Archive | July, 2013

What is a car?

At Per Square Mile, Tim De Chant has an excellent piece on how cities will be shaped by driverless “cars”.  You should read the whole thing.  He captures many of the pros and cons of the issue, and goes deeper than most. Specifically, he captures one advantage which I think a lot of skeptics in […]

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City Council and NIMBYs Adopt Scorched Earth Policy to “Save Dinkytown”

By now you’re familiar with the Dinkytown story. The last few years have seen a wave of development around the University of Minnesota campus. The Dinkydome (my old haunt) transformed from a weirdly depressing food court into fancy apartments. The auto repair shop in Stadium Village  (my mom’s favorite) is becoming apartments. Sally’s (home of the […]

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How to Get Better Urbanism on Nicollet Mall – Don’t Overthink it

The City of Minneapolis is promising to spend a lot of money on some critical pieces of downtown infrastructure. The new Vikings Stadium and Downtown East area, Peavey Plaza, Nicollet Mall all are being considered for major capital investments. With Nicollet Mall, take one look at the people using the street and you can see that maybe […]

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Wellness on Wheels: Lunch Ride Minnesota?

I often ride my bike to Paninos, Taste of Scandinavia, or other places along Hiway 96 in Shoreview for lunch. Good food, nice outdoor seating, and I often see a neighbor or two. Besides neighbors, the tables around me are usually filled with people from businesses along Lexington Ave such as Land O’ Lakes, Boston […]

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Short-sighted Anoka County Drops Wheelage Tax

I recently had to renew my motor vehicle title due to a paperwork mix-up. I didn’t dot my “i” or cross my “t” and thus was subjected to endless paperwork. While calculating the fees, I bumped into something common within Minnesota: the wheelage tax. A wheelage tax is a $5 tax that is levied by a […]

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Northfield

Northfield, Minnesota, possessing some 20,000 people about a 45 minutes south of the Twin Cities, is a small town that has it all together. But for a fabulous playground, Northfield even has it over Stillwater in the battle of the nearby Main Streets, despite it not winning the Streets.MN poll in 2012. My photos are […]

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Podcast #40 – Saint Paul’s Ward 1 with Noel Nix

The podcast this week is a conversation with Noel Nix, who is running for the open Ward One  City Council seat in Saint Paul. The race came as a bit of a surprise when incumbent Melvin Carter resigned from the job half-way through his term, and a lot of candidates have declared their interest in […]

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Those Colorful Newsboxes

We’re going to take a bit of a break from the hard-hitting issues to discuss my newest pet peeve: Newsboxes. Newsboxes are the (usually) colorful boxes that sit within the public right-of-way where various publications are distributed, sometimes for a price, but usually free. They’re on my mind lately after a friend tweeted the following […]

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Municipalize It? Electric and Natural Gas Utility Ownership in Minneapolis

I just received a “Dear Xcel Energy Customer” letter from my local public electric utility. They are concerned that the residents of Minneapolis may decide, in a fit of civic pride and cooperativism, to municipalize public utilities. The delivery of service by Xcel is certainly reasonably good (I have power on-demand well more than 99% […]

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Skating the City: a view from high atop small wheels

I must be a fan of small wheels. You may have seen me riding around on my little green folding bike, and I also have even smaller wheels: eight of them, to be exact, in the form of inline skates.  For all the great things we can say about bicycling, in most cases you can’t […]

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