Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Another three day weekend, the last until Memorial Day, and again I found myself thinking about how it would feel to be retired and not have to go back to work today.  This is the first year I've felt that way, either a function of my age or the fact that I have set a tentative date.  Honestly, I still enjoy my job (most days) and like the people I work with (most of them), but I don't want to do this forever!  While going through paperwork for my taxes, I carefully read through my social security update, as well as my state retirement information, added up the numbers and wondered if I could live on that . . .    Again, the first time I have actually done that.

My projected time for retirement is July 2014.  I'll be 66 years old and will have worked for MNDot for 34 years. I've paid into state retirement and social security for all that time, and having worked since I was 15, have paid into social security for far longer than 34 years. I'll be well past the proverbial "rule of 90" which used to be everyone's goal for retirement if they worked for the state.  Do I want to wait that long?  Will I be ready to go then?  Guess that depends on a lot of things including the upcoming parking crisis.

I currently park in Lot X, an area leased from Sears in their large parking lot across the street from the MNDot building.   The state leases something like 980 parking spaces, most of which are used every day by state employees.  We pay for parking (the only state employees who do), and sometimes complain about the cost and the walk, but things are scheduled to get fa worse next fall.  Sears recently announced that they are planning to use their space to construct additional retail space for lease and possibly multi-family housing as well.  The state's lease will not be renewed, and will expire next fall.  So what is in store for all the employees who park there now?

With the light rail line scheduled for completion next year, the property along the line has become more valuable.  The Sears store is an under-performer, and we've always assumed that the store would eventually close and the property would be sold.  It probably could have been purchased by the state for a reasonable price in year's past, but not anymore, and there is no property available for a new parking lot, very limited street parking, and no nearby pay lots or ramps.  So what will happen to us and how will our parking needs be met?

One thing I know for sure is that I will not be spending two hours on the bus going to and from work each day.  Although I only live seven miles away, there is no direct bus route, and I'm also used to being able to go home at noon.  The decisions that are made on the parking issue may very definitely affect when I retire.

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