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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL)

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Improving road safety, recognizing veterans, and more

Monday, November 18, 2019

Rep. Koegel

Dear neighbors, 

I hope you’re staying warm as winter approaches! Unfortunately, for many Minnesotans colder weather means struggling to afford heating bills. Families facing these challenges shouldn’t be stuck in the cold. Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule, which went into effect last month, helps protect people from having their heat shut off when they need it most. Please make sure that your family, friends, and neighbors know about this program and remember to watch out for one another this winter.

Here’s a brief update on the work that I’ve been doing in our community and at the Legislature.


New Lights and Signals on University Avenue

Many residents, myself included, have seen or heard of the many crashes along University Avenue. For many months, I’ve worked with elected officials and state agencies to make this corridor safer and prevent more fatalities. I’m excited to report that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is now installing new lights and signals at several intersections! There’s more work to be done, but these safety improvements are a step in the right direction.

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This photo was taken before work began at the intersection of University and 85th.

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This photo was taken after the lights were upgraded to LED and two new lights were installed. As you can see, the new lights make a big difference!

Over the next two weeks, more lights will be upgraded and flashing yellow arrow signals will be installed at four intersections. You can see which University Avenue and Central Avenue intersections will be impacted here


Northtown Transit Center Relocation

The Northtown Transit Center, which is currently located on University Avenue across from the Northtown Mall, is moving to a new location. Metro Transit plans to demolish the facility and build a new one just south of the mall. The site that they’ve chosen is an overflow parking lot on Sanburnol Drive.

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As a resident of the Sanburnol neighborhood, I understand that folks are concerned about how a new transit center would impact our community. I’ve facilitated many conversations between neighbors and others involved. I also recently attended two listening sessions to learn more about the project and hear what residents have to say. Many thanks to those who joined me! If you weren’t able to make it, you can share your thoughts at metrotransit.com/comment.

The Pioneer Press wrote about the Northtown Transit Center earlier this month. If you’d like to read more about the proposal and my thoughts on it, the article is available here.


Recognizing Veterans

On Veterans Day, I joined a group of local Scouts to salute our service members and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The Scouts were very engaged and asked great questions about road safety, privacy laws, and other issues!

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It’s not enough to thank our veterans once a year. We have a responsibility to ensure that the men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform have opportunities to succeed and thrive throughout the year. Let’s all commit to ensuring that service members can return home to supportive and caring communities.


Addressing the Opioid Crisis

I’m proud to be part of the new Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council, a group of dedicated Minnesotans searching for answers to the opioid crisis. We’re traveling throughout the state to talk to people and communities who’ve been impacted by addiction and working with them to find solutions. We’ve held public meetings in St. Paul and White Earth, and this week we’re holding one in Willmar. I’m looking forward to continuing my work on this issue.


Spring Lake Park Levy Renewals

Earlier this month, our community voted to renew two levies for Spring Lake Park Schools! While I’m proud to see Minnesotans stepping up to ensure that kids get a great education, schools shouldn’t have to rely on levies to prevent teacher layoffs, keep class sizes low, and maintain essential programs. I’m concerned that children in districts that can’t or won’t vote for a referendum or levy won’t receive the world-class education that they deserve. We need to have a serious conversation about the way we fund our schools so we can ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their zip code.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or feedback. You can reach me at rep.erin.koegel@house.mn or 651-296-5369.

Sincerely,

Erin Koegel
State Representative

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