It all started with a tweet …
I'm writing something for streets.mn & Star Tribune tonight. I'll write about the first three (3) topics people tweet at me. Make it random.
— Nate Hood (@Nathaniel1983) October 27, 2014
The responses quickly came in. First from Mike Christensen, who has a quick draw. He’s the fastest tweet in the west.
@Nathaniel1983 Road diets.
— Mike Christensen (@MRC_SLC) October 27, 2014
I have a lot of thoughts on road diets, specifically that we don’t do enough of them. We have a cultural misunderstanding about what makes a good place. That misunderstanding starts with the road. We tend to view all roads as conduits of moving traffic as efficiently as possible. We do this with little regard to the built environment. In urban areas, this recklessness destroys our traditional urban fabric. In suburbia, it doesn’t create a template for future urban growth to occur.
The next Tweet, from Mike Sonn, is about a local St. Paul example of the need for the above. For those who missed it, there was a child walking to school who was struck by a vehicle along a street in desperate need of a road diet.
@Nathaniel1983 Why Rice is 4 lanes in St Paul, but got 4-3 conversion north of the border? You don't have to write about it, just asking.
— Saint Low Bar (@mikesonn) October 27, 2014
This is a good question and I don’t know why.
What I do know is that four lanes is inappropriate and a 4-3 conversation should extend into St. Paul. There are a lot of needs in St. Paul’s east side, but I am regrettably not intimately familiar. This comes with embarrassment. It is a place that I genuinely wish I knew more about. But I, like many others, haven’t played close attention; much to the detriment of half the city.
Next tweet, from Nick Hannula, is about the Riverview Corridor:
@Nathaniel1983 LRT on the Riverview Corridor: on-street vs. on the Ford Spur
— Nick Hannula (@NickHannula) October 27, 2014
This is a difficult question (thank you). I have two answers:
1. I support taking the Riverview Corridor right down the middle of West 7th and giving it a) signal prioritization and b) an exclusive right-of-way. The intersection at Highway 5 should divert car traffic down Shepard Road. This would slow down traffic on W. 7th and help allow the area (especially south of Randolph) to mature and become more urban. A few notes on this; I would be timid in supporting a plan that doesn’t connect to the airport to downtown. The Ford Site rail spur would be best used as a rails-to-trail project.
2. It was disappointing to see the City of St. Paul turning down money for BRT along W. 7th. As someone who lives a stone’s throw from W. 7th, I would rather have BRT today than the potential (maybe?) for LRT / streetcar in 10 to 15 years. If we would have made the BRT move, I think it would have helped push even more development along the corridor and we could have always upgraded it to LRT if ridership demanded that in the future.
Next tweet is from Chris;
@Nathaniel1983 if you are thinking about 3, why not triangle blocks? Henn/Central int in NE, former Nic/Henn int, Virginia triangle, etc
— Chris Iverson (@chrisivy) October 27, 2014
Triangle blocks are beautiful. Architects do their best work when they are constrained by space. Triangle blocks do this; rectangle blocks do not. But, why not triangle blocks? When it comes to infrastructure, we’re stuck with what our ancestors gave us. There are some quirky spaces in the Twin Cities, but they are rare. Most of our blocks are based on the land-dividing efficiency of the 90 degree right angle. However, for the few that do exist, we should take them and create great places!
Next tweet is from Fred Melo;
@Nathaniel1983 should you pass out healthy, allergen-free treats at Halloween or go nuts?
— FredMelo, Reporter (@FrederickMelo) October 27, 2014
I recommend going nuts.
Next tweet is from Bill Dooley,
@Nathaniel1983 Danger of co-locating passenger rail and ethanol/oil trains in the Kenilworth Corridor.
— Bill Dooley (@BillDooley1) October 27, 2014
This is a good, complicated question. And, I want to apologize for not answering it thoroughly. I don’t know enough about the risks to comment any further. There is risk in co-location. Environmentally it would be a disaster if anything did happen. Will that happen? Fingers crossed it doesn’t.
Southwest Light Rail should have bypassed the Kenilworth Corridor and traveled through Uptown. That ship has sailed. What we’re left with is a political compromise that no one is really happy with. The whole situation would have been avoided if we decided to give transit to those most likely to use it.
Next tweet is from Andrew Price;
@Nathaniel1983 infill urban 'villages' for seniors?
— Andrew Price (@AndrewAPrice) October 27, 2014
Yes! We need to place senior housing in walkable communities. In many American cities, we have adapted senior housing to be in suburban style complexes. They are also often developed at a mega-scale. We need to scale them down. I, however, do not like the idea of a building being a ‘village’ in and of itself. All of our development should strive to connect with the immediate community.
And finally, from Adam;
Dreamcast is, without question, the most underrated gaming system of all-time. It was innovative in many ways that go unrecognized today. For starters, Sega modernized sports game. Prior to the NFL 2k series, sports games were basic. Sega added that spice and everyone (including EA) followed suit. Secondly, Dreamcast was the first to have online multiplayer. The next console to have full online capability wasn’t until PS3’s release in 2007. Dreamcast was 8 years ahead!
The games on Dreamcast were second to none. However, they were games for gamers. They lacked a “Halo” style mainstream game (although Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 were undoubtedly solid). Dreamcast did best when taking risks with such games as Jet Grind Radio, Chu Chu Rocket, Skies of Arcadia, and countless others. These niche games were great, but ultimately lacked mass appeal.
Sega at the time, 1999 to 2001, was still recovering from flops such as Sega CD, 32X and the Sega Saturn. Consumers didn’t trust Sega and, as a result, were slow to adopt Dreamcast. PS2 killed Dreamcast. Many people didn’t have DVD players and that capability with PS2 really helped give it an edge.
I recommend reading “Console Wars” by Blake Harris. It’s the tale of Sega v. Nintendo in the early 1990s. It primarly concentrates on Genesis vs. Super Nintendo, but hints at the failures of Saturn and Dreamcast as internal conflicts between Sega of Japan (HQ) and their American counterpart (SOA – Sega of America).
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