The Aware Citizen

How to get the City services YOU want, and figure out the rest.

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The Aware Citizen is no more

Thank you to all who have followed me in my journey to blog about the City. With advent of Twitter and the growth of Facebook and social media in general, my blog is no longer needed.

Minneapolis is a great city. Enjoy it to the fullest!!


See you around!!!



Sabo Bridge

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Sabo Bridge

Sabo bridge closes for routine maintenance Aug. 6-7
The Sabo bike and pedestrian bridge over Hiawatha Avenue in south Minneapolis will close for routine maintenance over a two-day period next week. During the closure, bicyclists and pedestrians should follow all posted detours.

The bridge will close the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 6. Crews plan to reopen it the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 7 once all work is completed. Motor vehicle traffic on Hiawatha Avenue will not be affected by the bridge’s closure.

The 215 foot-long Sabo bridge opened in November of 2007. It’s part of the 5.7-mile Midtown Greenway, which connects the Chain of Lakes with the Mississippi River in south Minneapoli

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Are you a biking novice? Try these new Bike Boulevards!

from MPR News

Minneapolis is planning to add two significant lengths of street to the city’s system of bike-friendly paths and boulevards.

But these aren’t projects intended primarily for the already-spandexed. Instead, Minneapolis planners want the new bike boulevards to serve as a gateway for people who are intimidated by riding on streets with heavy car traffic.

The goal is to attract a new groups of people to biking in Minneapolis, said city Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator Shaun Murphy.

“We know that the commuters and recreational people will probably be attracted to this too, but this is really about getting people who are more timid in traffic out,” Murphy said. “It’s about trying to appeal to a wider array of people rather than a smaller slice or special interest.”

The planned bike boulevards in south and northeast Minneapolis are slightly different than previous efforts because they’re incorporating more devices that “calm” motorized traffic on the streets. That means things like bumped out curbs, traffic circles and speed bumps. Cars still will be allowed, and parking won’t really be impacted, but the instinct will be to drive more slowly and carefully.

Murphy said most of those design ideas were vetted by the communities they’re in. The Powderhorn neighborhood boulevard will have three traffic circles, all of which will contain gardens maintained by neighbors, while the Marcy Holmes segment doesn’t have any traffic circles because the design didn’t appeal to residents.

“With all traffic calming there’s positives and negatives,” Murphy said. “The best thing is to just go to the people who live there and say, ‘What are you comfortable with?’”

And it’s an added bonus that the seven miles of new bike boulevard flows into Minneapolis’ already extensive bike and pedestrian system, which includes 92 miles of on-street and 85 miles of off-street bikeways. The Southern Bike Connection hooks up with a trail around Minnehaha Creek while the boulevard in northeast leads right up to the Stone Arch Bridge.

The new Southern Bike Connection runs on 17th Avenue South between 24th Street and Minnehaha Parkway. It then continues south on 12th Avenue South.

Map of Southern Bike Connection

The Stone Arch Bridge and Presidents Bike Boulevard in northeast Minneapolis starts at Tyler Street Northeast and zig-zags down to 6th Avenue Southeast.

The combined cost for the two projects is $985,000, which is covered by federal funds from the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program. Construction on the projects is expected to be complete this fall.

Map of Presidents Bike Blvd 

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Take care of unsightly graffiti!


Did you leave for work this morning and find an unreadable  scrawl on the side of your house/garage/shed? Report it! 

Even though it may look  interesting, graffiti has a negative effect on neighborhoods by decreasing property values and attracting criminal activity.  If you see someone making graffiti, please call 911!

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Pollution Advisory for the Twin Cities!

from City of Minneapolis Website

Air quality advisory issued for metro area through Monday, July 8 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health advisory for the Twin Cities, effective through Monday, July 8, 2013. Mostly sunny skies, temperatures in the low-90s and light southerly winds are expected to enhance ozone formation leading to pollution concentrations that are near a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Ozone concentrations are expected to rise to 93 Air Quality Index Monday afternoon.

Health Precautions:
Those who have respiratory or cardiovascular problems, young children, the elderly, and individuals whom are physically active are considered especially sensitive to elevated levels of air pollution. Be prepared to postpone or reduce vigorous activity. Ozone and fine particles can be drawn deeply into the lungs, so reduce activities that lead to deep or accelerated breathing. Even individuals that are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when air pollutant levels increase.

How you can help:
Residents can take simple steps to help reduce emissions that create smog. Motor vehicle emissions contribute to fine particle pollution. To lower levels of air pollution, the MPCA is urging residents to use alternate modes of transportation such as mass transit, car pools, biking and walking to work or shop.

Other measures that will help reduce emissions on days when the Index reaches 100 and above include:

1. Limit driving – share a ride to work and postpone errands until the next day.

2. Don’t idle your vehicle for more than three minutes**

3. Refuel your vehicle after 6 p.m.

4. Leave your car at home and walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation whenever you can.

5. Postpone using other gasoline-powered engines, like garden and recreational equipment.

6. Postpone indoor and outdoor recreational fires.

7. To reduce the demand on power plants, turn off as many electric items as possible.

8. If you fall in the sensitive group category, arrange to work indoors for the day.

**The City of Minneapolis has an ordinance that limits on vehicle idling that aim to reduce air pollution in Minneapolis. The ordinance limits most vehicle idling to three minutes, except in traffic. Reducing vehicle idling in Minneapolis translates into less air pollution, protecting the public health and the environment and saving money in fuel. Vehicle motors release particulate matter, dirt, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air.


Visit for information on current air quality conditions in your area. To receive daily air quality forecasts and air quality alert notifications by email or text message sign up at

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Watch for sealcoating work!

SealcoatingBike2013 Sealcoating – Plan for Rough Riding and Walking Conditions on Some Streets

City of Minneapolis sent this bulletin at 07/08/2013 11:00 AM CDT

Bicycle and Pedestrian Update Subscribers,

Beginning July 9, a number of Minneapolis streets, alleys and parkways will be resurfaced through a process known as sealcoating. City crews will cover about two or three locations each weekday, completing the citywide effort by late July. The sealcoating process involves spreading stone chips over liquid asphalt. The stone chips are then compacted in the liquid asphalt and excess chips are swept up about one week later.

Due to the loose stone chips, the sealcoating process can create potentially hazardous conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians. “Loose Gravel” signs will be placed at the start of all sealcoat locations and at all street and trail crossings. Sealcoated streets and parkways will remain open, although bicyclists and pedestrians are encouraged to use alternative routes. If you must travel on these streets, please use extreme care and caution.

While sealcoating creates rough riding and walking conditions in the short term, the process does extend the lifespan of pavement by protecting from solar and water damage. Sealcoating also increases pavement friction, which improves safety, especially during the winter months.

Stay informed about sealcoating near you:

Happy riding and walking,

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City of Minneapolis completes the new recycling roll-out!

From the City of Minneapolis’ webpage…

Truck Art one-sort cart

One-Sort Recycling Collection

As of June 14th, 2013 all Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling cusomers have received their one-sort recycling carts.

Recycling Service:

  • Recycling is collected every other week.  The maximum weight for the 96-gallon large one-sort cart and its contents is 200 pounds.
  • Your recycling cart must at your collection point by by 6:00 a.m. each recycling week.
  • Customers are provided with a recycling cart, either a small or a large cart.  City crews deliver and maintain all carts.  If your cart is damaged, call Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917 to request for your cart to be repaired.
  • Extra recyclables may be placed next to the recycling cart in a cardboard box, a paper bag or in another container no larger than 30 gallons in size.  If you consistently have extra recycling, call Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917 to request an additional one-sort cart.
  • Your collection day is assigned by the Solid Waste & Recycling Division.  Routes are created so the Division operates in the most cost-effective way.  Look up your collection day.
  • In the winter, remember to shovel a 3 foot wide path to your cart, including snow left by the plow.  See Snow Shoveling for specific shoveling requirements.

How to Prepare Your Recycling:

One-sort makes recycling easier!  Simply rinse your containers and place all recyclables loose or in paper bags in your one-sort cart.  Do notplace plastic bags in your recycling cart.  You may collect your recycling in plastic bags, but you must dump the recyclables out of the plastic bag into the cart and place the plastic bag in the garbage or bring it to a second hand store for reuse or a participating grocery store for recycling.  You may also collect your recycling in a resuable bag and empty the contents into your one-sort cart for collection.

Materials accepted for recycling include:


For more detailed information on paper and container recycling, visit the following pages:

Paper Recycling

Food, Beverage & Other Container Recycling

Old Blue and Green Recycling Bins:

We encourage you to keep your curbside bins and reuse them for an alternative purpose such as storing toys or lawncare supplies.  Do not store any bins that you want to keep at your collection point.  After you receive your one-sort cart, any old bins left at your collection area will be collected by City crews for recycling and cannot be returned.

Educational Tag:

Our crews cannot pick up your recycling if there is a problem with it.  Unacceptable recycling will be marked with an educational recycling tag.  If you find a tag, please read it over to understand what the issue with the recycling is, correct the problem, and place your recycling out on your next recycling day.

Some reasons why your recycling may not be picked up include:

  • Non-recyclable materials such as garbage and plastic bags were found in the recycling cart.
  • Recyclables were contaminated: items must be rinsed before placed in the one-sort cart.
  • Recycling cart was not shoveled and free from snow and ice.
  • Recycling was not at the pickup area, next to the garbage cart.
  • Recycling was not out for pickup on the correct recycling week.
  • Recycling cart weighed over 200 pounds.

Missed Recycling:

If you do not find an educational tag and you believe your recycling was missed, please wait until after 3:30 p.m. on the day of pickup before calling Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917.  Sorry, but we will not return for recycling if your cart was not out on time.

Collection Time:

Your recycling will be picked up at any time starting at 6:00 a.m. on your collection day.  You may notice your recycling is collected at about the same time every other week.  Please understand that changes in weather conditions, crew assignments and equipment problems can change your pickup to earlier or later in the day.  Please make sure your recycling is always out by 6:00 a.m. on your collection day.

Holiday Schedule:

When your collection day falls on or after a holiday, recycling collection will be one day later than normal.  See the Holiday Schedule for more information.

Report Misuse of Recycling Service:

Recycling collection is a special service to our paying cusstomers only.  Taking or using another resident’s collection point or cart is illegal.  City Ordinance 225.10 states in part: “No person shall leave, throw, or deposit, or use or permit any other person to leave, place, throw, or deposit, any substances or materials of any kind at a city solid waste collection point for city disposal when the substances or materials werre generated at a location other than the residence.”

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I continue to collect my recyclable materials in brown paper bags?
A: Yes!  If you want to continue sorting your materials in brown bags that is fine.  Simply put all of the brown bags inside your new one-sort cart.  Please do not place plastic bags (full or empty) in your blue cart.  Plastic bags get tangled in machine gears at the MRF (Material Recovery Facility) requiring the MRF to stop operations to remove the bags.  You may collect your recycling in plastic bags, but you must dump the recyclables out of the plastic bag into the cart and place the plastic bag in the garbage or bring it to a second hand store for reuse or a participating grocery store for recycling.  See Plastic Bags in our What To Do List for more information.

Q: What types of items can be placed in the one-sort recycling cart?
A: The items collected for recycling are the same as with the multi-sort bins.  The only change will be that all recycling items go into the cart together – no sorting required!  There is a photo on the top of the one-sort cart lid explaining what can go inside.  Garbage, plastic bags, and needles and syringes (Sharps) are not allowed in the one-sort cart.

Q: Why did the program change?
A: One-sort recycling is easier.  The goal is to encourage more customers to fully participate, reducing the amoung of garbage and increasing the amount of recyclling collected.  One-sort recycling is serviced more safely and efficiently by collection crews than multi-sort recycling.

Q: What is going to happen to my old blue or green recycling bin?
A: We encourage you to keep the old bins for use inside your home or garage.  They’re a great storage container or tote for laundry, gardening supplies, tools, outside toys, etc.  Do not store bins at your collection point.  After you receive your one-sort recycling cart, any old bins left at your collection area will be collected by City crews for recycling and cannot be returned.

Q: I’m moving, should I take my new one-sort recycling cart with me?
A: No.  Just like the garbage cart, these new recycling carts are the property of the City of Minneapolis.  Do not take them with you when you move.  Each cart is assigned to a specific property using serial numbers.

Q: What if I don’t want that big cart?  Is there a smaller one?
A: Yes, we do have a supply of 65-gallon one-sort recycling carts.  Please give the 96-gallon cart a couple weeks before deciding you need a smaller cart.  If you do determine a smaller cart will be better for your home, please call Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917 for assistance.

Q: Does the one-sort method of recycling collection reduce the quantity of our materials?
A: No, the City has completed an in-depth study of dual versus one-sort methods and has found that the quality of our materials and their value will not change.  The quantity is expected to increase significantly.  To learn more about how one-sort recycling is sorted at the MRF (Materials Recovery Facility), watch Recycling 101 with Mr. Cool Can.

Q: What happens if my cart is missing or damaged?
A: If your recycling cart is missing, take a look in your alley to see if your recycling bin was moved or placed at another house in error.  If you find your recycling bin at another location, go ahead and take it back.  If you cannot find it, please call the Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917 and our staff will assist you in locating your recycling cart, or we will have another one delivered.  Our crews will also repair or replace lids and wheels on damaged carts. Call Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917 and our staff will schedule the repair.  If the repair is not made or a replacement was not delivered within one month, please call again.

Q: Why doesn’t my landlord offer recycling?
A: Contact your building manager for recycling program information.  Minneapolis Ordinance 225.780 requires property owners of buildings with 2 or more units to provide occupants with the opportunity to recycle, adequate recycling containers and recycling education.  Call Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917 and ask to speak with the Recycling Coordinator if service is not available at your building.

Q: What about when it snows?
A: All of our procedures will be the same when it snows.  See Snow Shoveling for specific shoveling requirements.

Q: What happens to my recycling?
A: Recycling is collected by City or contractor crews.  The City contracts with a company to provide recycling processing and the sale of materials to market.  Revenue of the sale of recyclables are shared by the City and contractor.
If you have any additional questions, please call Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917.

Last updated Jul. 3, 2013