Email MnDOT to Put Communities First in Rethinking I-94 Planning Documents

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is currently accepted feedback on its Rethinking I-94 project. We invite you to join us in urging MnDOT to prioritize sustainability, public health, and communities. Our Streets Minneapolis create an email template that you can use to contact the project team and elected officials.

Click here to auto-send an email. This works best on desktop computers and the gmail app. If there are issues with sending or formatting, copy and paste the text below.

Copy/Paste the template below. The sample email along with contact information for project staff and elected officials are listed below.

Don't forget to add your name and subject to the email template. 

 

Sample Email:

Dear Rethinking I-94 Project Team & Decision Makers,

 

My name is [NAME]. I am reaching out because the draft Rethinking I-94 Purpose & Need documents ignore the needs of the people who experience the freeway’s harms daily.

MnDOT spoke of a transformative and healing project when they created Rethinking I-94. However, current planning documents fail to meet that vision. The current draft Purpose and Need documents assume the reconstruction of the freeway and prioritize moving more traffic and more pollution instead creating healthier air quality, reduced carbon emissions, reconnected communities and better transportation options. MnDOT is required by Minnesota statute 174.01 to improve multimodal access, environmental justice, equity, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions in its transportation projects. These outcomes must be prioritized throughout the planning process.

The current Rethinking I-94 documents put the needs of suburban commuter traffic and the freight industry ahead of improving the hazardous air quality that contributes to some of the state’s highest asthma rates and disproportionately impacts Black and Indigenous residents. The documents prioritize fixing pavement conditions instead of fixing the mental and physical barrier that the I-94 trench created through neighborhoods. They make little attempt to improve transportation options for undocumented immigrants, people who cannot afford a car, people who are mobility impaired and others who make up the over 25% of transit-dependent households along the corridor. For these reasons and more, the documents in their current form are unacceptable.

As was done with MnDOT’s I-94/252 project, staff should combine “primary and secondary needs” into a new set of needs that prioritize the following outcomes:
- New options and improved access for people walking, rolling, biking and taking transit.
- Reconnected communities. I-94 forms a barrier that severs communities. The Rethinking I-94 project should address this by restoring the local street grid along the entire corridor
- Improved air quality and reduced noise pollution.
- Rethinking I-94 should prioritize strategies that foster safety and eliminate fatalities and serious injuries for transportation users along and across the corridor.
- Climate action. Transportation is Minnesota’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Economic prosperity without displacement. MnDOT should work with partners to implement robust anti-displacement strategies so existing residents and businesses can enjoy the benefits of the Rethinking I-94 project.

The proposed evaluation criteria and measurements similarly over-prioritize moving traffic on the freeway and should be amended to measure the outcomes that are listed above. It is inadequate for important concerns like equity, sense of place, public health and the environment to be relegated to a separate path under “Goals and Livability” and “SEE impacts” criteria which merely seek to reduce additional impacts.

I urge you to amend the Purpose & Need documents. The Rethinking I-94 project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to replace the freeway with a transportation corridor that benefits local communities by reducing pollution, improving multi-modal access, and reconnecting communities. The project must aim to create better communities, not a better highway. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Who to Contact:

Project Email:[email protected]

BCC Decision Makers and the Project Team:  [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected] 


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