Tidbits - February 2024

Highland Friendship Club (HFC), a St. Paul-based nonprofit that provides social and learning opportunities for teens and adults who have disabilities, has created a new full-time staff position, the Community Engagement Manager. Mari Marks Mondanelli has been appointed. Highland Friendship Club was founded in 2002 when two St. Paul moms realized there was a gap in community services available to teens and adults with disabilities. What started as a walking club on Saturday mornings has grown to include more than 30 classes each week in fitness, music, art, book clubs, outings to museums, sporting events and so much more. HFC serves about 200 members and relies on support from community partners and donors.
Public Transit Listening Session FEB. 22
The Hamline Midway Coalition and Union Park District Councils are hosting a special listening session in partnership with leaders from Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council on Thursday, Feb. 22, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Bethlehem in the Midway, located at 436 N Roy St. This conversation will feature key transit leaders including Metro Transit General Manager Lesley Kandaras, Chief Operating Officer Brian Funk, and Metropolitan Council Transportation Chair Deb Barber. “We encourage all community members to attend this event and play a role in shaping the future of public transit in the Midway. From the Green Line to the A Line and more, your insights and feedback are crucial in creating a public transportation system that serves the needs of our diverse community,” say organizers. To register for the event and to submit your questions in advance, please visit tinyurl.com/midwaylisteningsession.
The new Bielenberg Bridge over I-94 that opened in November connects the cities of Oakdale and Woodbury, and will have dedicated lanes for the METRO Gold Line bus rapid transit corridor scheduled to open in 2025. The METRO Gold Line is a 10-mile BRT line serving Saint Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale, and Woodbury with dedicated bus-only lanes (PDF) being constructed generally north of and near Interstate 94. The Gold Line will provide frequent, all-day service in both directions. There will be 16 stations with enhanced features, four park and rides, and connections to new upgraded trails and sidewalks. The corridor’s western terminus will be across the street from Saint Paul’s Union Depot Station served by METRO Green Line light rail, which shares trackage with Blue Line light rail in downtown Minneapolis. The eastern terminus will be Woodlane Drive Station in Woodbury. 
The first-ever convening of communities divided by the federal highway system happened in St. Paul Oct. 12-14, 2023. The Reconnecting Communities Summit gathered leaders from across the nation, and is part of a national restorative movement that will help advance policy and investment in revitalizing communities of color experiencing residual negative impacts of transportation policy. “The story of Rondo is the story of communities across the country. Highway projects have devasted thousands of households,” said Reconnect Rondo Executive Director Keith Baker. “AASHTO is committed to improving quality of life by working toward a transportation system that serves the needs of every community safely, equitably, sustainably, and efficiently,” said Joshua Rodriguez, Director for the AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence (CEE), which sponsored the event.


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