Rail~Volution in MSP

By Emma Struss, North Star Chapter Land Use and Transportation Committee Member

This week the Twin Cities hosted Rail~Volution, a national conference focusing on “Building Livable [Sustainable and Resilient] Communities with Transit.” Contributing to its largest attendance ever, five members of the North Star Chapter’s Land Use and Transportation Committee were able to attend. From the kick-off Sunday evening at Saint Paul’s Union Depot, to the closing remarks Wednesday afternoon, you couldn’t walk anywhere without hearing a buzz of wonky transit terminology: TOD this, multi-modal that. The four day experience included workshops and informal conversations that were both informative and inspiring.

As Minnesotans we should be proud. Overhearing the positive remarks of out-of-town transit gurus about our new METRO Green Line or our Nice Ride bikes reminds us what great work we have accomplished over the past decade. However, workshops highlighting case studies from other peer cities reminds us that we must keep moving forward. There is so much more to be done to improve equity, the economy and environment. The possibilities are exciting but they are not tangible without our voices.

Sierra Club’s Land Use and Transportation Committee leaders Emma Struss, Joshua Houdek, Elliott Shamberg, Matthews Hollinshead and Roger Ricketts (not pictured) at Rail~Volution.

Sierra Club’s Land Use and Transportation Committee leaders Emma Struss, Joshua Houdek, Elliott Shamberg, Matthews Hollinshead and Roger Ricketts (not pictured) at Rail~Volution.

If Rail-Volution did one thing for me this week, it reiterated how important the Move MN campaign is for our state. Move MN is a growing coalition of over 200 communities, organizations, associations and businesses dedicated to fixing Minnesota’s transportation problem. Minnesota cannot grow and attract good jobs when our roads and bridges are wearing out, transit options are woefully inadequate, and communities lack safe bicycling and walking opportunities. In order to truly fix the problem and keep Minnesota competitive, Move MN proposes that new funding must be multi-modal, balanced state-wide, gimmick-free, and dedicated to transportation.

The 2015 legislative session presents an important opportunity for environmental advocates who believe we need greener transportation options. As Sierra Club members, grassroots advocacy is at the core of what we do. I hope this spirit will drive and encourage all of us to help bring a 21st century transit system to our metro region and better transit, bike and walking connections across the state.  Let’s make 2015 the Transportation Session at the Minnesota Capitol!

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Take action at Move MN.
  2. Like Move MN on Facebook
  3. Contact Joshua at 612-659-9124 to get involved in Sierra Club’s Transportation campaign.

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