Monday, September 27, 2010

Smooth Roads

We've all got sections of road that we drive regularly that are in dire need of repair. The one that most quickly comes to mind for me is the hellish stretch of Hennepin Avenue heading south from about the Walker Art museum to Franklin Ave., heading from Downtown Minneapolis to Uptown. Fortunately, they fixed that about a year ago (these repairs even won a "Best Use of a Paver" award in MplsStPaul Magazine's "Best Of" issue!). While nobody likes driving on a road that feels like Sarajevo, there's currently some drama brewing about state money spent to repair highways.

This article in the Star Tribune notes that most funding is being allocated to areas inside the 494-694 loop. Many individuals who live in far-flung suburbs are upset, as a result. And for once, the commenters on a Star Tribune article didn't make me want to punch myself in the face--some good points were made. Should we spend more money on roads that are used by less people? I personally think that (safety aside; I don't think a Minnesotan would argue against fixing a bridge that was on the verge of collapse, in light of the 35W debacle of 2007) funding should be allocated based on frequency of travel. Yes, I'm Minneapolis-centric and biased, but I also think that when one chooses to live far out in the exurbs and even rural areas, they should realize that, along with their quieter life and further-between neighbors, goes less-frequently updated roads and infrastructure. Just as retailers (Walmart excluded) thrive in more populous areas, so should state and federal money.

So, what are your thoughts? Am I being to city-centric in my logic?


  1. Agreed. I certainly don't think the suburban/rural roads should be neglected, but if money is spent in a proportional way (based on approx. # of commuters/use of roads), I think that's only fair.

  2. Also? You can't cry about your property taxes being too high and then complain about bad roads.

  3. Totally! If you choose to live in the burbs, understand that your little side street is not as important as 94. Great post, Buck!