streets.m(ad)n(ess) Round 4 – The Urban Elitist Eight

Round 4 bracket

Click to enlarge, click again in top right to enlarge again

Hello and welcome back to streets.m(ad)n(ess), where you, the streets.mn reader, get to vote on your favorite goings on in the world of Twin Cities’ urbanism. I’m Nick, and this is my co-host Jim.

Glad to be here, Nick.

Jim, tell us a bit about where we are and how we got here and what’s next for streets.m(ad)n(ess).

Well Nick, we just wrapped up Round 3 and took a short break for April Fool’s Day here on streets.mn, which all things considered I actually thought was pretty good.

Lot of negativity about April Fool’s Day on Twitter, I guess.

Not a lot that those people like, to be honest.

True.

So Nick, we’re here in Round 4, picking the winners from each of our four categories: Development, Transportation, Policy, and Potpourri. Before we get into that, here’s a quick look back at Round 3.

Development

  • (1) U of M Density (59%) over (5) Surly Brewery (41%)
  • (3) Midtown Greenway Transformation (56%) over (2) Downtown East Redevelopment (44%)

Transportation

  • (1) Green Line (83%) over (5) Car2Go Expansion to St. Paul (17%)
  • (3) Hennepin/Lyndale Bottleneck Rebuild (50.3%) over (2) Nextrip at LRT Stations (49.7%)

Policy

  • (1) ADUs (59%) over (4) St. Paul 8-80 Fund (41%)
  • (2) Thrive MSP 2040 (55%) over (6) St. Paul Bike Plan (45%)

Potpourri

  • (4) Open Streets Expansion (56%) over (8) Social Media Parodies (44%)
  • (6) Food Trucks Going Brick-and-Mortar (74%) over (7) Metro Urbanists’ Discovery of New Ulm (26%)

Any big surprises there, Nick?

Not in particular, Jim. Real squeaker there between 3 seed Hennepin/Lyndale Bottleneck Rebuild and 2 seed Nextrip at LRT Stations, and we did end up with an upset there. I think our readers have made it clear–they want entries with longer names to advance, in order to inconvenience that poor bracket maker. We here at streets.m(ad)n(ess) would of course never want to influence your decision-making process in any way–but please, think of the cats.

Always with the cats with you.

Well, you know. Do you have any predictions for this round?

I do! The odds are good down in Mystic Lake for all three of our 1 seeds to advance, and then I’m not sure about the last game. But you know, I’m little concerned that it was definitely going to be Green Line vs. ADUs from the beginning, and all this work–

Come on! Stay positive. Let’s get started on Round 4 of streets.m(ad)n(ess), where you’ll be picking your final four entries to go on to the semi-finals!

Development

(1) U of M Density vs. (3) Midtown Greenway Transformation

What we’ve got here is infill–lots of it. (Get it…lots? Like building lots, for building buildings on?) With a handful of notable exceptions, these many projects filled in under-utilized land, like your parking lots and your lumberyards and your Arbys’. Thousands of new units added many thousands of new residents to popular parts of the city–Uptown, Dinkytown, plus Stadium Village, now a more notable place in its own right (having an actual stadium again also helps). The two entries are a little different, though, but they kind of bleed into each other.

The buildings around the University of Minnesota represent a shift in the type of campus and student experience you get there. There are far fewer students living a mile and a half away from campus, keeping their carbilical cord for shopping and working. The center of gravity is much stronger and closer to campus, and it’s full of amenities that are exposing tens of thousands of college kids from the second ring suburbs to the idea of what, hey, urban living could maybe be like. Maybe they’ll move to Uptown after graduating?

One of the whackiest things about all the building in Uptown over the past five years is that it really pokes a big hole in the idea of making big transit investments solely or largely because of “real estate.” Back in the day, we opted to not route a train of sorts through Uptown, which seems dead and gone at this point. Not too long after that, the whole area exploded in tower cranes and six story apartment buildings, without any notable transit improvements. Most of the people in those buildings are not taking the 6 or the 17 to jobs downtown, they’re driving there or elsewhere. There’s a lot of potential to build on selling the city, but we need to figure some of that transit business out first.

You could probably draw a pretty good flowchart…Blaine -> Territorial Hall -> Snazzy Stadium Village apartment building -> Snazzy Uptown apartment building -> ?

Big question, there. Flip through any newspaper or National Geographic or government report or thinktank press release from five years ago. Really, no one has any idea what’s going to happen.

Dinkytown 2014

Dinkytown, mid-2014

Transportation

(1) Green Line vs. (3) Hennepin/Lyndale Bottleneck Rebuild

CentralGreenLineGreen Line, as an existing thing, has a real leg up over Hennepin/Lyndale Bottleneck Rebuild, which does not yet exist but for our imaginations, hearts, and extremely expensive traffic and engineering software. Also big huge reams of paper.

The two entries do have a bit in common, though. An understated but huge part of the Green Line project was how it turned University Avenue (and Washington Avenue Southeast, of course) into a completely different type of street. It did add a big train you could take to Midway Walmart as a joke, but it calmed the traffic that remained and made it much more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists. Jaywalking, America’s #1 Favorite Crime, is much easier on University Avenue now.

Also, just a couple days ago, the Walker Art Center announced that they would be sprucing up their bottleneck adjacent landscaping and such, which is currently pretty bad, so there’s another plus for the rebuild.

Policy

(1) ADUs vs. (2) Thrive MSP 2040

UN Flag

“United Nations flag”

Take watch. The Met Counsel, they  are planning–they are planning all right ! You’ll be living in a “stack” of apartments, taking your bike to your “clean energy” job if you can “get” it! They will turn your free neighborhood into a Paris, France no-go-zone. Ha ha! Do u want bueraucrats  deciding how to tell you where you can live? They are un-elected and NOBODY. is watching them tax your without representation. If lucky–maybe u can “get” an “ADU” over a garage. What a “LUXURY”! that would be  in there world. They’re metalling will be the end of us!!

Potpourri

(4) Open Streets Expansion vs. (6) Food Trucks Going Brick-and-Mortar

Bob's Burgers Food Truck

(Source: Bob’s Burgers Wikia)

You people love your damn food trucks, huh? Someday, I’ll work in the Fad Implementation Division at Nielsen. Eating ten dollars worth of soup with chop sticks out of a reused wine bottle on a hot, windy, rainy day in July, in your one good pair of work khakis. Tell me: Is that even a good idea? There’s a tornado watch, and you just got teriyaki ALL OVER YOURSELF. But, the jury is still out. It is good, though, that many of these food trucks are moving into real life locations with tables and property taxes and metal forks and cloth napkins you can put in your lap to guard your pants.

Open Streets is also still cool.

CAST YOUR VOTES.

This poll will remain open until 8 PM CST on Friday, April 3.

Previous rounds:


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7 Responses to streets.m(ad)n(ess) Round 4 – The Urban Elitist Eight

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke April 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    can you feel the hype?

  2. Matty Lang
    Matty Lang April 2, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Man, Saint Paul really got dissed in the last round. Let’s go Met Council Paris, France no-go-zone!

  3. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller April 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    Friday is the third.

  4. Matt Brillhart April 2, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    Just because I too thought it would be Green Line vs. ADUs from the get-go, I will not-so-subtly remind folks that Met Council’s Thrive MSP 2040 plan, despite its ridiculous name, is going to have a hell of a larger impact on land use in the Twin Cities than ADUs will. ADUs are great, and I’m super glad we got that policy passed will little-to-no pushback, but people seriously need to get real with how many are going to actually get built. Not a lot. It is going to have a fraction of a fraction of a percent of impact on the rental housing market.

    • Janne Flisrand
      Janne Flisrand April 2, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

      Matt, while I’d LOVE to believe that, knowing a little history of Met Council planning and what it actually resulted in, I kinda disagree with you. The plan is going to be fantastic, but can they actually get any of it to happen? Will they be willing to use the tools they have, or will they continue pleading with the suburbs to play nice with the rest of the region, and get little but hate mail and the loss of Regional Planning Pride out of it?

  5. Jeff Zaayer April 3, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Reuben really dropped the ball. It’s like he thought his work was done after getting the bike plan passed by the city council.