Sunday Summary – February 8, 2015

sunday-summary-logoIt’s another summary of another week with all the posts carefully valued, occasionally cross-referenced and thoughtfully arranged for quick and/or quirky reading.

Let’s Do It Better Department

Sidewalks Need to Stop Killing Trees summarizes and responds to a recent report given to the Minneapolis City Council’s Transportation and Public Works committee which revealed that “boulevard trees near recent sidewalk replacement work are more than twice as likely to fail.”  Comments give additional on-the-street perspectives plus other strategies for preserving trees and sidewalks.  Also take a look at 2014’s Understanding the Urban Forest from the Ground Up for more about the value and challenges of the urban forest.

tree fail

Another urban forest casualty



History Department

The Stillwater Bridge Story is the first installment of what is planned to be a four part series on the history of the Stillwater Bridge leading up to the bridge now under construction. Part one reveals recent controversy was not new, but part of a story of continuous debate about Stillwater and its bridge; design issues and the future of Stillwater will be revealed soon. Back in Minneapolis, the Book Review: “Our Way or the Highway: Inside the Minnehaha Free State” reviews this print documentary of the expansion and rerouting of Highway 55 (Hiawatha Avenue) in South Minneapolis, the Minnehaha Free State protest group which formed to try to save houses and Dakota’s sacred oak trees, and the many people involved.


800 people protest the reroute in a field near the four bur oaks, March 1999

800 people protest the Hiawatha Avenue rerouting which destroyed sacred oaks, March 1999


Valuing Industrial land

How Should Cities Value Industrial Land? looks at Saint Paul’s plan for redeveloping the West Side Flats as a denser, walkable, bikeable mixed use area and pushback from the Saint Paul Port Authority about reducing industrial land. The post questions the often stated position that industrial land “pays for itself” in tax revenue. Valuing Industrial Land: Two Examples brings the discussion down to two industrial parcels in Saint Paul, one in the West Side Flats. Both posts do some Strong Towns per acre comparisons and find that the development pattern matters more than the zoning classification. The many comments chew over development patterns here and elsewhere, consider why industrial land was (but does not need to be any longer) located by the river as well as discussing development economics.

West Side Flats area

West Side Flats area. How much is this worth?


Valuing Parking land

Portland’s Parking Policies are Still Better Than Ours reviews Portland’s history of parking policy (from no minimums to a recent revision reinstating minimums) compared to Minneapolis’ proposed changes to its regulations.  My Empty Parking Spot Has a Price considers Minneapolis’ proposed changes from the perspective of a carless person forced to pay for the unused parking space which “comes with” his apartment.  Commenters on both posts consider the cost of parking spaces, where people park if no parking space is allocated with housing, the relationship to transit and more.

How much is this worth?

How much is this worth?

Audiovisual department

Readers who miss the Sunday Sketches or just like seeing cities closely observed and beautifully drawn can turn off their devices and go see Exhibit: “MetroSketchers: Four Years and Counting” at the Black Dog Cafe & Wine Bar in Saint Paul’s Lowertown for sketches by’s Ken Avidor and more MetroSketchers through February.

Or, after you look at the photo journey to Main Street – St. Peter, Minnesota (the latest in the Greater Minnesota Main Streets trips) you could turn off your devices and take a road trip.

Last week’s Super Bowl sparked this week’s The Absurdity of the American Car Commercial which looks at (and provides clips of) recent car commercials which have almost nothing to do with cars, but much to do with love, fathers, and beautiful scenery.

This week’s Charts of the Day highlight Edina’s Bike/Walk Count results with Usage by ModeDaily Use Profile, Daily Use by Location and Year-to-Year.  And two maps this weeks: Gentrification in Minneapolis and Map Monday: All US Trunk Highways ADT.

Streets in Minnesota get pretty dreary this time of year, but you can remember beautiful summer days or take an aesthetic look at snow here on while keeping your feet warm and dry.  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