September 22, 2016
Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson and Nathan Koster, Minneapolis Department of Public Works,
The Webber Camden Neighborhood Organization (WCNO) requests an immediate review of the City of Minneapolis Street Lighting Policy specifically regarding 42nd Avenue North NOT being designated as a Pedestrian Street Lighting Corridor (PSLC).
We request this review for the following reasons:
- Established and Redeveloping Commercial Nodes: 42nd and Lyndale Ave N is home to Webber Camden’s strongest commercial node and 42nd and Fremont Ave N is the home of a redeveloping commercial node. These two nodes are just 6 blocks apart, and those six blocks include a church, MPD training center, and athletic fields frequented by area residents on foot and by bike all along 42nd Ave N.
- Established Community Amenities and Awarding Winning High School: 42nd Ave N includes athletic fields at 42nd and Morgan Ave N frequented by both student and adult residents. 42nd Ave N also includes Camden Central Pond, a storm-water retention pond with a walking path that encourages residents to walk and enjoy nature. 42nd Ave N is 1 block from Patrick Henry High School, one of the highest-rated schools in all of Minneapolis.
- Established Bus Stops: 42nd Ave N includes major bus intersections at Lyndale Ave N, Fremont Ave N, and Penn Ave N. 42nd Ave N is the main cross street for pedestrians to access these prominent bus stops.
- Bike Lane: 42nd Ave N includes a designated bike lane to connect bike commuters to NE and downtown Minneapolis.
- Gateway Street: 42nd Ave N is the gateway into Webber Camden Neighborhood via the Camden Bridge on the eastern edge of the neighborhood.
- Key Community Service Providers: Restoration Counseling and Community Services is located on Aldrich and 42nd Ave N. Their clients do not have cars (are not permitted for the beginning stages of the program) and walk everywhere as they don’t have money for the bus. Many of them live within a few blocks of the facility and are required to attend classes and programs every day. The Hmong American Partnership is leasing a commercial building at 42nd Ave N and Emerson. The Camden Center at 42nd Ave N, Lyndale Ave N and Webber Parkway is currently home to a North Memorial Clinic and a branch of the Hennepin County Library.
- Neighborhood Equality: The majority of the census tracts along 42nd Ave N in Webber Camden Neighborhood have been identified by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) as having a median family income of less than $42,000, translating into a designation of LOW income census tracts. These are the neighborhoods with households who can least afford a special assessment for lighting, and will likely not be able “opt in” to the upgraded lighting program.
Meanwhile, other areas of Minneapolis with 3 times the census tract income, designated as UPPER income census tracts, are also designated as PSLCs (Ex: the census tracts south of 50th along the Penn Ave S PSLC have a current median family income of just under $137,000). Why are property owners in LOW income census tracts being asked to pay for upgraded lighting when property owners in UPPER income census tracts are getting it free?
Webber Camden Neighborhood Organization strongly believes its residents, regardless of income, should receive the benefit of the highest-quality street lighting in both form and function being offered in the City of Minneapolis today. It is an affront to our community that the City of Minneapolis would ask its lower income residents to pay to receive an amenity its highest-income residents receive for free.
Furthermore, in a city as progressive as Minneapolis, why would any main corridor street welcome its residents and guests with wood street lighting poles that are easy targets for We Buy Ugly Houses signs and outdated overhead wiring vulnerable to weather events like the 2011 Tornado?
We respectfully request 42nd Ave N be designated a Pedestrian Street Lighting Corridor.
On behalf of the Board of the Webber Camden Neighborhood Organization,
Linda Koelman, Chair
Stephanie Gruver, Chair of Housing and Development Committee
Roberta Englund, Executive Director