Here’s the week on streets.mn rolled out and carefully cut into seasonal shapes for pre-holiday nibbling. Conversation was particularly lively here on streets.mn this week with more posts provoking more comments; more comments are more than welcome.
Two seasonal posts this week consider the Minneapolis Holiday Market at Holidazzle Village, the Minneapolis Downtown Council’s new event (replacing the Holidazzle Parade). Nothing Says Community Like a $6 Entry Fee did not have a good time at the Market with criticism of the physical design as well as the price; commenters find more to like while chewing over the questions. What’s German for Bah Humbug? is a later post which attempts to deflect some of the criticism, but the comments revolve around the design of Peavey Plaza with detractors and defenders of its design.
Conversation starters: Big ideas
This week brought some meaty posts which got people talking; they could also be used to generate lively dinner table debate this holiday season (streets.mn takes no responsibility for food fights).
Two transportation related posts: Creating a Low-Carbon Transportation System for MSP: Part One, Baselining takes a look at the Metro Council’s Draft 2040 Transportation Policy Plan‘s provisions for reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions and finds it falls short by failing to establish the baseline from which to measure improvements. That’s Transportainment did not generate many comments, but perhaps it should. If transportation network investment decisions are made by people who don’t use the facilities, how can scarce resources be allocated to build a network that really works?
And two others: Soccer as Political Football previews prospects for a new sports stadium in the Twin Cities for a Major League Soccer expansion team, where it might be located, real football vs. American football stadiums, and more. Commenters kick around these issues plus who will pay for it, transit connections, and more. Density Without Mixed-Use Baffles Me generated the most comments with its catalog of higher density housing around the metro where residents still can’t walk anywhere. Comments carry on the conversation about density, zoning, financing, and other factors which make mixing uses more difficult than building density.
Conversation starters: Particular projects
Boring Public a Culprit in Loss of Treasured Businesses starts with the news that Nye’s Polonaise Room is closing and goes on to think about what it takes for local business to succeed (“Businesses will appreciate your patronage considerably more than your likes on Facebook”). The many comments discuss local vs. chain businesses, city and suburb, financing smaller places and has suggestions for barbers, too. Rethinking 66th Street previewed the Richfield City Council’s approval of plans for improving 66th Street (the proposed design was approved!) including adding protected bike lanes; this one is not just great detail about the project design and official process, but the grassroots work which helped make it happen.
2014 Retrospective Department
The end of the year is always a time to take a look back. Ten Highway Projects of 2014 identifies ten projects the author found notable, both in and mostly out of Minnesota. Much more intensely local, The Quarterly Transit Report – December 2014 reviews transit in the Twin Cities in the last quarter with much consideration of the Green Line impact (previous quarterly report is here); comments add additional fine-grained observations about particular routes and issues.
The Bike Loop Makes Economic Sense for Downtown Saint Paul reviews the possible benefits for the proposed bike loop (more on the Saint Paul Bike Plan here) with a little pushback from commenters. Pave Saint Paul! continues the Snark Week theme by pushing the “need more parking” idea about as far as it could go. A more bucolic look at Saint Paul happens in Bopping Around the Midway, a return to summer with another bike ride around Saint Paul (other rides are here). Saint Paul Plays Catch-up on Roadway Construction in 2015 itemizes planned street improvement projects in Saint Paul including the Terrible 20 and projects funded by the one-time 8-80 Vitality Fund and the ongoing Streets Vitality Paving fund (SPSVP).
Podcast #78 – Real Views of Minneapolis with Joe Scott is an audio visit with the visual guy behind our Friday Photo series of images which capture the not always obvious bits of the urban landscape with both creativity and political acumen. And, of course, we have Charts of the Day: Square-Meter-Minutes per Commute Mode, US Transit Ridership over Time and Millennial Mode Share in Different Cities (1980 v. Today). The lone video this week Are You MN Enough? | Yearounders | TPT Rewire is one installment in the short video series “Are You MN Enough?”; this one follows the male folks who bike year round who say “Beards aren’t mandatory, but they certainly help.”
The snow has melted from Minnesota streets just in time for Hanukkah. Perhaps we will see a Miracle of Transportation Funding where dollars only sufficient for one project miraculously persist to pay for eight, but I’m quite sure the streets.mn Maccabees of transportation activism will continue their scrappy fighting for better streets in the New Year. Enjoy holiday lights, clear sidewalks, and have a great week!
As for the Transportainment article, frankly I was confused at the point it was trying to make. Was it that we shouldn’t build the Green Line extension, or that engineers should be required to move next to a proposed station if they’re designing a transit project, or that transit used mainly by tourists (my impression of the Embarcadero line) isn’t worthwhile? At any rate I didn’t have anything more productive to say than “I disagree”, so I didn’t.