Last Friday the City Council unanimously approved a set of principles
that outline the City’s shared vision for building a new Interstate 35W Bridge.
I hope these reflect a view widely shared by people throughout Minneapolis that we need to build, not only a safe bridge, but also take the time to build the best brdige we can that will help meet future transportation needs.
I would also like to offer some of my own comments and observations about the tragic I-35W bridge collapse over the Mississippi.
First and foremost, my thoughts go out to all who have lost loved ones, who are missing family and friends and who are suffering because of the collapse. I hope that you and your family, friends and loved ones are safe and unharmed. For all of us, as individuals and as a community, this has been a shocking experience and a devastating loss. While things may seem stable and in many ways our community is coming to terms with this shock, let's not forget that some are still caught in the moment, grieving the loss of family members, co-workers and friends, in anguish for loved ones who are still missing, or struggling to recover and survive from injuries resulting from the fall. Please keep these people in your thoughts.
Second, I want to share a little of how proud I am of our community and all the personnel of the City and other government agencies, volunteers and others who were able to respond quickly and competently to this disaster. City staff and elected officials are, and have been, fully engaged in doing everything we can to respond to this terrible disaster. From the courage and competence on the street in the actions of the scores of first responders to the highly skilled and focused leadership at the Emergency Operations Command Center, we have a lot to be proud of.
We also have so much to be grateful for. I want to thank all the people in Ward 2 and the city for their patience, support and willingness to pitch in and help during this crisis. Special thanks go to the Holiday Inn and Augsburg College for opening their doors to house our emergency family response/operations center. They generously provided space for Red Cross workers, chaplains and city staff who were assisting families of victims and missing loved ones. Thanks also to the Brian Coyle Center for hosting the Muslim response to the tragedy last week, and the associated Red Cross blood drive. The outpouring of support from the emergency response teams from all over the County and State, the chaplains, Red Cross personnel, those who have donated food and supplies, all must be acknowledged.
The City Council has been very engaged in the response to this over the past weeks. In addition to the statement of principles we recently passed, Council Members Hofstede, Ostrow and I scheduled a community meeting on Monday in Southeast Como. We were joined by Public Works and Mn Department of Transportation staff who gave information and solicited input on transportation issues.
There will be a public hearing on the "Municipal Consent" process for the design of the new I-35W bridge on Thursday, September 20, 5:30 pm, Thrivent Financial Auditorium, 625 4th Ave S.
For more information go here
Finally, I encourage all of you who will be coming to or through the Univeristy and downtown areas to consider taking a bicycle or public transit, both to speed up your own commute and to reduce congestion. Go here
for transit information and here for a map of bike routes
I am hopeful that in the months and years ahead, this catastrophe will help refocus our attention on maintaining our infrastructure, to prevent future tragedies like this.