Open Thread – January 2014

Talk amongst yourselves. Solve the world’s problems. Post links to the most interesting stories you read this week. Have at it.

11 thoughts on “Open Thread – January 2014

  1. Bill LindekeBill LindekeModerator  

    “Skyways” is today’s secret word, though it’s hard to blame anyone for walking in them given the Hoth ice planet conditions out there…

    (“And I thought they smelled bad on the outside…”)

  2. Bill LindekeBill LindekeModerator  

    PS, what’s happening this week coming up? We’re discussing the St Paul bike plan in the Transportation Committee tomorrow… Edina v. Mpls parking lots… MN-Go is a thing now… What else?

  3. Eric SaathoffEric

    I was there recently and looked at the lack of residential spaces above most of the commercial buildings. Too late, but it could have been beneficial to have people walk to retail. This probably goes against the whole point of being Edina, though.
    They are afraid of Southdale.

  4. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

    Since UrbanMSP servers appear to be down, I’ll scratch my curiosity itch here: Anyone know the rhyme or reason behind the lighting in the Lowry Hill Tunnel? There appear to be three sets of lights. The tube lights that run along the upper edges (these appear to be used the most), a row of double point source lights above them, and then four rows of lights recessed into the ceiling. Sometimes it feels especially dark in the tunnel (often late morning) and other times especially bright (winter evenings when the sun is down).

    1. hokan

      The minimal lights are always on. The brighter lights near the entrances (but not the exits) come on during brighter outdoor conditions. I guess the idea is to not blind drivers by darkness. As drivers travel through the tunnel and their eyes adjust, somewhat less light is needed.

    2. Monte Castleman

      There’s no lights in the ceiling. Generally fluorescent lights are preferred for tunnels because because of the very even illumination. I vaguely recall the Lowry Hill Tunnel having them in the 1970s, but they would have been scrapped by the early 1980s due to their terrible performance in the cold, what you see at the corners between the wall and the ceiling is an electrica raceway and / or remnants of the original fixtures. You want more illumination at the beginning of the tunnel during the day to avoid the “black hole effect” when driving into it; it gives your eyes a gradual adaptation to the darker illumination level of the tunnel. For a number of years they used standard aluminum underpass lights, with more of the same lights near the entrances that could be turned on in the day; these deteriorated and didn’t provide even illumination so they were replaced by the present stainless steel system in 2003 that uses light pipes to mimick the evenness of fluorescents, for the low level, constant on lighting, and .the top row of floodlights for the daytime supplements.

      1. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

        I can’t stop and take a picture, but I swear I’ve seen recessed lights in the ceiling (four rows, closely spaced together in pairs) and I’ve also seen a few different combinations of lights being used.

  5. Joseph TottenJoseph Totten

    So is anyone else wary of the new Hotels being added by the U of MN overall? (Another is now being proposed in Stadium Village) In my experience hotels, even if they don’t have large parking lots around them, are rather unfriendly towards pedestrians. Hotel lobbys do not make good urbanism/good to walk by… I won’t decide to ever buy a room on the spur of the moment I guess…

    1. Bill LindekeBill LindekeModerator  

      I don’t know. Is there demand? There must be. I assume they’re all for visiting parents of students / academics attending conferences.

      Hotels are OK in my book, actually. You should go to the Palmer House hotel lobby in Chicago and be completely floored by the ceiling, or and head to the Peabody Hotel in Memphis to see their public ducks.

      Nothing to get really excited about…

  6. David LevinsonDavid Levinson Post author

    People have to stay somewhere. The U attracts a lot of visitors (conferences, sports events, parents, prospective students, etc.). Hotels usually have restaurants on the ground floor, so it is not an urbanism disaster, and there are all sorts of visitors upstairs who shop and patronize businesses, so I think it is a net plus.

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