• 15Nov

    For 2 years I have worked with the Urban Land Institute, Rose Center for Public Leadership, and National League of Cities on a project to provide guidance on best practices for urban / suburban commercial corridors. I was approached to be part of the project after a presentation of the Uptown project, which is held up as a national best practice. That project is featured starting on page 22 of the report.

    ULI Building Healthy Corridors 


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  • 22Aug

    As we discuss our massive $1.4 Billion unfunded street maintenance liability here is an example of how we can do better with what we have. The city invested heavily in making this former state highway into a great place. We just approved our first redevelopment and more are on there way. These higher land uses will further increase our return on investment. We put about $1.5 million “extra” into this area to make it safer and more attractive.

    We are still dealing with issues like making sight lines better. The city took over maintenance of the landscaping July 1, and since then made some changes by Kwik Trip, as the public submits concerns, city staff will continue to check things out.

    I have also asked for before and after collision rates. We have had at least 1 serious collision in the district since the completion of the project. It appears sight lines were not an issue on that one, but rather inattentive driving.

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    Here the red represents added costs to make the district shine and the blue is growth in taxes beyond what would normally be expected.

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    This shows the net Return on Investment over time. It is highly positive and seem to be accelerating. Property values are much higher and redevelopment is happening.

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  • 16Apr

    The improvements the city made to the (Denise Robertson ;-)) Uptown area continue to pay dividends. We took an blighted stretch of roadway that was unsafe for all users and turned it into an urban section that is safe for pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and cars. The market is responding with huge increases in property values, a number of private developments are in the works, and sales of existing properties are off the charts.

     photo Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 10.46.29 AM_zpsshbz2a77.png

    The result is a district that is safer, more attractive, but also generates so much more in tax revenue that it will pay for the full cost of enhancements in less than a decade.

    I look forward to sharing several new developments with the public in the coming months.

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  • 10Sep

    Uptown photo IMG_9278_zps2j96ce0p.jpeg

    The changing nature of the Uptown area has created tremendous interest in the area. In addition to the project we approved last night, there is another large project in the works. The Grandville apartments that were valued at $25 million just sold for $56 million. Commercial valuations on that stretch are up more than 30% since the project started.  While we have seen this happening downtown its great to see the prosperity spread to a formerly blighted area.

    My hope is that we will continue to make these investments in key areas. I would love to transform North and South Broadway in much the same way.

    The total investment in public art in this area was just under 500k.

    Most importantly this area used to be unsafe for cars, transit, bikes and pedestrians. In not accommodates users of all modes, ages, and ability levels. Seniors at Shorewood can now walk to a restaurant. Daycares can now take kids to the park.

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  • 15Jul

    I was stunned by the ignorant comments made by Rep. Duane Quam regarding the successful reconstruction of 2nd street SW. Rep. Quam never made any attempt to attend the dozens of public meetings, contact me or any other staff member about why the road was constructed the way it was.

    Here are the facts:

    From 23rd Ave to the West we did what is called a “road diet” or 4-to-3 conversion. In places where vehicle counts are less than 18,000 per day the 3-lane option is usually more efficient than 4 lanes because of the improvements in left turn motions. After 18,000 vehicles it is more of a grey area. The area we changed has about 9,000 trips per day. The key thing is that the 3-lane design is safer for cars, peds, bikes, and transit. The city and the neighbors believe that is a good thing.

    We added bike lanes to 2nd street SW however that decision is independent of the road diet. We could have added bike lanes without doing the road diet. Rep. Quam believes that on street lanes are more dangerous that off street ones, the problem is that if he had actually checked with actual data from other cities (which is readily available) he would have found that just the opposite is true. He also suggested that a parallel road could have been used, which is great if one actually existed…

    Dozens of meetings were held, where we listened to people, like my friend Andy who was hit by a car crossing 2nd street. Together we came up with a compromise design. Since the changes were made, some property values are up more than 30% and neighborhoods have embraced the changes. A local day care provider is bringing kids to the park for the first time in years because the kids can now safely cross the street.

    I make no claim that everyone is happy. There have been 3 vocal critics including 1 council member. They also choose to actually ignore data. But the overwhelming response is that the neighborhood is far better off.

    Rep. Quam didn’t just express a lack of understanding about the design changes, he went so far as to throw out a crazy conspiracy theory that I was deliberately increasing congestion to promote biking and transit. (Completely ignorant of the fact congestion did NOT increase).

    Duane, please take off the tin foil hat. Willful ignorance is dangerous and my community deserves safe and effective transportation options. Perhaps you should stop by Shorewood Senior Campus and talk with many of the seniors that were involved in making their neighborhood safer.

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  • 27Jan

    For too long the city of Rochester has been reactive to development instead of being proactive.  I proposed 3 zoning changes, two are now in progress and the third is pending.

    1) Protect the integrity of the Kutzky Park Neighborhood. For nearly a decade the neighborhood has led on zoning to better reflect their neighborhood. We will now weigh whether to apply that CN-NR zoning to the residential areas in yellow.

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    2) Revitalize, enhance, and protect our investments in the Uptown Neighborhood mixed use district. We spent millions of dollars in trying to revitalize this area. It is now far more pedestrian friendly. The B2 zoning allows for a mix of uses and higher density when done in a pedestrian and neighborhood friendly manner.

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    3) Take steps to minimize the cost of building the DMC public infrastructure. I carefully reviewed DMC Plan in an effort the keep new development from preventing key pieces of public infrastructure from being built. I suspect my work will result in an official map with will save future dollars.

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    This is just the beginning. Eventually I seek to protect neighborhoods I represent including Kutzky Park, Folwell, Historic SW, Parkway, and Uptown as historic, mixed use, mixed income quality neighborhoods. We will complete the Comprehensive Plan this fall and I hope to rewrite and reapply all going districts there after.

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  • 08Dec

    Thanks to Park, I was able to share this update at a recent meeting at Shorewood Senior Living

    Presentation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxMKqsc4J7x0ZFNmRkpja1JOd00/view?usp=sharing

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  • 24Nov

    Great news, the city secured a grant to further the work at Cascade Lake Regional Park.  We received a $391k out of a maximum or $400k!  Little by little we are finishing this park, the summer of 2015 we will see a completed loop around a quickly evolving park!

    Good afternoon….

    Some good new to share with the Park Board and Council.

    We have been selected for funding through the Conservation Partner Legacy Grant Program in the amount of $391,389 for restoration of the northern shoreline of the Mayo Cell at Cascade Lake.  The estimated project costs are $550,000.   We were one of 14 state wide projects selected through this program which capped the grant amount at $400,000.  We received this grant with the professional assistance of WSB/McGhie & Betts.

    While this is not a large grant compared to some which are received by the City.  This is a large grant in the parks world ….

    Thank you for your support in our efforts to secure the funds.

    -Michael Nigbur

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  • 08Apr

    Uptown Completion
    Gateway district changes to 2nd street
    Historic home set to have demolition permit potentially issued on April 21, 2014
    Joe Weis project approved, still working to make the project better
    Rochester and I defeat Dan Holter, RCL at MN appeals court

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  • 20Nov

    Here is the possible public are being considered for completion of the Uptown Street Project.  This has local businesses and neighbors pretty excited.

    Uptown Art Presentation 

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