Our Streets Minneapolis is actively working to support and improve the Comprehensive Plan, Minneapolis 2040. As someone who supports our work, we ask that YOU provide your comments on the plan, either at a Comprehensive Plan Comment Party, or online.
The deadline is coming up soon, on Sunday, July 22nd, so it’s time to type.
We’ve got detailed instructions on how to comment, tips on what you might want to suggest, and some writing from other progressive groups if you want more context or wonkery.
Parties are scheduled for 6:30-8 on Wednesday, July 18th in Northeast and 4:30-6:15 on Sunday, July 22 in Seward on (more details below). Parties are fun… and sometimes life or introversion gets in the way of attending. Here’s a guide to how to comment from home, or the bus, or while waiting for a friend.
Deadline: Sunday, July 22
The Nuts and Bolts of Commenting
If you want to do a little reading about the Minneapolis 2040 draft before you start, we have you covered. Our Streets Minneapolis has blog posts up about what it is and why it matters to you, why it matters to Our Streets, and while I’ll walk you through specific Our Streets priorities below, there’s also a post with Our Streets’ positions on draft plan policies.
Minneapolis made the website mobile friendly and commenting easy. There are two kinds of comments. First, you can comment on individual draft policies. Second, you can comment on what goes where on the Land Use and Built Form maps. This is the place to comment on specific locations in your neighborhood.
I’ll walk you through how to make both kinds of comments below.
How to Comment on Individual Draft Policies
From the Minneapolis 2040 website:
To get started, practice on a simple comment. I suggest the Our Streets position on Vision Zero.
Here’s detail on our position: Our Streets supports including Vision Zero and recommends that enforcement be removed from the plan. That’s because enforcement amplifies racial disparities, and there are plenty of other proven safety strategies to implement.
To comment go to this page on the Minneapolis 2040 site, which lists all 97 policies. That page is your home base for commenting on policies. Find policy 26 Vision Zero or policy 15 Transportation and Equity. Scroll down to the comment box at the bottom of the page, and then take a moment to think. You’re spending time commenting, so you want to offer a comment that guides the city to the change you want. What would you change? What else should we be doing? Explain why. Type in a comment, something short is fine. Click on submit.
Do you feel your citizen engagement superpowers, yet? Keep going!
Specific Our Streets Suggestions for Draft Policy Comments
Here are some other policies (based on Our Streets’ priorities) you might comment on. You can read details of those priorities here. Pick the ones that are most important to you, and submit as many comments are you want to:
- Affirm that the focus on addressing racial disparities and climate change is the right focus. It’s important that the City hears they’re headed in the right direction! Reflect on what else could do, and why that’s the right focus. Then, let the city know on the general comment form here.
Our Streets’ second priority is housing (learn more about why here or here). It’s a big focus for us and in the plan. Allowing more homes throughout the city and creating complete neighborhoods is important in addressing racial disparities and climate change, and in giving people real transportation choices. There are many options for where to comment on this. Choose the one (or two or three or more) policies that relate to your reasoning.
- On the housing side, policy 1 Access to Housing may be a personal value, or policy 35 Innovative Housing Types might create living options you or people you know would like. It might be that you’re concerned about policy 43 Housing Displacement lacking detail, that you want to see more investment in 34 Affordable Housing Preservation, your own commitment to 39 Fair Housing, or a call for more 41 Tenant Protections or 42 Expanding Homeownership.
- On the complete neighborhoods side, you might want policy 38 Affordable Housing near Transit and Job Centers, 2 Access to Employment, 4 Access to Commercial Goods and Services, 63 Food Access, or 77 Park Access. Maybe you want it because policy 18 Walking should be a viable transportation choice in every corner of the city, not just the most amenity-rich south and southwest neighborhoods of Minneapolis. Pedestrians know best that the proximity found in a complete neighborhood matters!
- As we advocate to make Minneapolis a great walking city, we know the importance of policy 6 Pedestrian-Oriented Building & Site Design. This one is good, so scan the list of action items for your favorites to reinforce (no new gas stations, maybe?). Please also take a moment to consider how the City can discourage new surface parking lots and the negative impact they have on how walking feels. That’s a big gap. Give Minneapolis some concrete suggestions of what else they should do, and explain why.
- The last Our Streets priority is on transportation. This topic seeks to build “a multimodal network that prioritizes walking, biking and transit.” However, the plan maintains a very auto-focused system. It focuses on incorporating walking, biking, and transit into that auto-focused system. If you want to see true priorities for walking, biking and transit, let them know you want the priorities to be central, actually coming before space for cars. Comment on policies 18 Walking, 19 Bicycling, 20 Transit, or 17 Complete Streets. You might let them know there are some important specifics missing, like greenways and completing the protected bikeways network. Those comments would also fit under policy 77 Park Access.
Comment on Draft Land Use and Built Form Maps
From the Minneapolis 2040 website:
This one is fun, especially for people who love interactive maps. It’s important you share observations and thoughts from your everyday Minneapolis travel.
There are Minneapolis 2040 Draft Land Use and Built Form Maps you can draw on. You can navigate to it on the website under the “Land Use & Built Form” topic. If you’re a person who likes to feel VERY informed, you’ll want to review the context and policies on that page before commenting on the map. That said, you don’t need to!
Once on the interactive map webpage, click on either “2 Comment on Future Land Use” or “3 Comment on Built Form on the left-hand side menu.
I chose “2 Comment on Future Land Use” for this example about a property where today’s use doesn’t match the code on the map. Zoom in until you can find the spot you want to comment on. You can click on a spot to see what is allowed on that land. Note that this only works if the “edit” menu is closed.
You can click on the pencil to get the edit (comment) menu, and then on the green shape, line, or dot to add your comment.
Once you’ve activated the kind of green shape you want to use, click on the spot you want to comment on, and type in your comment. Warning: it’s a little counterintuitive, but when you click out of the box, you’ve successfully submitted your comment! (You can confirm by clicking on the green mark still on the map.)
Now that you know HOW to comment, what are some kinds of comments you might make?
- Use the green dot on the Land Use map to identify a parcel that has a commercial use today, but that is labeled as residential on the map. CPED staff have asked for help identifying all the current commercial spaces mixed into neighborhoods that are already contributing to complete neighborhoods.
- Use green lines or shapes on the Built Form map to highlight places you think should have a different scale of building. There’s a spot with 3.5 story walk-ups in my neighborhood that is mapped as “Interior 2,” a zone that allows buildings only 1-2.5 stories high, which I suggested changing to reflect the current built form.
While Our Streets Minneapolis isn’t making detailed comments on these maps, they are important to achieving the organization’s goals. Here’s a quote from our earlier blog post about why Minneapolis 2040 matters to the organization.
Housing access also matters to us because housing policies created and reinforce our racial disparities. We actively seek and listen to diverse perspectives beyond our membership. We heard the imperative they place - and they ask us to place - on proactively addressing the threats of displacement and rising costs. These pressures are greatest in historically disinvested neighborhoods. Policymakers used redlining, racial covenants, and low-density zoning to exclude people. They created the wealthy, white neighborhoods of south and southwest Minneapolis by excluding people of color. Today, displacement pressures in less expensive neighborhoods are driven by the same land use policies. If we as a city want to ensure people can stay in their communities, we must do two things. First, we must identify proactive anti-displacement policies. Second, we must insist historically exclusive neighborhoods welcome their share of population growth. We must dismantle race-based exclusionary zoning.
With that in mind, explore these maps and offer comments on specific places. What would you change? What else should we be doing? Explain why.
Join us for a Comment Party
The comment deadline is
You can pick and choose what comments you want to make from home. And we hope you’ll join us for a comment party where we’ll go through the steps above together.
2040 Comprehensive Plan Comment Party: Eastside Co-op
Wednesday, July 18th | 6:30 - 8:00 PM
2551 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
2040 Comprehensive Plan Comment Party: Moon Palace Books (as Open Streets is closing down)
Sunday, July 22nd | 4:30 - 6:15 PM
3032 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
If you are able, bring an internet connecting device like a laptop, tablet, or phone. We will have a few to lend out to folks, too.
All are welcome! Both events are accessible for folks using mobility devices and gender neutral restrooms are available. Please invite your friends so we can make as many voices heard as possible.