OUR OPINION: Citizens speak, city hears them

November 15, 2017 GMT

A genuine desire to listen and, to the extent possible, embrace suggestions from the public is a hallmark of good government - at any level.

At the local level, road construction projects provide opportunities for demonstration of commitment to this principle.

Road work is, of course, a necessary evil for any city, but in meeting this fundamental obligation our local government should establish dialogue with those directly impacted by these projects.

In our view, planned road work on Morningside Avenue between South Lakeport Street and South St. Aubin Street represents a commendable example of government and citizens working together.


In September, the city presented its proposal for work on this half-mile stretch of Morningside Avenue.

Part of the project, which will begin in May and end in November 2018, involves replacement of pavement and sidewalks as well as water and sewer infrastructure between South Lakeport Street and South Nicollet Street.

Also included in the original proposal were plans to change a two-block section of Morningside Avenue from South Patterson Street to South St. Aubin Street from four lanes of traffic to three and to add back-in angle parking on the south side.

Owners of private businesses objected. They said those changes would be a deterrent for their customers. They wanted traffic flow and parking to remain the same.

As a result, the city changed its mind.

“We’re looking at putting Morningside Avenue back as the four-lane, concrete paving that you see there today,” city engineer Justin Pottorff told residents who met with city staff and representatives of DGR Engineering on Nov. 2. “There’s no three lanes on this, there’s no back-in angle parking, nothing crazy like that.”

Good for affected citizens for speaking up. Good for the city for hearing them.

That’s how responsive government operates.