2015 Commuter Choice Award Nominees
Building Owners/ Management Companies
Bang Brewing, St. Paul
Bang Brewing hosts the only on-street bike parking corral in St. Paul. Jay and Sandy Boss Febbo, owners of Minnesota’s only dedicated organic brewery, are well-known for their commitment to sustainable transportation; they were selected to host the Minnesota stop of the 2014 Dinner and Bikes Tour, a month-long tour of the United States featuring traveling vegan chef Joshua Ploeg, filmmaker Joe Biel and author Elly Blue.
Base Management/Marquette Plaza, Minneapolis
Marquette Plaza is one of only 63 commercial properties in the world to achieve LEED Platinum status. A strong component of the property’s sustainability practices is providing facilities that encourage multimodal transportation use. Base Management has installed secure indoor bicycle parking and a repair station while improving changing facilities for bicycle commuters. Commuter information fairs are held regularly to educate tenants’ employees about transit, bicycle commuting, carpooling and teleworking. When last polled, 64 percent of employees use sustainable transportation regularly.
Laramar Group/Nic on Fifth Apartments, Minneapolis
Located adjacent to the METRO’s Nicollet Mall Station, The Nic on Fifth residential apartment building is fully accessible to Minneapolis’ sustainable transportation network. Amenities include secure indoor bicycle parking and a repair area along with showering facilities for employees who choose active commute options. Residents have access to car-sharing onsite as well as a secure message board to post ride-sharing opportunities; the 24-hour concierge desk often promotes transit as the preferred way to reach the region’s attractions and events.
Ryan Companies/Capella Tower, Minneapolis
Capella Tower is a commercial office building centrally located in downtown Minneapolis. Tenants have access to transit, the skyway system and preferred bicycle commuting facilities like secure indoor parking, a repair station and showers. In 2014, Ryan Companies completed a $10 million renovation to improve connectivity and access between the exterior of the building, the ground floor and the skyway level. Traffic patterns around the building were transformed to ease access for pedestrians, transit users and bicycle commuters.
City of St. Paul
Under the leadership of Mayor Chris Coleman, St. Paul embarked on several sustainable transportation initiatives in 2014. The 8-80 Vitality Fund was established to promote economic development by increasing activity and vitality on city streets and public spaces throughout St. Paul. The City developed its first comprehensive Bicycle Plan, expanded car-sharing options for residents and visitors, installed 22 new bicycle racks and approved St. Paul’s first on-street bike corral. Partnering with Metro Transit, participants in the City’s Right Track YJ02 program received transit passes, providing easier access for young people during their first month of summer employment.
St. Paul Public Housing Agency
While primarily charged with providing safe, affordable quality housing, the St. Paul Public Housing Agency connects families and individuals with a wide variety of active and healthy living initiatives. In 2014, walking groups were established at three locations, and residents were given access to the Nice Ride Neighborhood and Community Partner programs, Cycles for Change Bike Library, and Free Bike 4 Kidz as well as learning and advocacy opportunities through St. Paul Women on Bikes.
Barr Engineering Co., Edina
The 2014 Barr Commuter Challenge encouraged employees to change their commute behavior by creating cross-departmental teams made up of a combination of aspiring, casual and avid sustainable commuters. The 2014 Challenge saw a 12 percent increase in participation; the percentage of sustainable commutes among participants increased to 53 percent. The employer supports sustainable commuting year-round through its interoffice ride board, carpool registration, biweekly bagel breakfasts for bicycle commuters during the cycling season and showering facilities for active commuters.
Fraser serves children and adults with special needs at more than 40 locations throughout the Twin Cities, most of which are located in residential areas. To reduce the parking impact on these areas, Fraser joined the Metropass program in 2014, allowing its 900 employees to purchase a monthly transit pass through pre-tax payroll deduction.
Additionally, the employer has developed a pilot virtual office program and implemented a summer walking challenge to encourage more active transportation.
Green Tree Servicing, St. Paul
Located centrally in downtown St. Paul, Green Tree has committed to helping employees commute sustainably since 1988. Many of its employees have been motivated to participate in the Metropass program and use their transit pass to commute daily as a result of the company’s generous subsidy of 50 percent of the monthly cost.
Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis
Hennepin County Medical Center promotes sustainable commuting to its employees through a variety of innovative awareness and incentive programs while providing facilities for active commuters. In 2014, a bicycle repair station was installed near secure bicycle parking, which added to the complement of sustainable commute benefits which include pre-tax accounts for transit, vanpool and bicycle commuting expenses, participation in the ZAP bicycle tracking program and onsite helmet sales.
Star Tribune Media Company LLC, Minneapolis
In preparation for an upcoming relocation to the core of downtown Minneapolis, Star Tribune has spent the last year improving its sustainable commuter benefits. Employees are now able to purchase a monthly transit pass through the Metropass program. Current bicycle commuters recruited coworkers to participate in the Zap bicycle tracking program at a tagging event. Regular commuter fairs are held to provide employees with more information about carpooling, car-sharing and transit.
Target Corporate Real Estate, multiple locations
Target employees have access to several amenities and facilities that make sustainable transportation an easy choice, both for commuting and traveling for work at multiple locations. A partnership with Car2Go at Target Northern Campus in Brooklyn Park has resulted in more than 400 car-sharing trips. Bicycling commuting facilities at the Minneapolis headquarters were recognized by Mayor Betsy Hodges at the 2014 Minneapolis Bike to Work Day press conference.
Varsity Bike and Transit, Minneapolis
Owner Rob DeHoff has worked extensively with the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, the city of Minneapolis and the Dinkytown Business Association to improve active transportation infrastructure and promote sustainable transportation options around Varsity Bike and Transit. Varsity employees are encouraged to commute by bicycle through discounts on bicycles and equipment and access to repair facilities.
Yasmin Abdi, Fraser, Minneapolis
Abdi enrolled in the Metropass program as soon as her employer, Fraser, joined in 2014. Beyond her work commute, she regularly uses her monthly transit pass to travel to client appointments around the Twin Cities. Abdi uses public transportation because aligns with her values, specifically consumption reduction.
Alicia Johnson, Macalester College, St. Paul
In her role as Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Johnson developed a transit-focused semester-long assignment for a Fall 2014 freshman class in which students designed, distributed and evaluated the results of a college-wide survey about travel behavior and choices. Beyond her academic responsibilities, Professor Johnson also coordinated a transit tour for the students at the beginning of the semester, to ensure they had a personal connection to the assignment and were introduced to the sustainable transportation options around them.
Jessica Lindgren, Gal Friday 612, Minneapolis
A self-described “proselytizer of alternative transportation,” Lindgren chooses to live car-free and actively promotes the benefits of transit, car-sharing, bike-sharing and carpooling to those around her. As the owner of a small start-up company, she educates all new hires about their sustainable commute options and is in the process of recruiting enough employees to join the Metropass program.
Olga Rocha and Irina Rutz, St. Paul
Rocha and Rutz were model participants in the inaugural Nice Ride Neighborhood program offered through St. Paul Public Housing Agency. Rocha went above and beyond program requirements by recruiting other participants and reminding them about Nice Ride events all summer. Rutz was the only program participant to achieve perfect attendance at all group rides. Both women made the program a success in their communities in 2014 and have committed to doing even more next year.
Kelli Sovell, Bloomington
When her carpool partner had to send her vehicle to the mechanic for several weeks, Sovell took over the driving responsibilities without a second thought. She strongly believes in reducing one’s impact on the environment and continues to carpool regularly to work in Bloomington.
Central Corridor Anchor Partnership, Minneapolis and St. Paul
The Central Corridor Anchor Partnership (CCAP) is a collaborative group of healthcare and higher education institutions near the METRO Green Line. To meet a collective goal of increasing transit ridership 5 percent in five years among employees and students, CCAP embarked on three strategies in 2014: providing discounted transit passes to new riders; improving transit sales and marketing at each institution; and working with faculty to incorporate sustainable transportation into course curriculum and student activities.
Central Corridor College Fellows, St. Paul
The Central Corridor College Fellows (C3 Fellows) connected nearly 350 St. Paul College and Minneapolis Community and Technical College students in health care programs with health care institutions located near the METRO Green Line that were in need of skilled employees. To eliminate barriers related to transportation, participants received transit passes and personal sustainable transportation consultation services from outreach specialists at area Transportation Management Organizations.
Lafayette Park Commuter Team, St. Paul
Enthusiastic staff from five state agencies located in the Lafayette Park area of St. Paul came together to promote sustainable transportation to fellow employees in a very comprehensive way. In 2014, the Commuter Team gathered input from their colleagues on a variety of commute issues, including bicycle accessibility and transit pass subsidies. They developed internal resources about sustainable transportation and successfully advocated for expanded covered bicycle parking.
Minnesota Life College, Richfield
Minnesota Life College empowers young adults affected by the autism spectrum and learning differences to build successful, independent lives and meaningful friendships through a unique apartment-living model. A component of independent living is navigating the transit system, which is taught throughout a student’s three years in the undergraduate program. Skills progress from learning how to board a bus in a supportive environment to planning and taking trips independently. Currently all 39 enrolled students are using transit, taxi or Metro Mobility services at least once a week.
Summit Hill Association/Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Committee, St. Paul
In response to recent pedestrian fatalities and residential concerns, the Summit Hill Association Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Committee has become an effective advocate for a safer pedestrian environment near Grand Avenue in St. Paul. The Committee coordinated with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul Police Department, Mayor Chris Coleman and St. Paul District Councils to institute the first city-wide Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week in August 2014. Additionally, Committee members partnered with the Grand Avenue Business Association to fund a pedestrian flag pilot project, which received positive attention from local businesses, residents and several area media outlets.