Mpls City Council approves Lyft/UberX regulations; Blong Yang casts sole nay vote

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Lyft and its mustachioed cars are now legit in Minneapolis.
This morning, the Minneapolis City Council approved an ordinance regulating so-called Transportation Network Companies like Lyft and UberX .

Council also approved changes to the city's taxi ordinance that deregulate cab companies to an extent in hopes they'll be able to compete with the new TNCs.

See also:
Mpls cab companies not thrilled about impending Lyft/UberX ordinance


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Condo residents disappointed, but resigning themselves to SWLRT agreement

Categories: Transportation

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Flickr via Mulad

While the mayor's office and Metro Council may have reached a compromise on the Southwest Light Rail Transit project earlier this week, there certainly hasn't been universal acclaim for the agreement. People have complained about the route for countless reasons -- noise, vibrations, foliage, you name it.

But among the loudest voices for a different route have been condominium associations, especially the ones located right along the proposed line. Their case wasn't helped after the Tuesday compromise, as the mayor's office announced that the proposed tunnel south of the channel between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles -- a tunnel that the condominium associations have been so worried about -- will still be going in.

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Southwest LRT takes step forward with Minneapolis, Met Council agreement


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Southwest LRT takes step forward with Minneapolis, Met Council agreement

Categories: Transportation

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Images via Met Council and Mulad on Flickr
A prelimary map of the Southwest LRT line's proposed route.
It might not seem like much to those who haven't followed the project closely, but the proposed Southwest LRT line took a significant step forward yesterday with the announcement of an agreement between Minneapolis and the Met Council about how the line will move through Minneapolis.

Minneapolis officials agreed to eliminate an underground tunnel "north of the water channel connecting Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles." That might not be ideal for residents who live in the area, but it saves money and allows a station at 21st Street to be reincorporated as part of the plan. (A tunnel further south remains part of the project.)

See also:
Met Council not concerned about Southwest LRT's exclusion from Dayton's bonding bill


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Minneapolis officials advance Lyft/UberX ordinance despite taxi company objections

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Ernesto De Quesada on Flickr
Yesterday, the Minneapolis Community Development & Regulatory Services Committee unanimously approved a new ordinance that will regulate so-called "transportation network companies" like Lyft and UberX, along with changes to the city's taxi ordinance.

The vote means the package of new regulations heads to the full City Council, which could give its final approval next Friday.

See also:
Despite Commerce Department warning, Jacob Frey says Uber/Lyft ordinance still on its way


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Mpls cab companies not thrilled about impending Lyft/UberX ordinance

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Frey on Lyft and UberX: "I think the taxi industry needed some competition."
This week, the Minneapolis City Council Transportation and Public Works Committee will get its first crack at the city's revised taxi regulations and its brand-new "Transportation Network Companies" ordinance. If they approve it, it'll head to the full council for consideration during next week's meeting.

But the author of the TNC ordinance, council member Jacob Frey, acknowledges that even as the city plans to get serious about regulating TNCs and deregulating cabs, "I don't know I can say [taxi companies] are on board with the ordinance at this point."

See also:
St. Paul also plans to regulate Lyft, UberX


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Green Line construction didn't scare businesses from Central Corridor -- quite the opposite

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Photos via Laura Baenen
The Episcopal Homes development on the former Porky's Drive-In site is one of many new construction projects along the Green Line.
One of the arguments rail haters made when LRT line being seriously discussed for University Avenue was that construction itself would kill local businesses.

With University ripped up for years, parking would be hard to find, and customers would forsake the Central Corridor in favor of more accessible places, the theory went. But numbers provided to us by the Metropolitan Council indicate that's not at all how it played out in reality.

See also:
Anti-LRT protest on Green Line's opening day was a bust


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St. Paul also plans to regulate Lyft, UberX

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Lyft pic via Alfredo Mendez; St. Paul pic via Meghan Newell
So-called "TNCs" like Lyft currently operate without regulations in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
As Minneapolis officials ready a new "transportation network company" ordinance that will regulate cutting-edge taxi-style services like Lyft and UberX for City Council consideration (more on that in coming days), Ricardo Cervantes, St. Paul's director of the Department of Safety and Inspections, tells us his city will soon follow suit.

"We are interested in regulating the TNC companies, and just for your information, we've been working with Minneapolis and with the Metropolitan Airports Commission in regard to the language," Cervantes says. "We're looking at the language Minneapolis is currently proposing, and so we've kinda been walking this walk, doing best practices studies, looking at other cities and seeing how they're regulating TNCs, both for the protection of passengers and drivers."

See also:
St. Paul streetcar: Council member would rather give each business $1 million than build line


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Twin Cities commuters spend more than two days a year stuck in traffic, study says

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edmenendez | Flickr Creative Commons
Traffic was apparently moving smoothly through downtown on this morning.
TomTom's 2014 Traffic Index uses GPS data from millions of users to break down both how congested each major metro in the Americas is relative to the others and which times of the week are most gridlocked.

The study indicates our roadways are relatively unclogged -- out of the 62 cities evaluated, the Twin Cities ranked as the 42nd most congested. But last year was a little hairier than 2012, as congestion increased by about 20 percent year to year.

See also:
Minnesota's highways among the worst in the nation, study says


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School bus dash camera captures semi nearly smashing little girl [VIDEO]

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The semi passed on the shoulder at the same time the little girl was trying to board the bus.
:::: UPDATE :::: The semi driver has turned himself in, the State Patrol announced late last night.

The Minnesota State Patrol is looking for a semi driver who nearly smashed a little girl boarding a school bus near Paynesville on May 30.

As the bus rolled to a stop to pickup the girl on Highway 23 that morning, the semi blew past its flashing lights and extended stop arm and passed on the right-hand shoulder just as the girl was approaching the bus from that side of the road.

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Check out this insane footage of 61-car pileup on Mendota Bridge


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Green Line LRT will indeed get you home after bar close time [NEW TIME-LAPSE VIDEO]

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Central Corridor LRT on Twitter
It might not get you there as quickly as you'd like (at least at first), but the recently released opening day schedule for Green Line LRT indicates the train will indeed take you home after you close down the bar.

Though the initial plan was for trains to only run until about 1 a.m., Metro Transit apparently reconsidered and beefed up service. Both during the week and on weekends, trains depart Target Field for Union Depot and vice versa at least once an hour throughout the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

See also:
Despite Commerce Department warning, Jacob Frey says Uber/Lyft ordinance still on its way


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