Public Works Director Hearing

Our letter to City Council Members regarding the Public Works Director Hearing:


Dear City Council Members Elliott Payne, Robin Wonsley Worlobah, LaTrisha Vetaw, Aisha Chughtai, Emily Koski, and Andrew Johnson,

We are pleased to hear that Mayor Jacob Frey has nominated current MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher as our next Public Works Director. 

We are in a unique moment in our city’s history and the leadership of Minneapolis Public Works will have great bearing on whether we achieve our collective climate, equity, safety and economic goals.

Our Streets Minneapolis supports the City’s stated goals in the recently adopted Transportation Action Plan, which aims to increase the share of people biking, walking, rolling and taking transit to three out of every five trips by 2030. The new Public Works Director will be instrumental in making sure that plan is implemented.

With an upcoming Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting scheduled for February 3rd, we are presented with an opportunity to ensure that our incoming Public Works Director remains committed to putting people first in our transportation system.

We therefore share with you a few questions to ask of the incoming candidate that, in our view, will help us achieve these goals. These questions are based on advocacy stances that we have developed in concert with our supporters and community members:

  • In 2020, the City of Minneapolis formally adopted a Transportation Action Plan, which is a 10 year plan to achieve a more equitable and sustainable transportation system. The plan includes a goal to have 3 out of every 5 trips in Minneapolis be by walking, biking or transit by 2030. Do you commit to completing this plan and abiding by the 2030 timeline? How do you plan to accomplish these goals?
  • Do you support Public Works’ recommended design for Hennepin Avenue South that includes full-time dedicated bus lanes and a protected bikeway?
  • We know that police enforcement in transportation disproportionately affects our communities of color. What will you do to ensure that our transportation system is not used to perpetuate the continued incarceration of our black and brown community members?
  • Snow and ice covered sidewalks often render much of the city inaccessible in the winter, especially for those with disabilities and mobility impairments. Many residents are calling for a city-led snow and ice clearing program for sidewalks. Do you support this program and will you advocate for funding it in the 2023 budget?
  • Residents along Olson Memorial Highway have long been asking for safety improvements. Under your leadership, MnDOT recently committed to addressing this issue with several proposed safety improvements. As Public Works Director, how will you improve safety on Olson Memorial Highway? Would you be supportive of a long-term vision to restore 6th Avenue North?
  • We know that close to 100 people die each year on Minneapolis streets from traffic crashes. Native American and Black community members are most at risk of being hurt or killed in a traffic crash. Our City has a goal to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2027, also known as Vision Zero. How will you ensure that our Vision Zero goal is achieved?
  • As the current Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, you are well-aware of MnDOT’s Rethinking I-94 project. Many cities are now reckoning with the environmental, economic,  and racial injustice that urban highways have caused and are replacing them with boulevards that provide better transportation options and return land to impacted communities. This is an opportunity for the City of Minneapolis to emerge as a leader in this movement for transportation justice. Would you be willing to support a freeway removal option for this project?

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working together to create a transportation system that truly puts people first.

Ashwat Narayanan
Executive Director


Encourage Council Members to Ask Questions

You can support this work by sending an email to City Council Members encouraging them to ask this set of questions. Copy/paste the questions above or auto-send an email at the link below.

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Call-in to the Hearing
February 3rd | 1:30PM

Members of the public are welcome to call-in to the forum. We encourage you to attend the forum and ask any questions you may have. You must sign up below least three hours before the hearing. You may also submit an online comment at here.

Sign-up Here


About the Process

Mayor Frey nominated Margaret Anderson Kelliher at the beginning of January 2022. The process will move to a public hearing on February 3rd at the PWI Committee. The final City Council vote will take place on February 10th. See a full list of PWI Committee meetings here.

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