Author Archive | David Levinson

Main Street – Hutchinson, Minnesota

Someone on an earlier post said all the action in McLeod county is in Hutchinson, not the County Seat of Glencoe, so I should go there. So I did. Hutchinson (map), 61 miles due west of Minneapolis, is certainly a bit livelier than Glencoe, with nearly three times the population. There is an important public square […]

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The town is in the shadow of Hermann the German.

Main Street – New Ulm, Minnesota

New Ulm, Minnesota, (map) in Brown County, is the local urbanist small town Utopia. New Ulm is definitely in good shape as small towns go. Having a college (Martin Luther) in town is good, but its location away from Main Street means it doesn’t interact as much as Carleton in Northfield. It parallels the Minnesota River, […]

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This is the best image of nature taking its course. Arthur, along the Freeway. The Bike Route is clearly on the side of the road, but no one has successfully ridden this trail in years I imagine.

A Sad Bike Route in Minneapolis

The danger of designating infrastructure is that it requires use and maintenance. Sometimes the infrastructure designated is not particularly useful or used. And lack of use makes it less useful for others, as it leads to entropy. One such piece of infrastructure is a well-signed (though well-hidden) “bike route” in Prospect Park (map). Some is on-street. […]

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The sidewalks of Rotterdam bow to no street.

Kerb your Enthusiasm

Walking along the sidewalks of Minneapolis and St. Paul, every block the pedestrian must undulate, going down to meet the road, walk across (a sometimes marked, sometimes unmarked) cross-walk, and then up a curb, or at best a curb-cut, to meet the level of the sidewalk again. Why does the pedestrian need to lower themselves to […]

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Do Not Wait Here

Recently I found myself seeking refuge where no island granting refuge exists. Probably starting the crossing later than I should have, I crossed University Avenue half-way before my walk signal went to solid red, stranding me between the tracks of the Green Line (I could have illegally run in front of the cars, but one […]

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Spatial and temporal patterns of sprawl in the Minneapolis–St. Paul re- gion. Individual edges—that is, road segments bounded by two intersections— are shown at three time points. Edges are colored in five categories ac- cording to their connectivity, ranging from highly connected (gridded) in blue to cul-de-sacs in red. Connectivity is measured by the mean degree of an edge’s two terminal intersections, explained in the text. Because nodes can be cul-de-sacs, degree three, or degree four-plus, there are five possible values of edge degree, ranging from 2.0 to 4.0. In 1950, the developed area is largely gridded, but growth by 1980 and by 2013 is largely of the low-connectivity kind. Rural roads also tend to be gridded. The Lower Right panel shows the fraction, indicated by the vertical extent of a color, of each edge type built each year. The black line shows the pace of construction, defined as the number of edges dated to each year. Dramatic drops are evident during the Depression, World War II, oil shocks, a recession in the 1970s and 1980s, and the recent Global Financial Crisis. We focus on Minneapolis–St. Paul because all seven central counties are included in our parcel-based data and because the region closely tracks national trends (SI Appendix, Fig. S6).

Map Monday: Sixty Years of Sprawl in Minneapolis

The attached map is from Christopher Barrington-Leigh and Adam Millard-Ball’s 2015 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, A Century of Sprawl in the United States. Because of the good parcel file data in the Twin Cities, we got analyzed in depth. The base of their argument is measurement of nodal degree (how […]

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TJ's Wurst Hearse

Main Street – Mahtowa, Minnesota

Mahtowa, Minnesota (near Barnum, in Carlton County) (map) is probably the smallest town profiled in this series. My visit was an accidental stop from up north to down south. Mahtowa is notable for TJ’s Country Corner, which is a thriving corner store and sausage purveyor on Old Highway 61. TJ’s claims to have the best […]

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What Is the Capacity of I-94?

I recently wrote about the Capacity of the Green Line, demonstrating a huge amount of underutilization under both reasonable and unreasonable assumptions. I thought I should do the same for I-94 in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Of course a freeway and an LRT are different things, so the kinds of assumptions and the available data […]

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London Transport Museum (2003). Photo by David Levinson

Presents to Our Future Selves

When I try to explain to people (usually my students) why they should get their stuff together, I argue that it is a “present to your future self.” For instance, who cares if bachelor you makes your bed except bachelor you in 16 hours, who might be slightly happier to come back to a made […]

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