To donate via check, please send a check addressed to "Russ for Ward 4" to 1500 Charles Avenue, St Paul, MN 55104.

Accomplishments

Transportation Options

  • Championed the creation of a citywide streetcar plan, and streetcars are now being considered as options for the Robert Street and W. 7th/E. 7th Street corridors.

  • Championed the A Line Bus Rapid Transit project on Snelling Ave., and led an effort to add pedestrian safety improvements from Selby to Pierce Butler when MNDOT was only planning to repave the street.

  • Championed the creation of the City’s first sustainable transportation coordinator.  The person in this position led the citywide bike plan, which was adopted by the City Council in March 2015.

  • Improved network of bikeways in Ward 4, including Griggs, Charles, Raymond, Como, and Marshall, in partnership with neighborhoods and public works.

  • Initiated and supported the first Open Streets event to happen in St Paul on University Avenue in 2013.

  • Complete Streets

    • Authored the City’s Complete Streets policy to ensure that all users are considered when designing streets.

    • The policy led to the creation of a new draft Street Design Manual based on Complete Streets principles; the manual will be finalized in 2015.

  • Encouraged Public Works and the Mayor’s office to apply for Bicycle Friendly Communities status (received bronze level recognition) and MN Greencorps members to increase our capacity to work on bicycle/pedestrian issues.

  • Increased the sidewalk connectivity in the West Midway Industrial area so employees, residents, and visitors can access the area (including Urban Growler Brewing and Bang Brewing) more safely.

  • Spear-headed the creation of a new Transportation Committee of the St. Paul Planning Commission, to ensure broader community dialogue and participation in local decision-making about how to improve access to all modes of transportation in St. Paul.

  • Was a leading voice on the Transportation Advisory Board of the Met Council establishing areas of concentrated poverty and racial equity as criteria in the disbursement of federal transportation funds in the region.

Green Line

  • Championed the creation of a new City position to work solely on development along the Green Line; this staff member began work in January 2014 and is out on University Avenue every day connecting developers, property owners, and business owners, to ensure we achieve the University Avenue we envision.

  • Brought attention to the need for a comprehensive approach to green space/parks along the Green Line, and worked with partners to have Trust for Public Land develop a playbook for how to achieve the vision for green space laid out in the Central Corridor Development Strategy. Since this playbook was drafted, plans are underway for development of Dickerman Park, 3-Ring Garden, and Little Mekong Plaza.

  • Co-Chaired the “Big Picture Project” effort to identify goals and benchmarks related to affordable housing along the Green Line, as well as measures to help meet those goals.

  • Helped secure the 3 missing stations on the light rail project at Hamline, Victoria, and Western Avenues.

  • Led the effort to create the Central Corridor Neighborhood Parking Program to help University Avenue business and property owners improve access to off-street parking for customers and employees, as well incentivize shared parking..

  • Ensured that University Avenue was put back together in a smart way after light rail construction, with street trees that are watered by storm water run-off from the street; permeable pavers; pedestrian-friendly, lantern-style street lights; and planted medians.

Energy Efficiency & Environment

  • Championed improvements to the City’s recycling program, starting with single sort recycling and additional plastics in 2014.

  • Initiated a zoning study to revise our zoning code to be friendlier to urban food production  

  • Led an effort to ensure that every vacant or foreclosed house that the City is investing in be made more energy efficient, ensuring long term-affordability for those moving into the housing and a smaller carbon footprint for our community.

  • Sponsored a new Green Building Policy that requires all development projects receiving $200,000 or more in public financing to meet high standards for energy efficiency, stormwater management, and related environmental goals.

  • Worked to re-establish a St. Paul/Ramsey County Local Food and Nutrition Commission, to advise the Mayor and Council on ways to make it easier to grow, distribute, and enjoy healthy, local food.

Some examples of a collaborative approach to problem-solving with constituents

  • Responded to Meeker Island Park livability/public nuisance problems with the idea of a dog park; the build out of the dog park will be completed in 2015.

  • Worked with Chelsea Heights PTO to support their fundraising efforts and build a new playground.

  • Successfully fought to keep the Hamline-Midway branch library open after a proposed closure, and worked with the Hamline Midway Library Association to support and improve the library.

Growing the City, increasing our tax base

  • Led a successful effort to reduce parking requirements that were acting as a barrier for new bars/restaurants being able to locate in St Paul.

  • Led regulatory changes making St Paul friendlier to craft brewers and taprooms; since then, three taprooms have opened in Ward 4, with a fourth underway.

Neighborhood livability

  • Led the effort to create a new Affordable Housing Trust Fund using sources including the ½ cent sales tax (STAR) program, and a portion of tax increments from TIF districts created for market rate housing units.

  • After years of improvements and investments in Como Zoo exhibits, worked with partners to develop a Como Transportation Improvement plan that would invest in better ways for visitors to get to Como Regional Park with fewer impacts on surrounding neighborhoods. State bonding secured in 2014 will finance several improvements over the next couple of years

  • After completion of the Como Transportation Improvement Plan, advocated for the creation of the Como Regional Park Advisory Committee to establish a clearer line of regular communication between Como Regional Park staff and adjacent neighborhoods regarding plans and issues in the park.

  • Developed a sidewalk snow-shoveling doorhanger so that people who walk in their neighborhoods could give a gentle reminder to others to shovel their sidewalks.

  • Sponsored a new Social Host Ordinance to give the St. Paul Police Department a more effective tool for combating party houses and underage drinking, particularly around college campuses. Additionally, worked with neighbors to author legislation to balance the number of student homes on any given block in an area around the University of St Thomas.

  • Authored a new ordinance that balances the interest of sober house operators and residents with the City’s interest in minimizing the concentration of these important facilities.