looking east from Pelham Blvd bridge in Saint Paul down on I-94

An open letter to Commissioner Daubenberger outlining demands was sent yesterday. Here’s who signed—and who hasn’t.

The letter is in response to the highly-publicized Reimagining I-94 report released in late March. The report considers the traffic implications and the health, climate, economic, and reparative justice benefits of converting the Rethinking I-94 project corridor into a boulevard. It found concerning errors in MnDOT’s evaluation criteria, including highly flawed and outdated traffic modeling.

The letter asks MnDOT to address the following concerns around the flawed traffic modeling as well as the “unnecessarily constrained” project area, poor community engagement, absence of a plan for anti-displacement and community development policies, and biased evaluation criteria. Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) members, made up of primarily elected officials across the State and Metro area, outlined seven demands:

  • Create an intergovernmental workgroup to implement anti-displacement policies and study repurposing highway land for community benefit
  • Fix inaccurate traffic models and incorporate land-use changes into modeling
  • Include a wide variety of highway removal options in the upcoming scoping decision document and add a “restored network” option with fewer lanes to the studied project alternatives to maximize repurposed land for new affordable housing, businesses and parks
  • Extend the project area to connect into the downtowns and add a portion of Highway 280 in Saint Paul
  • Improve transparency and community engagement, including visualizing what a boulevard conversion would look like in each neighborhood
  • Create a working group on highway conversion projects
  • Revise the project’s evaluation criteria to better measure the impacts on adjacent neighborhoods

Lastly, the PAC members ask that MnDOT revise the project’s evaluation criteria to better measure the impacts on adjacent neighborhoods. As things stand, health and quality of life measures around air quality, sense of place, equity, and connectivity, are vaguely defined, preventing an accurate and holistic assessment of the project alternatives. Without this change, the evaluation process is set up to justify a rebuilt highway.

These PAC members signed the letter:

Minneapolis Council Member Robin Wonsley, Ward 2
Minneapolis Council Member Jamal Osman, Ward 6
St. Paul Council Vice President Hwa Jeong Kim, Ward 5
State Representative Samantha Sencer-Mura, District 63A
State Representative Athena Hollins, District 66B
State Representative Esther Agbaje, District 59B
State Senator Omar Fateh, District 62
Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley, District 4

These PAC members have not yet signed the letter:

State Senator Scott Dibble, District 61sen.scott.dibble@senate.mn
State Senator Bobby Joe Champion, District 59sen.bobby.champion@senate.mn
State Senator Zaynab Mohamed, District 63sen.zaynab.mohamed@senate.mn
State Senator Erin Murphy, District 64sen.erin.murphy@senate.mn
State Senator Sandra Pappas, District 65sen.sandra.pappas@senate.mn
State Senator Clare Oumou Verbeten, District 66sen.clare.oumou.verbeten@senate.mn
State Representative Mohamud Noor, District 60Brep.mohamud.noor@house.mn.gov
State Representative Frank Hornstein, District 61Arep.frank.hornstein@house.mn.gov
State Representative Aisha Gomez, District 62Arep.aisha.gomez@house.mn.gov
State Representative Hodan Hassan, District 62Brep.hodan.hassan@house.mn.gov
State Representative Kaohly Her, District 64Arep.kaohly.her@house.mn.gov
State Representative Samakab Hussein, District 65Arep.samakab.hussein@house.mn.gov
State Representative María Isa Pérez-Vega, District 65Brep.maria.isa.perez-vega@house.mn.gov
State Representative Leigh Finke, District 66Arep.leigh.finke@house.mn.gov
Metropolitan Council Member W. Toni Carter, District 14toni.carter@metc.state.mn.us
Hennepin County Comm’r Kevin Anderson, District 7kevin.anderson@hennepin.us
Ramsey County Commissioner Rena Moran, District 4rena.moran@co.ramsey.mn.us
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Freyjacob.frey@mpls.gov
Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Cartermelvin.carter@ci.stpaul.mn.us
Saint Paul Council Member Mitra Jalali, Ward 4ward4@ci.stpaul.mn.us
Saint Paul Council Member Anika Bowie, Ward 1ward1@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Take Action

The next step of the Rethinking I-94 project begins this fall when MnDOT will finalize the proposed project alternatives.

Take action by emailing key decision makers and standing up for reparative justice.