Tag: transportation

Rochester Leaders See Affordable Housing Success During DMC Site Visit to Twin Cities

As Rochester moves into the next phase of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) journey, it’s fortunate to have a wealth of experience and expertise in handling rapid growth practically on its doorstep: The Twin Cities metropolitan area is an acknowledged national leader in mounting the challenges of bringing new kinds of affordable housing into reality.

And not coincidentally, that’s also a key aspect of the DMC effort to transform Rochester into a world-class magnet for healthcare and an economic driver for the entire Minnesota economy. One of its aims is to create a vibrant, walkable downtown core with a variety of housing options, including workforce and affordable housing.

Although that goal is by no means easy to attain, it can indeed be accomplished with determined efforts, “community buy-in” and a healthy dose of collaboration among all the various civic stakeholders, according to some of the most important movers and shakers behind the recent evolution of Twin Cities’ affordable sector. These front-line veterans gave their advice and analyses to a group of Rochester leaders during a June 4 DMC site visit to the Twin Cities.

For example, former Deputy St. Paul Mayor and current DMC Corporation board member Paul Williams teamed with Gretchen Nicholls, a program director for the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), to describe how affordable housing was integrated early into the “big picture” of the Green Line light rail transit corridor. The venue for this discussion was Hamline Station, a two-building development that opened along the corridor in 2015 with more than 100 efficiency, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments affordable to residents earning 50 to 60 percent of the median area income. 

Nicholls told of how the Twin Cities office of LISC, a nonprofit dedicated to providing financing for nearly every aspect of affordable housing, took the point position on “The Big Picture Project,” which began in 2012 as a cross-sector partnership aimed at a more coordinated approach to affordable housing development along the 11-mile line connecting the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Through the effort, some 4,820 affordable housing units were newly constructed or preserved, surpassing a goal of securing 4,500 affordable units by 2020.

The Rochester contingent also visited the Lowertown neighborhood, where they heard of how artist-specific affordable housing can act as a catalyst for broader development and tax-base growth. At the Northern Warehouse Artist Lofts, leaders of developer Artspace conducted tours of the historic building’s attractive home/studio units and described how a cluster of similar affordable artists’ residences helped transform a once-desolate section of downtown St. Paul into a magnet for nightlife and private-sector multifamily housing investments. Lessons from the Twin Cities’ experience in developing affordable housing around a new transit project came in both big and small perspectives and was a valuable learning opportunity for the Rochester contingent.

Press Release: Destination Medical Center Corporation Board Green Lights Mobility Hub Locations in Rochester

(Rochester, MN) Feb. 5, 2019 – The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors today approved a resolution supporting two preliminary mobility hub locations in Rochester, MN, and authorizing up to $400,000 in financial support for additional studies and engineering.

The two recommended mobility hub locations – approximately four miles apart – will be connected by bus rapid transit (BRT). This high-capacity circulator will transport commuters, community members, and visitors into and around downtown Rochester in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner.

“We have chosen sites for transit hubs, but our vision is they are mobility villages where people can live, possibly work and park for the day,” said DMCC Board Chair R.T. Rybak. “We don’t just want to build ramps. We want to build communities.”

In addition to the significant progress with the DMC transportation plan, nine private development projects, totaling more than $300 million, have planned openings in the DMC district in 2019. They include: Hilton hotel, First Avenue parking ramp, One Discovery Square, Urban on First apartments, Residence at Discovery Square apartments, Hotel Indigo (Holiday Inn renovation), Wells Fargo renovation, Chateau Theatre short-term use renovation and the Ronald McDonald House expansion.

“2019 is a remarkable year for Rochester, noted DMC Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke. “We are well on our way to achieving the DMC vision and creating a livable, sustainable and vibrant city.”

In his new role as Mayo Clinic President and CEO, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia (jan-REE-koh fa-ROO-jah), a 30-year veteran with Mayo Clinic, met with DMCC Board members and provided a few remarks.

“Mayo Clinic’s commitment to Rochester, the state of Minnesota and DMC is very strong,” said Farrugia. “Mayo has experienced significant growth over the last five years, and we expect even more economic growth and development going forward.”

Farrugia noted that Mayo Clinic will invest over $1 billion in Rochester facilities and equipment between now and 2021.

Following the board meeting, DMCC hosted a collaborative session with the Destination Medical Center EDA Board, Rochester City Council and Olmsted County Board of Commissioners.

About DMC

 

Destination Medical Center (DMC) is the largest public-private economic initiative in Minnesota’s history. The 20-year plan to transform Rochester into a global destination for health and wellness will attract developers, investors, startups, and entrepreneurs to live, work and play in America’s City for Health. For more information, visit dmc.mn.

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Destination Medical Center Corporation Board Green Lights Mobility Hub Locations in Rochester

“Our vision is for mobility villages where people can live, possibly work, and park for the day,” ~ R.T. Rybak.

The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors at its February meeting, approved a resolution supporting two preliminary mobility hub locations in Rochester, MN, and authorizing up to $400,000 in financial support for additional studies and engineering.

The two recommended mobility hub locations – approximately four miles apart – will be connected by bus rapid transit (BRT). This high-capacity circulator will transport commuters, community members, and visitors into and around downtown Rochester in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner.

“We have chosen sites for transit hubs, but our vision is they are mobility villages where people can live, possibly work and park for the day,” said DMCC Board Chair R.T. Rybak. “We don’t just want to build ramps. We want to build communities.”

Proposed Mobility Hub Locations, Rochester, MN

In addition to the significant progress with the DMC transportation plan, nine private development projects, totaling more than $300 million, have planned openings in the DMC district in 2019. They include: Hilton hotel, First Avenue parking ramp, One Discovery Square, Urban on First apartments, Residence at Discovery Square apartments, Hotel Indigo (Holiday Inn renovation), Wells Fargo renovation, Chateau Theatre short-term use renovation, and the Ronald McDonald House expansion.  

“2019 is a remarkable year for Rochester, noted DMC Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke. “We are well on our way to achieving the DMC vision and creating a livable, sustainable and vibrant city.”

In his new role as Mayo Clinic President and CEO, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, a 30-year veteran with Mayo Clinic, met with DMCC Board members and provided a few remarks.  

“Mayo Clinic’s commitment to Rochester, the state of Minnesota and DMC is very strong,” said Farrugia. “Mayo has experienced significant growth over the last five years, and we expect even more economic growth and development going forward.”

Farrugia noted that Mayo Clinic will invest over $1 billion in Rochester facilities and equipment between now and 2021.

Following the board meeting, DMCC hosted a collaborative session with the Destination Medical Center EDA Board, Rochester City Council and Olmsted County Board of Commissioners.

 

Arrive Rochester: A new way to Arrive

Transportation is a priority of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative, and the new transportation management association (TMA) – Arrive Rochester – strives to make commuting easier for downtown Rochester employees.

Arrive Rochester is an initiative of the City of Rochester, DMC, and local employers. Arrive Rochester is part of the broader DMC plan and City of Rochester Comprehensive Plan. Both plans identify the need to shift downtown commuters to more sustainable travel modes such as carpooling, transit, walking, and cycling. This initiative is the product of more than a year’s work by the Arrive Rochester Advisory Committee, a voluntary group of representatives from the city, DMC, local businesses, and other transportation stakeholders.

Active transportation and its community benefits

What makes a city great? According to Gil Penalosa, a great city is one that is livable and safe – both for an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old.

Gil Penalosa

Penalosa is the founder of internationally known nonprofit 8-80 Cities and the chair of the board of World Urban Parks. The world-renowned urbanist advises communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone – regardless of age, gender, or social, economic, or ethnic background.

The pioneer of the “Open Streets” movement, Penalosa has led the development of over 200 parks and worked in over 300 cities worldwide. He concentrates on design, use of parks and streets as public spaces, and sustainable mobility via bike, foot, car, and public transit and is passionate about building cities for all people.

Rochester hosts Bike+Walk Minnesota conference

This spring, Rochester is proud to welcome the Bike+Walk Minnesota conference (April 29 – May 1), bringing together planners, professionals, and advocates from across Minnesota to explore connections between biking and walking, discuss how communities are creating better public spaces for all users, and address the open-ended question of what comes next for transportation and recreation options in Rochester and around the state.

What’s happening at the Bike+Walk conference?

Opportunities to network begin the evening of Sunday, April 29 with conference programming and breakout sessions running from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon.

Help Rochester International Airport improve the air travel experience

Airports are more than just a center through which people travel. They play a vital role in social and economic development, and, in a health-focused community like Rochester, a quality travel experience is vital for patients, visitors, and community members.

With up to 13 flights daily, Rochester International Airport (RST) is home to three of the “Big Four” airlines: American, Delta, and United. The regional hub has seen a 27% passenger growth over the past year, serving more than 290,000 passengers. A $12-million-dollar airport renovation to provide new, improved services and amenities for travelers is almost complete.

Passenger numbers soar at Rochester International Airport

2017 was a big year for the Rochester International Airport (RST), which saw a 27% increase in passengers over 2016.

Why the significant year-over-year increase?

In 2017, RST introduced several new flight options. United Airlines added new service to Chicago O’Hare, Delta increased frequency on routes to Atlanta and Minneapolis, and American Airlines continued to offer daily flights to Chicago O’Hare as well.

Meet #AccessibleOlli: The future of autonomous accessible transportation

For one week each January, tens of thousands of innovators, tech pioneers, and business leaders from around the world gather in Las Vegas for CES 2018* to introduce their next-generation ideas to the global marketplace.

Accessible Olli

This year, #AccessibleOlli made the journey to Las Vegas. If you’re not yet acquainted with Olli, it’s the future of autonomous public transportation. The electric, self-driving shuttle holds up to 10 people and is 90-percent 3D-printed. Olli offers transportation solutions for individuals with mobility limitations, cognitive disorders, and vision and hearing impairments.

Take the Commuter Challenge

Driving alone may seem like the most convenient way to get around Rochester, but traveling solo is not always the best – and certainly not the only – travel option.

Currently, about 40,000 people travel downtown for work each day, and local transportation studies show that around 75% of those employees drive to work. But with DMC expected to attract 30,000 additional jobs during the course of the initiative, planners have been looking at other modes of transportation to reduce traffic congestion and parking issues.

“What we learned time and time again from other cities across the nation is that transit is number one,” says DMC Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke. “It’s really critical to get it right on the front end.”

Short-term and long-term planning efforts to enhance Rochester’s transportation are underway. The week of November 13, the city of Rochester is promoting a fall Commuter Challenge to encourage workers and residents to explore different means of transit to get to work or around the community.