A Tree Dies in Minneapolis, or ‘One Way to Deal with a Desire Line’ Revisited

In September of 2014, I wrote One Way to Deal With a Desire Line, describing the University of Minnesota’s attempt to deal with a desire line by planting a tree in the middle and placing concrete curbs to reroute traffic, costing pedestrians several seconds a day each.

Today, we follow up, asking how did that tree do? That tree did badly (Score one for human behavior and the desire to walk in straight lines).

A sad tree here

A sad tree here (June 8, 2015). Note the tree did slightly divert the desire line to the right.

Not only did it do badly, on a path to die of its own accord, the university went and killed it.

Tree no more, but the desire line remains, as witnessed by the poor grasses that get trampled more than their neighbors

Tree no more, but the desire line remains, as witnessed by the poor grasses that get trampled more than their neighbors (June 23, 2015)

And not only did they kill it, they are doing a bunch of construction around those parts again this year. I am not sure why they renovated last year, and again this year, but it is the University.

Construction work at McNamara Alumni Center (July 7, 2015)

Construction work at McNamara Alumni Center (July 7, 2015)


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7 Responses to A Tree Dies in Minneapolis, or ‘One Way to Deal with a Desire Line’ Revisited

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke July 8, 2015 at 7:01 am #

    “I am not sure why they renovated last year, and again this year, but it is the University.”

    Spoken like a true person-who-actually-works-there-and-knows-it-really-well.

    • Wayne July 8, 2015 at 8:58 am #

      Probably to justify some tuition increases.

      • Melody Hoffmann
        Melody July 8, 2015 at 10:38 am #

        If I was a number-cruncher, I’d request the cost figures of landscaping at the U. I’m fairly confident we could lower tuition if they’d stop it with the damn landscaping. Drove me nuts. The tulips by Boynton make for lovely bouquets, BTW.

  2. Matt Steele
    Matt Steele July 8, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    I have to say, I’m proud of my South Minneapolis Meticulously Landscaped Corporate Campus… They took a desire path (that fittingly followed an old public street, a streetcar corridor nonetheless) and made it into a proper sidewalk with a proper crosswalk. It bows out a little more than the previously-straight desire path, but points to them for knowing what to do in light of your meticulous flower beds having a dirt path through them. That path is from WALKIN’ FEET!

    • Wayne July 8, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

      I think we might work at the same Meticulously Landscaped Corporate Campus, and I agree on giving it some props for not being that terrible about interfacing with the area around it despite having a couple huge parking ramps.

  3. Kele July 11, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    Haha, thank you for posting this! I walk near this frequently and the design of the curb and plants I find particularly annoying, and yes, have participated in constructing this desire path. I am glad someone noticed it!

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