Downtown wins national commuting award

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September 26, 2005 // UPDATED 1:58 pm - April 26, 2007
By: David Brauer
David Brauer

Downtown Minneapolis has been named one of America's 17 "Best Workplaces for Commuters" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The award recognizes business districts with "superb" commuting alternatives to driving alone, according to a city news release. The release states that 60 percent of the 160,000 Downtown commuters get here by transit, carpooling, biking or walking.

A key factor in the award was Downtown's discounted parking for carpools and vanpools in four city ramps and the three massive "Third Avenue Distributor" ramps along I-394 exits into Downtown.

Businesses also reaped credit because many offer at least a $30 monthly benefit to commuters in transit or vanpool subsidies.

Also cited was the Downtown Transportation Management Organization (TMO), which helps employers arrange alternative-transportation incentives. According to organization Executive Director Teresa Wernecke, "By partnering with Metro Transit, vanpools and the TMO, Downtown Minneapolis is able to provide benefits such as car- and vanpool ride-matching, car- and vanpool registration, vanpool subscription and commuting awards such as the Commuter Choice Awards."

Wernecke also cited Downtown bike lanes, bike racks, enclosed lockers and employer-sponsored showers and clothes lockers for those biking to work as noteworthy contributions.

Minneapolis was the only city in the six-state Upper Midwest region to win the award. For more information on TMO services, see www.mplstmo.org.