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Sunday Summary – February 2, 2014

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Big stories

Nicollet Mall can live up to its potential as “one of the most vibrant public spaces in America” during the current redesign initiative according to Sam Newberg a/k/a Joe Urban. His prescription: changing the zoning to put more storefronts and entrances onto Nicollet and, getting most of the comments, tear down the skyways.  One skyway experiment proposed: an open streets type event which would close off skyway sections temporarily: “Maybe people just need to experience the street for a while without the threat of permanent closure.”  Also from Sam Newberg, Save Dinkytown’s Public Realm critiquing Doran Companies proposal for Dinkytown.

Minneapolis Conservation Districts are a Terrible Idea according to Bill Lindeke. The districts, envisioned as “something more flexible than a historic district…but with more clout than a small area plan” have some clear flaws including being controlled by property owners, rest on highly subjective visual character criteria, and implicitly aim at conserving “good stuff” as defined by the powerful vested interests. Good back and forth in the comments about conservation, power, NIMBY-ism, and history, too.

 Conservation of a different sort on offer in Can We Save the Suburbs? A Look at NSP’s Living Streets.  Complete Streets has had a lot of publicity; “living streets” adds stormwater and other environmental conservation to the discussion.  Most powerfully, Abbey Seitz’s post about Living Streets helps educate folks about just how much street corridors do – all modes of transportation, utilities, water management, quality of life.  Commenters add some perspective on other cities’ plans plus some implementation concerns.

And, Parking minimums need to go by Bill Roden.  Following the Strong Towns #BlackFridayParking photo campaign showing acres of unused parking (mandated by those minimum parking requirements) on the busiest shopping day of the year.  This post is another which is raising consciousness about the public expense connected with storing “privately owned machines that aid in personal travel.”

Podcasts: For those who like their news in audio form, there a couple of podcasts this week. Critical Transit Podcast #42 about winter cycling (see also Planning: How did you get to work this morning? discussing snow, transit, cycling, working from home and the personal planning involved in making these modes work).  For an introduction to Ayd Mill Road, that quasi freeway, semi-hidden bypass between I35E and I-94, listen to Podcast #56: Ayd Mill Road 101 with Mike Madden.

Round-up: For parents with cabin fever, a short post about the Great River Water Park (click the children tag and find more ideas and locations for/about kids).  Uber changes in NYC about Uber, the cab booking service, tells us what NYC is doing…but not MSP, yet.

Regular features this week: has several regular (weekly or periodic) features (click the Features tab along the top bar) including the public service voter guides and the “interesting bits of information” posts with history, pictures, etc.

2014 Voter Guide is running profiles of candidates for the open seat in Hennepin County’s 3rd District.  This week, Ben Schweigert, responds to’s series of land use and transportation related questions.

Friday Photo has a thought-provoking image of South Minneapolis.

Have a great week!



Betsey Buckheit

About Betsey Buckheit

Betsey rides her pretty blue city bike, walks her energetic black dogs, and agitates for more thoughtful, long-range decision-making in Northfield, MN. You can follow her blog at