Description of Award Categories
Building Owner/Management Company
Companies in this category either own or manage a building and provide exceptional accommodations for visitors who arrive by train, bus, bicycle, foot or by sharing the ride. Visitors include those who travel to the building regularly, like a tenant’s employees, or those who come occasionally, like a restaurant patron. Building owner and management company nominees often highlight the physical assets that support sustainable transportation; this could include a comfortable transit waiting area, shower and changing facilities, or bicycle parking that meets or exceeds best practice standards. However, some of the most compelling Building Owner/Management Company nominations tend to include programming and incentives around sustainable transportation.
Bang Brewing, St. Paul (2015)
Bang Brewing, an organic brewery, was the first St. Paul business to lobby for and receive approval for an on-street bicycle parking corral.
Cushman & Wakefield/Northmarq – Normandale Lake Office Park, Bloomington (2016)
The Cushman & Wakefield/Northmarq team managing the Normandale Lake Office Park positions sustainable commuting resources as an amenity for their tenant businesses. Carpoolers are provided preferential parking spaces; bicycle commuters have access to indoor, secured storage and racks in every parking ramp. Tenants receive regular communications about sustainable commuting and information fairs are held often, where individuals can ask questions about their commuting options. For 13 years the property management team has purchased new commuter bicycles as prizes for a Commuter Challenge, and supported an annual onsite Bicycle Tune-Up event, where individuals working in Normandale Lake Office Park can get a free, professional tune-up in the spring.
An employer’s policies, benefits and workplace amenities have a significant impact on the way in which their employees commute. Nominees in this category employ the commuters traveling to and from their location regularly; commute assistance provided to unpaid volunteers, patients, or other non-employees is not considered part of an employer’s commuter benefits package.
Fresh Energy, St. Paul (2016)
As a result of a very comprehensive commuter benefits package, 90 percent of Fresh Energy’s employees walk, bike or take transit to work. In addition to matching employee’s transit contributions dollar for dollar, Fresh Energy pays $2 per day for walk and bicycle commuting and fully subsidizes Nice Ride memberships. Work-related travel can be completed using the organization’s car2go and HOURCAR corporate accounts.
Barr Engineering, Edina (2015)
Barr Engineering’s annual Commuter Challenge goes above and beyond the usual pledge drive and tabling events to truly engaging with employees about their sustainable transportation options. From May to August, participants log their commutes and receive points for based on their mode choice. Teams compete in a variety of categories; winning teams receive gift certificates to restaurants within walking distance of the Edina office complex. Additionally, Barr promotes sustainable commuting through a dedicated intranet page and an interoffice rideshare board. Bicycle commuters enjoy shower and changing facilities and regular bagel breakfasts during the cycling season.
A government entity is any public agency, division or department within a public agency, or coalition of multiple public agencies. This includes all levels of municipal bodies within the seven-county metropolitan area. Nominees in this category have implemented policies or projects that improve mobility and access to sustainable transportation for their community members.
St. Paul Public Housing Agency (2015)
St. Paul Public Housing Agency (PHA) partnered with several local organizations to promote active transportation among the adults and families living in PHA communities. Residents learned about bicycling and walking as affordable means of transportation in a supportive group environment. Partner organizations included Nice Ride Minnesota, Cycles for Change, Free Bikes 4 Kidz, and St. Paul Women on Bikes. Supported activities included walking groups, group bicycle rides and bicycle maintenance classes.
City of Edina (2013)
The City of Edina took a series of actions in 2013 to encourage sustainable transportation around the community. The City Council adopted a Living Streets policy to balance the needs of motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders; the Council also created a new fund to be used exclusively for improvements to the City’s non-motorized transportation network. Edina also added more than 50 new bicycle racks in primary business nodes and negotiated more than $2.5 million in donated easements from businesses to accommodate pedestrian improvements along France Avenue.
A Commuter Champion is an individual who demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to promoting or advocating for sustainable transportation options in their community, school, or workplace. Nominees in this category live or work within the seven-county metropolitan area. The work for which they are being nominated is not part of their paid work responsibilities.
Alicia Johnson, Macalester College (2015)
Dr. Alicia Johnson designed the curriculum for a freshman statistics class around transit and travel behavior. Students participated in an experiential learning activity on transit early in the fall and then spent the semester conducting and analyzing the results of a campus-wide commuter survey.
Jeff Hainlen, Bloomington Bicycle Alliance (2016)
As the Chair and founder of the Bloomington Bicycle Alliance, Jeff has created a forum for residents to work collaboratively with city officials to improve the bicycling and pedestrian environment in Bloomington.
This category is primarily open to nonprofit organizations that have shown a dedication to sustainable transportation, though it is not their primary function. Organizations with a mission of promotion sustainable transportation and transportation demand management are not eligible. However, projects in which such organizations were partners are eligible.
Minnesota Life College, Richfield (2015, 2016)
Minnesota Life College is a nonprofit vocational and life skills training program for young adults with learning differences and autism spectrum disorders; students engage in sustainable transportation experiential learning each year of their three-year education. Training includes navigating transit with confidence and accessing Metro Mobility services; Minnesota Life College considers transportation skills a key component of progressing their students toward independence.
Friendly Streets Initiative, St. Paul (2013)
The Central Corridor Friendly Streets Initiative was a joint collaboration between Hamline-Midway Coalition and Frogtown Neighborhood Association whose primary purpose was to engage community around the design of Edmund, Charles and Sherburne avenues around the Central Corridor. Focused on both transportation and placemaking, this community-led process was anchored to the experience of stopping as well as moving through the neighborhoods.
Commuter Benefits Coordinator (CBC)
This is a new category in 2017; it recognizes those individuals who go above and beyond in their work to administer commuter benefits. Commuter Benefits Coordinators (sometimes called Transportation Coordinators) don’t always have an official title, but their work duties include administering programs or benefits related to commuting. The most exceptional do more than administer; they actively promote transit, bicycling, carpooling, vanpooling or telework among their colleagues.
Beginning in 2015, judges were asked to identify nominees that did not earn the highest scores but they thought merited special recognition. Often these are nominees who show a lot of promise or whose programs were particularly creative.