Kelly, Coleman speak out as November 8 election nears


RANDY KELLY MW: St Paul has a lot of colleges. As mayor, how will you utilize this resource?

RK: Our colleges are a great asset to us, and what I’ve tried to do is to reach out and develop partnerships with St. Thomas, for example, and Concordia, on a variety of things, such as our education initiative. Students, faculty and alumni from many of our colleges are out in our elementary schools teaching children reading and the like. I get advice and counsel from our colleges with regard to urban planning and design. So better connecting the colleges and their skills and talents to the city is something I pursued and would continue to pursue in a second Kelly administration.

MW: A lot of Macalester students don’t have cars. Tell us your plans for alternative transportation, aside from light rail on university.

RK: We want to develop commuter rail also, high speed to Chicago and to Milwaukee. Each time we do a redevelopment, we want to create more bike lanes. We want to make it easier for people to walk and to run in our city, in terms of pedestrian safety, calming traffic and those sorts of things. I think streetcars connecting downtown to Grand Avenue, to Selby, and to the East Side make a lot of sense; we’re studying that right now.


MW: St. Paul has a lot of colleges. As mayor, how would you utilize this resource?

CC: I worked with a group called Campus Compact, an organization that partners college students with nonprofit organizations to work with children’s programs and test for lead-based paint in old homes. It’s a really great partnership between colleges and universities across the state of Minnesota, so I would like to prolong that. And I would like to use the resources of the schools to do urban planning; do business development. For instance: helping some of the business students at the colleges work with entrepreneurs that need assistance putting together a business plan.

MW: A lot of students at Macalester don’t have cars. As Mayor, how would you support alternative transportation–aside from light rail down university?

CC: There’s been some discussion of having old streetcars on Grand Avenue that would take people from campuses and bring them into downtown. One of the things I want to have happen is for college students to go in and use downtown as an entertainment destination, but that’s not happening right now, and part of that is because of transportation. So light rail is important, but improved bus service is important, and having connections between all the campuses is important; using a streetcar type of system could be another way to do that. The other thing is this “hour car,” where you can call up hybrid vehicles and rent one for a couple of hours. It’s almost like a rent-a-car, but it’s controlled by a non-profit group. That could actually provide savings to the city and provide hybrid vehicles for people to use for short periods of time.