected metro areas spend less on the combined expenses of housing and transportation. Housing costs are higher in compact, connected areas, but these higher costs are more...