Sunday Summary – October 11, 2015

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Another week is in the books for welcoming a new writer explaining the big issue of affordable housing plus some of our regulars with closer looks at bike trails and streets, plus a small assortment of pictures, maps, and videos.

Big issue department

Affordable Housing Is An Industry, Too is an introduction to the affordable housing industry by new author Will Stancil, an attorney with the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota. Affordable housing is more expensive to build in the central cities than the suburbs, yet the network of subsidies and the structure of the industry help guide more affordable housing to the cities. Commenters ask some good questions about other advantages of putting affordable housing in denser cities with better access to jobs and transit compared to benefits of suburban schools and jobs.


Trails and bikes department

In good news, At Long Last, Warner Road Bridge Trail is Open documents the improvements to the Warner Road Bridge on the Sam Morgan Regional Trail with new lighting and grade separated crossings to strengthen this formerly weakest link.  In the less good news when it comes to improvements, Where Do You Want To Ride? asks this question of one segment of Ramsey County Road E in Arden Hills with its four lanes of motor vehicle traffic and narrow gutter pan “bike lane.”   Looking further that where you want to ride, but question also asks where would your child, older parent, or person using a motorized scooter or wheelchair want to ride?  Finally, some design suggestions for how this could be better are included.

In the not so good news, On the Cedar Lake Trail, St. Louis Park Rewrites the Law analyzes the problem of how to make safer crossings where trails meet roads with a critical look at St. Louis Park’s answer to safety to “remove striping and demand even more emphatically that bikes and pedestrians yield to crossing traffic. And when that isn’t sufficient, you could make a video condescending to vulnerable users trying to cross legally.”  Sean Hayford OLeary looks at the law, asks the people in charge about their decision and shows us the video; commenters add some site-specific detail along with some further discussion about the legislation. For another view, see writer Bill Lindeke’s piece on MinnPost.

St. Louis Park "wrong" video

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature department

Kudos to the University of Minnesota and City of Minneapolis suggests the many signals on the Washington Avenue transit mall near the University of Minnesota help students learn to think for themselves by ignoring at least some of them to get around safely and efficiently (see some more pictures here, read about the over-signalizing here, and the official response to queries about signal timing here).

Audiovisual department

Video: Late Show with Stephen Colbert Intro is a video clip which doesn’t show the show, but shows the intro which “Without saying anything, it’s so positive about New York City and its urban environment. People! Streetscapes! Buses! Landmarks! Trains! Boats! Bridges! Taxis! Stadia! Boulevards!”  And That Stop Sign Has a Gun is a short video which is about just what the title says.

Chart: Chart of the Day: Bike Lanes and Local Business shows Salt Lake City’s experience with adding bike lanes to a downtown commercial street – business was better with bikes.

Map: Map Monday: Agricultural Ecosystems of the Lower 48 shows the agricultural resource regions of the 48 contiguous states from a Kansas State University study which highlights the decreasing crop diversity.

Comic: Roadkill Bill – City Council Meeting is the last of Roadkill Bill while we eagerly await Ken Avidor’s Bicyclopolis, volume 2.

Getting to mid-October and “MEA Weekend” where kids get off school and parents struggle to juggle that work/life balance as a result. Perhaps this would be the opportunity to forget work (whether or not you have kids) and go to the Minnesota History Center’s new Suburbia exhibit (and then write about it for us). Enjoy the swirling leaves and 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