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Better Bus Stops: Community Engagement

 

Community engagement is a significant element of the Ladders of Opportunity grant. Metro Transit will work with communities in planning, decision-making and implementation on and around decisions and policies related to bus stop improvements. This commitment is grounded in equity, reflected in Thrive MSP 2040 and the Council’s collaborative approach to community engagement.

Community Engagement Team (CET)

To best reach those most directly affected by decisions around transit resources and improvements, Metro Transit has contracted with the region’s Community Engagement Team (CET)comprised of Nexus Community Partners, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs 

In turn, the CET has contracted with community-based organizations for community-centered engagement in support of the Better Bus Stops project. Contracts focus on:

• Influencing Metro Transit’s shelter placement guidelines and bus stop improvement policies

Guiding investment priorities at a subset of bus stops, in cases where the sites cannot readily accommodate a shelter

• Working with Metro Transit in its outreach to property owners to explore solutions at these sites

> Read more about these Community Engagement Contracts

Subcontractor Partner Organizations Focus Neighborhoods
West Broadway Business and Area Coalition Juxtaposition Arts Willard-Hay, Near North, Hawthorne,
Jordan
Harrison Neighborhood Association Northside Residents Redevelopment Council
Redeemer Center for Life
Heritage Park Neighborhood Association
Harrison, Heritage Park, Willard-Hay,
Near North
Jordan Area Community Council Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Jordan, Hawthorne
Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council Heritage Park YMCA Elliot Park, Seward, Webber-Camden
West Bank Community Coalition   Cedar-Riverside/West Bank
Hope Community   Phillips (Ventura Village)
Corcoran Neighborhood Organization Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization
Lyndale Neighborhood Association
Lake Street Council
Corcoran, Central, Lyndale, Powderhorn
Park, Phillips
Nokomis East Neighborhood Association   Nokomis East
St. Paul Smart Trips Frogtown Neighborhood Association Frogtown
West Side Community Organization Neighborhood Development Alliance
Neighborhood House
La Clinica
West Side
Dayton's Bluff Community Council East Side Neighborhood Development Company
Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services
East Side Area Business Association
Hmong American Vanguard Power Alliance for Justice
Dayton's Bluff, Payne-Phalen, Greater East
Side, Eastview-Conway-Battle Creek

Subcontractors Learn and Prepare

In mid-April, Metro Transit staff presented on topics identified by engagement subcontractors as being important to them in their engagement efforts.  Topics included:  Introduction to Bus Service PlanningBus Stop Locations - why bus stops are where they areTransit Information,  Shelter and Bus Stop Design ConsiderationsFacilities Maintenance, and  Regional Transit System Providers and Funding.

Each session included an opportunity for questions.  Those questions and their answers can be found here: Better Bus Stops - Information Session for Subcontractors.



Essential Questions

Metro Transit's community engagement goal is to engage the people and communities who are traditionally under-represented in transit decision-making, and are most affected by these decisions, to ensure that they are involved in this work. It will engage the community in discussions focusing on equity and policy surrounding the investment of resources at the bus stop level, including Essential Questions about:

  1. Shelter Locations: With equity as the goal, what do community members think is important in deciding which bus stops have customer shelters? What community priorities could factor into decisions related to locating shelters?
  2. Shelter Features: With equity as the goal, how do community members prioritize the addition of a heater and interior light within the shelter? What community priorities could factor into decisions related to the addition of a heater and interior light? What priority does community place on transit information at the bus stop?
  3. Historical Significance: Are there buildings/structures/areas near bus stops within your neighborhood that are historically important to the community? If so, what are they?
  4. Shelter Design and Orientation: How much does the shelter style and its location in the sidewalk area affect the customer, pedestrian and property owner experiences?
  5. Regional Equity: In what other ways is Metro Transit able to help community in accessing opportunity and achieving more just and fair inclusion in our region?

Metro Transit will engage the community in discussions and activities that will better inform the criteria the agency uses to prioritize bus stops for shelters, shelters with heat and/or light, pedestrian improvements and transit information. Community engagement will also influence how Metro Transit prioritizes bus stop improvements beyond the Better Bus Stops Program, which will have long-term implications for advancing transit equity in the region.


Outcomes

  1. Improvements will be made at up to 225 bus stops, focused on areas of concentrated poverty where 50 percent or more of the residents are people of color. 
  2. More information about bus stop improvements will be made available to the general public, fostering greater transparency.
  3. Community will provide input that guides investment priorities at a subset of bus stops in cases where the sites cannot readily accommodate a shelter, working with Metro Transit in its outreach to property owners to explore solutions at these sites.
  4. Community will provide input that influences potential changes to shelter placement guidelines and future bus stop improvements.
  5. Lessons learned from this unique model of community engagement.
     

Caitlin Schwartz

Community Outreach and Engagement
612-710-9259 (mobile)
 

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