Assignment Spotlight: Madeline Caruso

*The ESLLC was tasked with writing a letter to their hometown politicians about the walkability, bikeability and access to public transportation in their towns and cities. Using Jeff Speck’s Walkable City, the students gave suggestions on how to make their hometowns safer, healthier and cleaner.*

390 City Hall 15 W. Kellogg Blvd.

Saint Paul, MN 55102

Dear Mayor Chris Coleman,

I am writing to you today in order to express my suggestions for improving the ways in which the citizens of Saint Paul are able to transit the city and surrounding neighborhoods. According to, Saint Paul as a whole has a walk score of 56, a transit score of 45, and a bike score of 62. In comparison to many towns and cities across the United States, these numbers are fairly high, but there is definitely still room for improvement in transit related areas before Saint Paul can truly be “the most livable city in America.”

Saint Paul’s public transportation has improved in recent years with the extension of the light rail system that now extends down University Ave from Minneapolis to downtown Saint Paul. This was a great step in the right direction. The property values surrounding the tracks has greatly increased, and the surrounding areas are beginning to transform into a much more welcoming place than it had been previously. As I’m sure you know, public transportation has the ability to transform an area and create a place the flourishes both economically and environmentally. Instead of expanding the highways, the transportation system could be expanded much further, including the busing systems, protected and convenient bike paths and sidewalks in order to guarantee Saint Paul citizens a safe way to travel no matter where they are headed.

The improvement of an area often causes prices to spike in areas that previously were home to many lower income residents. This can lead to gentrification. In order to combat this side effect, I would encourage you to consider an inclusionary zoning policy as well as legalize granny flats in the Saint Paul area. This would help create a more inclusive city, where all different socioeconomic classes were living side by side. This mix of people creates diversity and a better community, which will allow Saint Paul to grow in unexpected ways.

I urge you to think about these changes as a way of bettering Saint Paul.

Sincerely lifelong Saint Paulite,

Madeline Caruso




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